This fascinating landscape, dotted with ponds and strewn with large orange lichen-stained boulders, has long intrigued. Like so many others, I had driven past the area countless times heading elsewhere, vowing to stop and explore it some day, but intimidated by fences. It came as a pleasant surprise then, to learn that the area is
leased Crown Land, and as an added bonus has rich historic connections.
As one might suspect, there is a Scottish connection. In 1862, Scottish-born Sergeant John McMurphy of the Royal Engineers pre-empted 160 acres of land located between the 73 and 74 mileposts. Originally he named the lake on the property “Sergeant’s Lake,” but soon after changed it to the present Loch Lomond. Whether he was inspired by Scottish patriotism or whimsy is not known. The lake itself, really not much more than a large alkaline pond, bears no resemblance to its famous Scottish counterpart. However, looking across it from the highway to the distant peaks of the Marble Range on a beautiful spring morning or fall evening, it is easy to appreciate what might have prompted the good sergeant’s nostalgia.
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