CLIFF CREGO Muir Lake (Crater Lake), Eagle Cap Wilderness

Muir Lake ("Crater Lake?), (VIII.25.08) Eagle Cap Wilderness—
Alpine Lake at ± 2300 meters.

What's in name? A great deal, I think.

The name, Crater Lake, is I think unfortunate because
it creates a constant confusion between the much more
famous Crater Lake of the Oregon Cascades,and the much
smaller alpine lake pictured above.

I'm using this area as one of my basecamps for exploring
the Wallowas, and I'm here making photos and writing
regularly. I've taken to calling it Muir Lake, in honor
of the great 19th century naturalist, John Muir.

I think Muir would have loved it here. There are signs
of recent glaciation everywhere. The lake itself was carved
by ice, with fine, former moraines surrounding it.
Bright, almost white granite is found in abundance, very
much like the glacier polished rocks of the high Sierra Nevada
where Muir made his home, and did most of his extraordinary
field work.

Below is a little occasional children's poem on this theme
of names. For if we pause a moment to consider that place names—
especially a place like this little jewel of a lake of great
beauty and power here in the High Wallowas of Northeast Oregon—
are really the beginnings of a poetry, the first poetry,
of a place.

On the road in the Northwest of America.

Muir Lake (Crater Lake)a children's poem
in common time

[On why the name of Crater Lake under
Krag Peak might also have another name . . .]

Names, Sirs, are the first poetry of place,
A lake so beautiful must find its own sound,
And write upon the granite the icefields once found,
A name that rings true, and enchants the space.

The cheap imitation,
The mere 2nd-hand,
A map-maker's frustration,
A curse upon the land.

For so we remember the charm of a face,
A pass, a mountain, a butte, a stream,
A stone, a waterfall, a cliff, a dream,
For so we remember the charm of a face,
Names, Sirs, are the first poetry of place.

Eagle Cap Wilderness,
Oregon, VIII.19.2008

View from
Krag Peak
Dipper Falls
Last Light on
Granite Mountain &
Dipper Falls
& Ethics
Alpine Ensemble &
3 Miniatures
Spruce & Fir

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All Photographs & texts by Cliff Crego © 1999-2011
(created: VII.27.2008)