[pct-l] Oregon PCT Names

Steve Fosdick hikin_steve at yahoo.com
Sun Jan 20 14:21:34 CST 2008

Wayne, Thanks for the history of Oregon Places and how they were named.
  Here's a shot of Pamelia Lake that I took last September: http://www.flickr.com/photos/85748062@N00/1398978975/
  Two other lakes near this same location that I enjoy hiking to are Hunt's Cove and Hank's Lake. This photo is of Hank's Lake from the PCT, from July '06:
  I look forward to additional tales about the names of Oregon.
  Salem, Oregon
  (PCT candidate - Class of '08)

Wayne Kraft <wayneskraft at comcast.net> wrote:
  I was gifted this Christmas with a magnificent book entitled Oregon 
Geographical Names. This hefty tome, 2 1/2 inches thick, is a 
multi-generational labor of love produced first by Lewis A. "Tam" McArthur 
and now maintained and updated by Tam's son, Lewis L. McArthur. Tam 
McArthur Rim, a wild and wonderful feature on the east side of Oregon's 
Three Sisters (the PCT runs along the west side) is named for the original 
author or "compiler" as he humbly refers to himself.

The place names of Oregon weave a complex and fascinating tale. I dare say 
you could learn most of what's worth knowing of Oregon's history just by 
studying these geographical names.

A sample: Just before the PCT makes its notorious crossing of Milk Creek in 
Oregon's Mount Jefferson Wilderness, a short side trail leads to Pamelia 
Lake and its outlet, Pamelia Creek. Pamelia Creek was named by early 
explorer John Minto after Pamelia Berry, an expedition cook known to have a 
particularly sunny disposition. Many geographical features are, in turn, 
named for John Minto including 5600' Minto Pass across which the PCT passes 
several miles to the south (just after the impressive traverse of Three 
Fingered Jack's western slope).

Pamelia Lake was later named after the creek by Judge John Waldo, an early 
Oregon political luminary from a prominent family of Oregon and Northern 
California, who spent much time tramping about in the high Cascades. (John 
Waldo's Uncle Bill was nominated as a candidate for governor of California 
by the Whig Party in 1853.)You'll not be surprised to find that Judge Waldo 
has his own lake, Waldo Lake, not far off the PCT a few miles north of Odell 
Lake. Waldo is one of Oregon's largest high mountain lakes, but Judge Waldo 
was a man of such character that he also has his own glacier on the 
southeast slope of Mount Jefferson.

And Odell Lake, well, that is a story for another time.

If no one objects too strenuously, I will add a note now and then to PCT-l 
as I find more interesting Oregon PCT Names stories. I will use this same 
subject line so you can delete them unread if you find them incredibly 
boring. I will warn you, however, that if someone does object strenuously 
you may find that I will join in some of the other discussions, such as the 
recent very detailed ruminations on butt-wiping, water caching and bear 
feeding, with probable devastating consequences.

We tend to view the lands through which our trail passes as untrammeled and 
uninhabited. Contemplation of the history of the land via study of the 
place names reveals this to be untrue. For more than a hundred years 
before our hikes our European ancestors tramped these woods and mountains. 
For millennia before them the original inhabitants lived here as comfortably 
as we now live in our own homes and neighborhoods. When you stop for lunch 
or camp for the night it is good to think about all these generations before 
us who have, perhaps on this very spot, eaten a meal prepared by a 
particularly cheerful camp chef or returned generation after generation for 
summer hunting and gathering.

Wayne Kraft 

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