Near this point a plodding mule stopped
abruptly, a few feet short of the crater rim.
Its astonished rider suddenly found himself on
the brink of a natural wonder few had ever seen.
John Wesley Hillman had stumbled upon Crater
The day was June 12, 1853. Hillman had joined
a party of goldseekers on a search for the fabled
Lost Cabin Mine. They found no gold, but they
knew they had discovered a scenic treasure. The
prospectors erected a crude sign bearing their
signatures, and named the majestic waters,
"Deep Blue Lake."
In the years that followed, the lake was rediscovered
and renamed several times. An 1869
exploring party gave the lake its present name,
and in 1902, Crater Lake became the nation's
sixth national park.
John Wesley Hillman ventured west as a
young man to seek his fortune with the
forty-niners. Prospecting, mining, freighting,
and odd jobs kept him on the move.
Hillman was only 22 when he first saw
Crater Lake. He later rode for the famed