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home : current news : current news January 16, 2018

1/2/2018 6:38:00 PM
Local teen receives new-old gift
Ethan Tolle’s lost GoPro has returned — with tales of adventure to tell. photo by Cody Rheault
+ click to enlarge
Ethan Tolle’s lost GoPro has returned — with tales of adventure to tell. photo by Cody Rheault

By Cody Rheault

Two years ago, on the Christmas of 2015, local resident and Sisters High School student Ethan Tolle opened a gift many teenagers would appreciate. Inside was a famous action camera, used by amateurs and professionals alike - a GoPro Hero 4.

The next summer, on June 27, 2016, Ethan and his friends went to the Tamolitch Blue Pool for an afternoon of fun and cliff jumping. They attached the camera to a mount on his friend's chest and hit record. His friend launched off the side of Blue Pool into the water below and when he came up, the camera was gone.

Ethan's GoPro fell off the mount and sank 30 feet to the bottom of Blue Pool - recording as it slowly spun to the bottom. But what was a disappointment for Ethan in the moment, would turn into an amazing set of events that would return the GoPro back to Ethan in the best act of re-gifting.

Louie Wray, a resident from the Florida Keys, found Ethan's GoPro shortly after the plunge. He was visiting Central Oregon and Blue Pool when he found Ethan's GoPro, along with two others.

For the next year and half, Wray took the GoPro along with him on his adventures across the country. He recorded scuba diving adventures in the Florida Keys and captured himself slack-lining in West Virginia.

Louie found old clips on the GoPro of Ethan and his uncle biking in Deschutes River Woods. He researched the street signs and managed to narrow down where exactly Ethan was. Through research and effort, Louie eventually contacted Tolle's aunt and uncle, and through them, Ethan's address.

This Christmas, Ethan opened a gift he once thought lost. In a box, he found a personal letter from Louie, talking about doing good deeds for others and an intro to slack-lining booklet. Wrapped inside the box was Ethan's old GoPro, which was last seen at the bottom of Blue Pool and had since travelled around the country.

He found a 25-minute video Louie had made for him showcasing his adventures and filming endeavors. Original clips, including Ethan's old footage, were on the camera's memory card as well - including the footage of it spiraling to the bottom of Blue Pool.

"It was crazy to watch," Ethan said. "I never thought I would see it again."

The story of his GoPro finding its way back to him has been shared over a number of news networks since Christmas. KTVZ, CNN, Fox19 in Cincinnati, NBC, and even Hawaii News Now have shared the story of the camera finding its way home through the generosity of Wray.

Ethan was inspired by the footage.

After watching videos of Louie slack-lining, Ethan said he looks forward to trying it out himself and using the camera that had once been lost.

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