Drought has caused the North Bend-area lake to drop nearly 29 feet, exposing mud flats and old-growth stumps from a forest cleared long ago.
There are no rattlesnakes at Rattlesnake Lake just south of North Bend.
Before there was a lake, there was a town. And the area was filled with camas plants. When the flowers were done, and their seed pods dried out and the wind blew, it sounded like rattlesnakes, according to the Cedar River Watershed Education Center.
The town, Moncton, grew up in 1906 to serve the workers of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad. By 1915, it was gone, covered by the lake.
The construction of Masonry Dam in the Cedar River watershed caused the slow flooding.
This year, drought has caused the lake level to drop almost 29 feet, revealing a few of the old foundations.
It’s the old-growth stumps of Western red cedar and Douglas fir, though, that are the more fascinating monuments.
Visitors walk among them as a raven calls above.
A heron feeds at the edge of the lake stocked with rainbow trout.
Fresh elk tracks are left in the soft mud.
Bits of fishing line, lures, a few bottles and a GoPro camera housing are discovered by students on a field trip from Two Rivers School in North Bend.
Notches for loggers’ springboards appear as eyes revealed in the stumps. Loggers stood upon these planks to cut higher on the tree, avoiding the broad base, often considered of lesser quality.
No collecting of artifacts found at Rattlesnake Lake is allowed. It’s a historical site.
But visitors are encouraged to collect any litter found and leave it in containers there.