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Place Names of the High Sierra (1926)
by Francis P. Farquhar

[ A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, Y, & Z. ]


O

OBSERVATION PEAK (12,300)[Mount Goddard]
Named by J. N. Le Conte, 1902, and used by him as a triangulation base in mapping basin of Middle Fork of Kings River. First ascent, 1902, by J. N. Le Conte and Curtis M. Lindley. (J. N. Le Conte.)

OCKENDEN[Kaiser]
Tom Ockenden had a trading store here. (T. S. Solomons.)

OLANCHA PEAK (12,135), CREEK[Olancha]
Indian name of uncertain origin, doubtless first given to place in Owens Valley, thence applied to the creek and the mountain peak.

OTTOWAY PEAK (11,500)[Mount Lyell]
Named in 1895 by Lieutenant McClure for a corporal in his detachment. (N. F. McClure.)

OUZEL CREEK, BASIN[Mount Whitney]
Named in 1899 by David Starr Jordan, president of Stanford University. (S.C.B., 1900, III:1, pp. 109-110.)

“Here John Muir studied the water-ouzel in its home, and wrote of it the best biography yet given of any bird.” (Jordan: The Alps of the Kings-Kern Divide, 1907, pp. 18-19.)

The Water-Ouzel, or American Dipper (Cinclus mexicanus unicolor), is common along streams throughout the Sierra. (For description, see Grinnell and Storer: Animal Life in the Yosemite, 1924, pp. 543-546.—See, also, Badè, in S.C.B., 1904, V:2, pp. 102-107.)

“He is a singularly joyous and lovable little fellow, about the size of a robin, clad in a plain waterproof suit of bluish gray, with a tinge of chocolate on the head and shoulders. In form he is about as smoothly plump and compact as a pebble that has been whirled in a pot-hole, the flowing contour of his body being interrupted only by his strong feet and bill, the crisp wing-tips, and the up-slanted wren-like tail. . . .

“Such, then, is our little cinclus, beloved of everyone who is so fortunate as to know him. Tracing on strong wing every curve of the most precipitous torrents from one extremity of the Sierra to the other; not fearing to follow them through their darkest gorges and coldest snow-tunnels; acquainted with every waterfall, echoing their divine music; and throughout the whole of their beautiful lives interpreting all that we in our unbelief call terrible in the utterances of torrents and storms, as only varied expressions of God’s eternal love.” (Muir: The Mountains of California, 1894, pp. 276-299; first published, in substantially the same form, in Scribner’s Monthly, February, 1878.)

OWENS LAKE, RIVER, VALLEY
Richard Owens joined Fremont’s third expedition in August, 1845, With Kit Carson. “That Owens was a good man it is enough to say that he and Carson were friends. Cool, brave, and of good judgment; a good hunter and good shot; experienced in mountain life; he was an acquisition, and proved valuable throughout the campaign.” (Fremont: Memoirs, 1887, p. 427.)

“To one of the lakes along their [Talbot, Walker, and Kern party] route on the east side of the range, I gave Owens’ name.” (Fremont: Memoirs, 1887, p. 455.) Owens himself, however, did not go near the lake on this trip.


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