Our Daily Sykes #223 – Rock Lake, Whitman County

Rock Lake is one of the larger finger lakes that run through the canyons of Washington State’s Scablands south and west of Spokane.  It is about 7&1/2 miles, long enough to breed a legend about its own monster.  And deep enough in places – 375 feet – to hide one.  Because of its depth it is a cold lake and rarely freezes over in the winter, although it is also not so comfortable for swimming in the summer.  With the agricultural run off during most of the year it is also cloudy enough to make fishing for its big trout and browns not so rewarding except in the spring.  In Whitman County, Rock Lake is 9 miles northwest of St. John, 16 miles southeast of Sprague, 15 miles west of Rosalia, and 33 miles south of Spokane.  We found it with luck and the help of Google Earth.   This view looks south from near its north end.  Rock Lake, it is said, is stirred by Native American ghosts that haunt its south end, that a derailed train lies at its bottom and that one can still hear the wail of its whistle breaking free of the cold lake.  (Click to Enlarge)

One thought on “Our Daily Sykes #223 – Rock Lake, Whitman County”

  1. One would think that someone, somewhere, would have recorded the upset of a train into a lake, and that it would only be a matter of legwork. My father once told me that a Bellevue old-timer once told him that a steam engine toppled off a trestle that crossed the Mercer Slough in south Bellevue, where I grew up, and that it was never recovered from the much thereof. My did didn’t know where this ancient railway crossed (it wasn’t where the big trestle near Woodridge is now, more like down near the 90/405 interchange). I always wanted to find out if I could discover this in a news clipping or some railroad report entitled “losses due to impenetrable swamps.”

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