HomeNews & LifestyleThe Crater Lake “Old Man” Has Been Mysteriously Floating For Over 100...

The Crater Lake “Old Man” Has Been Mysteriously Floating For Over 100 Years

What Is The “Old Man” Of Crater Lake?

When I first saw this upright log poking out of the water known as the Crater Lake “Old Man”, I thought it didn’t look like a big deal. So what? A log poking out of the water? Looks kinda like the ghost forest in Oregon we wrote about awhile ago.

However, a floating log is not the whole story. Not even close. This log floats upright and moves around the lake all day long. There is nothing binding it to the bottom of the lake, as the lake itself is close to 2,000 feet deep.

Crater Lake in Oregon is steeped in mystery and beauty, and the Crater Lake old man is just the beginning!

The Tree Was First Spotted In 1897

crater lake old man
Image: @amazzing.destinations on Instagram

The first time someone spotted the tree was nearly 130 years ago. It’s a hemlock tree that carbon dating suggests is about 450 years old.

One of the cool things about the tree is that it pokes up about four feet above the water… but there’s no reason at all that it stays vertical. It’s been a mystery to park-goers as well as rangers and scientists for over a century.

What’s even further mysterious is that the log is capable of traveling nearly four miles in day. It’s also buoyant enough to support the weight of a park ranger standing on top of it. And get this: it’s never once floated ashore.

How Has The Tree Managed To Remain Floating Upright For So Long??

crater lake old man
Image: @taylor.pulford.nashville on Instagram

Strangely, there’s no logical reason why the Crater Lake old man continues to float upright. In the beginning, when the landslide that put him in the lake initially happened, there were rocks jammed and woven in his roots.

However, over the decades, the rocks have fallen away, and in fact the roots have since decayed. Under normal circumstances, this would mean that the log would also float to the bottom of the lake. But somehow he stands erect, even after all this time.

Despite no longer being held upright by rocks, the base of the Crater Lake old man is waterlogged just enough so that the stump remains upright.

The Old Man Eerily Floats Over The Deepest Freshwater Lake In The US

crater lake old man
Image: @littlecooperbear on Instagram

Thanks to the pristine waters of Crater Lake in Oregon, the base of the old man is exceptionally well-preserved. The deepest freshwater lake in the United Stated, Crater Lake is also exceptionally blue.

From July 1 through October 1 in 1938, a park naturalist named John E. Doerr Jr. tracked the old man around the lake. After observing the log on a near-daily basis, they identified eighty-four different locations of the log over the three month period.

Sometimes tourists would mistake the log for a pelican or a boat. In fact, the log travels more rapidly than would be expected, and ended up traveling over 60 miles around the super deep lake during the tracking period.

Some Believe The Tree Does Not Like To Be Disturbed

crater lake old man
Image: @the_traveling_tundra on Instagram

How the log defies the laws of physics is unknown. Some believe that there may be supernatural forces in the mix.

For example, during a 1988 submarine expedition of Crater Lake, scientists decided to restrain the old man near the shore of Wizard Island. Seeing it as a navigational hazard, they didn’t want anything interfering with their studies.

Coincidentally, Wizard Island is the part of the lake most strongly associated with Llao, god of the Below-World. Once the log was bound in place, the weather immediately turned bad, and a large and scary storm rolled in.

The scientists were scared and flustered, so they untied the log, allowing it to float freely again. Reports indicate that almost immediately, the winds subsided, the clouds made way for sun, and the skies above this beautiful lake were clear again.

Moral to this story? Don’t mess with the Crater Lake old man.

How To See The Crater Lake Old Man For Yourself

crater lake old man
Image: @littlecooperbear on Instagram

Crater Lake National Park is a beautiful, natural space in Oregon that’s great for exploring. The lake itself is a water-filled volcanic basin that was formed nearly 8,000 years ago during the eruption and collapse of Mount Mazama.

If you’d like to visit the deepest lake in the United States, you’ll want to check out this geolocation, and plan your trip to Oregon. The drives along the highways are gorgeous, and the trees and natural environment you’ll get to witness are worth the trip in itself.

Not everyone who visits Crater Lake gets to see the old man. However, if you’re lucky he’ll be blowing by you on the day of your visit. You can pause to marvel how he moves with the wind, but is not tipped over by the waves.

Related: This ‘ghost forest’ in Oregon is both creepy and breathtaking.

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