Proxy Falls

July 17, 1990

On a perfect Eugene day, 17 Obsidians and 10 guests left S.E.H.S. at 8:00 a.m. and returned at 6:00 p.m.

Our first rest stop was on the McKenzie River, Highway 126, at well-named Paradise Park. We left Highway 126, and continued about 10 miles up the Old McKenzie Pass just past 64 Mile Post to the trail sign (wood 8" x 10") to Proxy Falls. The .5 mile trail has an incline for the first 150 feet, but is nearly level thereafter. Ewart Baldwin always enriches every trip with geological information. The Proxy Falls flow through volcanic tubes. The first fall disappears in its own pool of water, and Ewart said that this heavy flow of water may continue underground to Lost Lake. The falls were full and we spent 1½ hours enjoying and taking pictures. Many of our travellers had never before been to Proxy Falls … a memorable experience.

Before returning to Hwy. 126, Ewart stopped the bus at an unmarked spot, and we walked a short distance to Lost Lake — a bubbling spring, the possible outlet for the first Proxy Falls.

This lake eventually adds a great deal of water to the McKenzie River. Back on Hwy. 126 we continued to the Carmen-Smith Project. This is one of the two major power plants of E.W.E.B. The lake controls the amount of water for the Power Plants, and Bill Eaton explained the importance of this huge project. Our lunch stop was here at the project’s picnic area.

We next stopped at Koosah Falls, easy to miss as it is about 1/8 of a mile off Hwy. 126. A beautiful falls — new to many of us. The Forest Service has designed very attractive trails, which they were in the process of finishing. One trail along the McKenzie River connects Koosah Falls and Sahalie Falls, about ¼ of a mile apart.

Cascadia Park, Highway 20, is another beautiful, and unfamiliar park — perfect for our afternoon rest stop. We stopped at nearby Short Covered Bridge, and apparently it has heavy use. Clair Cooley answered the proverbial question of “Why, when we have no snow?” Clair gave us the history of Oregon covered bridges and explained that the Oregon rain would rot the timbers in 10 or 15 years if not covered.

On the way home we stopped briefly in Sweet Home to see the Wendling Covered Bridge. This enterprising city moved the dilapidated, soon to be torn down bridge to the Sweet Home City Park. Then, the community, volunteer helpers, completely restored this bridge which is now a tourist attraction. Clair has more covered bridges for another trip.

Learning Experience: we covered too much, 4 waterfalls, 2 outstanding parks, EWEB project, covered bridges, typical Oregon mountains, lava beds, lakes — each stop encouraged lingering much longer. And many thanks to our great Obsidians and guests who made the trip a successful one. Participants were Ewart Baldwin, Ingrid Carmichael, Clair Cooley, Alice DeLeon, Lucille Dodge, Hilda Downer, Margie and Bill Eaton, Dencie Edlund, Harriet Friday, Allen Griggs, Betty Hack, Kay Hammer, Jane Hilt, Jessie Hudson, Mild Hutchison, Lillian Johnson, Dodie Leppman, Lois Schreiner, Julie Shaw, Ethel Steussy, Louise Thurber, Mildred Weatherby, Lorene Williams, Frances Witzel, and leaders Rita Baxter and Frances Newsom.

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