Place name doppelgangers

12:01 p.m. on April 20, 2014 (EDT)
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As we pore over our maps to plan our adventures for this coming backpacking season, we have been once again impressed with how many places in the Sierra share names.  There are at least two Mono Passes, one near Mt Gibbs in Yosemite, the other near Mt. Starr and Mono Rock at the upper end of...yes...Mono Creek.  

We're planning to visit both this summer.

But there are other names that reappear in many different places.  Piute Creek seems to be a popular one, names for the Native American's who people the east side of the Sierra long ago.  There are two Slide Canyons in Yosemite alone.  And there are more Deer Lakes and Bear Lakes than we can count...and SIlver Lakes? 


So that got us to thinking. What's the most common geographic name in the SIerra, and how many times does it appear?

7:48 a.m. on April 21, 2014 (EDT)
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I've often had this same thought. I don't know the Sierra that well but here in the southern apps nearly every wilderness and park has many place names in common. There are many Cold Gaps, Beech Gaps, Low Gaps, High Rocks, etc...

I read somewhere that in the Smokies about 1/3 of all creeks were called Bear Creek by the locals making historical records sketchy to pin down event locations.

10:24 a.m. on April 21, 2014 (EDT)
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also in the smokies and surrounding----many a creek was called Mill Creek....

because, easily enough, there was a mill on many a creek.....

after the smokies got designated a national park, there was a "naming committee" that renamed a bunch of places that had duplicate names......

10:26 a.m. on April 21, 2014 (EDT)
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I feel your frustration balzaccom. I know of several Deep Lakes, and Scatter Creeks in WA where I live.  The products of a lack of creativity or confused map makers I wonder?

10:32 a.m. on April 21, 2014 (EDT)
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as far as I know there is only one Gobblers Knob and it's in Big South Fork. I see that as a good thing.

10:38 a.m. on April 21, 2014 (EDT)
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Alas...I cannot find a single Lake Karen.

10:40 a.m. on April 21, 2014 (EDT)
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As far as the Sierra, the basic reference is "Place Names in the Sierra Nevada" for descriptions of how they got their names. The most recent edition switches to "Sierra Nevada Place Names", both by Browning.

Most of the multiples are because the lakes and streams were named by locals who didn't travel all that much and by 1-time visitors during the Gold Rush era, plus Native American names that had been around for centuries given by the local band.

1:26 a.m. on April 22, 2014 (EDT)
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Many place names in the Washington Central Cascades, as well as elsewhere in the NW, were named by early surveyors who were given the task  of mapping. Railroad and the Forest Service were two employers. AH Sylvester was one early surveyor who gave more than a thousand names to features in the Cascades. I always liked some of his more whimsical names like Dishpan Gap, Overcoat Peak and Three Fingered Jack.

There is a Karen Lake in the Oregon Cascades near Odell Lake where my grand parents had a cabin.

10:00 a.m. on April 22, 2014 (EDT)
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There is a Karen Lake in the Oregon Cascades near Odell Lake where my grand parents had a cabin

AT LAST! I must go there some day!

June 23, 2018
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