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Vanished - At Crater Lake

Did you know there is a legend of gold treasure missing somewhere around Crater Lake in Southern Oregon? Or that a WWII military plane vanished when two were flying together over the Crater Lake in beautiful, sunny weather?

It's no mystery that Crater Lake National Park is full of mysteries and legends. Visitors (including myself) flock there to photograph the astonishingly blue water and see it's sheer cliffs around the volcanic rim. Some people fall in, but most actually make it out. However, not many visitors know about its missing gold, people and planes that have vanished in thin air.

Native legend says that the deep, blue lake is actually a doorway between the dark world and light world, like hell to heaven. And that if you gaze into it too long, you could be trapped into grief and sorrow, or lead you toward death. (Sounds like a good way to keep kids from plummeting into the cauldron.)

In 1944, a report of a missing Grumman Torpedo plan had crashed into the lake. Two planes were flying together when one pilot looked away for a moment, then looked back to see the other plane was just gone. The government apparently kept it a secret so the enemy wouldn't know.

In 1974, a budding young photographer traveled from Virginia to Crater Lake for winter photos. He hitchhiked his way to the lake to take photos and scheduled to return to a friend's house a couple days later. Sadly, he never returned. His remains were found a year later by hikers that took a wrong turn and accidentally discovered his bag. The nature of his remains was sketchy at best, and his photography equipment was never found.

The most interesting legend was in 1853, three explorers set out to find a missing miner that went missing somewhere around the lake. The miner's nickname was 'Set-em-up and was rumored to walk into town loaded with gold. The explorers thought maybe they could find the miner, his gold, and his mine. While searching, they became a little lost so they split up to cover more ground. One came across the other who claimed he found the cabin. On the way there, the explorer that supposedly found the cabin fell down a hill and died when his horse lost his footing. All the info died with him. No one has found the gold yet and it's still a legend that it's out there!

So next time you're out photographing Crater Lake, or a beautiful area that also looks sketchy, remember that there are probably lots of mysteries, legends and disappearances that go along with it.

Crater Lake is still one of my favorite locations to photograph, and I'm very lucky to live only two hours from there and can visit it often. I love waiting for sunset and catching the glow on the blue water as the sun goes down. There aren't as many sunset photos of Crater Lake out there, but I highly recommend staying for the sunsets if you can.

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