Front Page, Outdoors

If you’ve ever wondered how lakes get their name

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Gold Lake: one of the gems of the high lakes that grace our area Rob DeHarpport photo

By JOY KINGSBURY/for The Herald  —  Some of our high lakes were interestingly named.  The information came to me from the late Floyd Staley, who was a long-time resident of Oakridge.

Many of you will remember Floyd, whose large patches on the knees of his jeans, seemed to be his trademark. Floyd gathered metals to resell, volunteered at the Fish Hatchery, and obtained bicycles for young kids. He also championed fishing for youngsters by furnishing  poles and other gear collected from donors.

Floyd was a staple around town and a colorful entertainer with his masterful yo-yo skills. I remember that Floyd once signed in at a City Council meeting for public comment.  When he was called, he said nothing.  Simply gave Councilors and the audience a Yo-yo show. His abilities with his Yo-Yo were quite amazing.

Floyd was always an outdoor person. He tramped the hills and mountains with his buddies, friends, and the “volunteers” as he refers to them.  He often brought me interesting tidbits about the area that he hoped I would pass on. Following are his accounts of how some of these high lakes were named many years ago.

Unchartered Lakes were Floyd’s quest

Lundy Lake.  Named for Lundy Olsen.  Lundy was one of Floyd’s original volunteers forty years ago.  It Is not clear just what Lundy volunteered for, but Floyd and Lundy spotted a lake on a map that had not been explored, to their knowledge.  Floyd did not mention the year in which they walked through the woods until they found the lake.  Floyd sounded the lake at 14 ft. deep. Lundy tried to walk around the lake, but there was too much brush and tangled growth to do that. They dubbed the body of water Lundy Lake that day.

Virginia Lake was named after Floyd’s wife, Virginia.  He said Virginia Lake is a beautiful lake under Dome Rock on Staley ridge.  He says the Lake is a ten and so was his wife. So he dubbed the lake Virginia.

Andrea Lake. Tony Dick and Floyd hiked to an unnamed lake.  They carried a rubber raft with them so Floyd could paddle out to the deepest part and sound the lake.  He did not record the depth of the lake in his account to me. Floyd asked Tony what his dog’s name was?  Tony said “My dog died.”  Floyd then asked if Tony had a girlfriend? Tony said, yes, her name is Andrea.  Hence, Andrea Lake.

Teddy Bear Lake.  Apparently, Floyd was researching high lakes for the Forest Service.  Another of his volunteer researchers of years ago was David Miller.  David was an accomplished bow hunter.  Bow Hunters had to learn to follow a blood trail.  David had a miniature poodle dog that he had trained to do this.  The dog’s name was Teddy Bear, memorialized forever as Teddy Bear Lake.

Conflicting names or just different lakes?

Are there two Virginia Lakes? Or is one actually Blitzen Lake?  At another story of naming lakes from Floyd, he talked about going again with his friend, Lundy Olsen.  He and Lundy spotted a lake they had not explored or named and walked through the woods until they found it.  Floyd had his trusty rubber raft and sounded this lake at 30 ft.  In Floyd’s own words, “Lundy Olsen did not have a dog so I named the lake after my wife, Virginia, and our Australian Shephard dog, Blitzen, who was very smart, like my wife.”  Floyd isn’t around to question about this, so, I am not clear on whether the lake is Virginia lake or Blitzen Lake.  Perhaps someone who reads this will know and tell us.

Fat Hippo Lake.  Floyd had two volunteers at this time. A Mr. Hutchinson, and Mark Wade.  “I turned in my research on this lake to Mark at his office at US Fish and Wildlife” Floyd said. Apparently, Mark and two volunteers decided to test Floyd’s findings.  They went to the lake without a raft.  Mark stripped off his clothes and told his buddies he would dive down to the bottom with his arm outstretched.  I am guessing he thought he could measure the depth of the lake that way.  When he came back up, one of the guys on shore told him he looked like a big fat hippo out there.

A fish story names a lake

Rae Lake.  Named after Brad Rhea. Brad was then head custodian for the Oakridge School District. Brad was fishing on a small one-acre lake off the road on Warner Mountain.  He was using a four-pound line.  The fish were too big and broke his line. He changed to a six-pound line and they broke that too.  He changed to an eight-pound line and caught a 24” rainbow trout.  He had that fish mounted on a plaque with branches around it.  He showed that trophy to Mr. Hutchinson from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Mr. Hutchinson named the lake Rae Lake after Brad Rhea because of his fish story.

An unfinished tale

Scout Lake.  Floyd wanted to recount this story in person and never got around to it.  He did say that it involved Hines Lumber Company officials, some loggers, U.S. Forest Service people, and the Boy Scouts. We will never know, now.  The story unfolded in the 1930’s and Floyd never got back to me with it.

If any of you old timers out there can enlighten us on any of these stories, we would be more than delighted to hear “The rest of the story.”

Joy Kingsbury is an Oakridge resident and regular contributor to The Herald. Joy Kingsbury photo

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