Unique In All But Name

Guest Blogger: Michael Vorhis, author of ARCHANGEL suspense thriller, OPEN DISTANCE adventure thriller & more to come

“It can’t be the same,” I thought. I peered northward across 22 miles of open, third-of-a-mile-deep Lake Tahoe water, trying like an idiot to see past the earth’s curvature to the more famous section. “It’s not the same river…is it?”

I was standing in the water of what’s called the “Upper Truckee,” imagining the rambling, freestone, sho-nuff Truckee river a long ways north, which drains from the lake’s outlet. I was feeling the sandy bottom of this sleepy little serpentine rivulet in which my feet were soaked. How…and why…could anyone conclude that this small thing trickling into the lake’s south end, and the western-style river coming out the other end a long day’s horse ride away, was the same river?

As usual a history lesson was needed. In 1844, noted explorer John Charles Fremont, then camped near what Nevada would later call Pyramid Lake, heard of a river a few days west, rich in salmon and trout. He tried unsuccessfully to convince the indigenous people, who had traded him a large salmon, to guide him to this river. Later the same year a different group of explorers became disoriented near what’s now the Humboldt river, and met an old tribal man named “Truckee” who agreed to guide them, thereafter coming to the same freestone flow heard about earlier by Fremont. On arriving they elected to name that river after their guide, which is how the famous Truckee River got its name.

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