Wednesday, September 26, 2007


We're off this morning to our next stop, Oregon's "alps". We have a reservation at Wallowa Lake State Park, surrounded by high mountains in the northeast corner of Oregon.

Before we go, I wanted to post some of the photos I took yesterday. We had a beautiful and fascinating sightseeing trip (perfect weather yet again, as you can see), a 110 mile loop to the west of Baker City in the Blue Mountains.

Our first stop was a state park in Sumpter, Oregon, home to (according to the volunteer) the only reconstructed (read "still above water") gold dredge in the continguous 48 states. This was completely absorbing, with great intrepretive plaques explaining how these giant dredges worked.

The dredge is so HUGE that I had a very difficult time getting a photo of the entire thing from a close enough position to show detail. Here it is in it's "natural" setting, sitting in a small pond surrounded by the tailings that it dug, processed, and dumped while operating.

This is so reminiscent of the tailings in the Gold River area of Sacramento, and all along the American River. We have looked at the mounds of tailings so often when we lived there; now I understand more clearly how the earth was moved.

See that tall mountain in the far background? That was our next stop.

This photo is from one of the interpretive panels, showing the dredge while it was still operating, but near the end of it's useful life, I believe. When this dredge quit operating (I don't remember the exact year, but it was in the 1940's or 50's - much later than I would have guessed), it was $100,000 in debt. It must have cost a fortune to keep operating - electricity to run it, constant repairs, and the cold winter weather...

After our visit to the dredge, we drove up, up, up to Anthony Lake, next door to Baker City's nearest ski area. There were a half a dozen people there fishing; we didn't see any other hikers.

Our hike started at Anthony Lake, but quickly took off to Hoffer Lake, reached only on foot and nestled in a high, rock-rimmed bowl. As soon as we struck off up the trail, we left all other visitors behind and spent a wonderful, solitary hour wandering around in the fall colors under the brilliant blue sky. What a great day!

1 comment:

  1. Looks like you have seen most of the things I was hoping you would. I love the way you have captured the spirit of the area in your photos.