Thomas Doty – Storyteller

Siskiyou Pass

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Siskiyou

In the Siskiyou Mountains in late spring, the pass is swelled with sun and melting snow.

In 1828, Alexander McLeod of the Hudson's Bay Company was caught here by a snow storm and lost his pack animals, including a prized race horse. There is a story that McLeod's Canadian buddies named the place Pass of the Siskiyou. In the Chinook Jargon, Siskiyou is a Cree word meaning bob-tailed horse. Others link the origin of Siskiyou to Sistcookwat, a native village near the Rogue River. Still other stories abound.

As I watch the sun melt snow into rushing creeks, I don't think of a bob-tailed horse or a village miles away. I think of Siskiyou ... and I know exactly what it means.