Oregon Caves

May 23-25, 2000

We headed south on 1-5 with our first stop at the new Applegate Trail Interpretive Center in Sunny Valley. A drab exterior but inside the displays and video about Southern Oregon history and especially the South (Applegate) Trail were excellent. Bette Gaustad and family, with great dedication and sacrifice, have created an excellent museum. After lunch at the Valley of the Rogue S.P. we traveled some back roads through Sam’s Valley to Dogs for the Deaf located at the base of Lower Table Rock. Director Jessica Shriver described the 30 years of this operation, next a very informative video, and then a highlight — witnessing a new dog in training. We completed a remarkable 90 minutes with a tour of this very excellent facility. On to the historic grist mill at Eagle Point, housed in an ancient solid timbered building. The huge grist wheels came around Cape Horn from France, and are water powered. The museum in a separate building included a variety of treasures, some of considerable value. Their general store was a Mecca for many of our more enthusiastic Obsidian consumers. Overnight (two nights) at the Windmill Inn in Medford: very nice. One extra touch was the morning paper and continental breakfast delivered to the room.

On Day No. 2 to the Oregon Caves, where extensive remodeling inside and out have made the Monument more user friendly and environmentally protected. The guided cave tour is quite strenuous; 20 Obsidians completed the challenge without mishap. The Lodge and surrounding grounds are very nice, nearby are several hiking trails. Eight of us hiked the three-mile round trip to Big Tree in an old growth forest. The weather was ideal and no bugs. Leaving at 3:00 we found the Kerbyville Museum open, an appealing but not well-known place, with interesting displays. Their staff provided us with complimentary soft drinks which were appreciated.

Day No. 3: North #62 along the Upper Rogue River with stops at the Natural Bridge and the Rogue Gorge. Both are spectacular. Continuing on #230 around Diamond Lake to the North Fork of the Umpqua for lunch at Watson Falls. Most of us hiked the loop trail to the base of the falls, on to the upper viewpoint and over two fallen logs which were quite hazardous. Home via the scenic North Umpqua #238, stopping at the Narrows, the Colliding Rivers at Glide, then via the Wilbur cutoff. Ewart Baldwin guided us on back roads through Sutherlin and Oakland. Ewart’s commentary throughout the trip was most appreciated by all; he related much about the geology and history of this area. Our very good driver, Darryl Whitaker, returned us to Eugene by 5:00.

Riders included Ewart Baldwin, John & Marian Borchardt, Barbara Bruns, Nicole Chase, Mary Lee Cheadle, Judy Dobell, Doral & Rose Mary Etter, Margaret Fea, Dora Harris, Evelyn Hile, Ben & Pat Jeffries, Rosella Jones, Dodie Leppmann, John & Lenore McManigal, Cleora Mersdorf, Joyce Mixer, Frances Newsom, Liz Reanier, Karen Seidel, Nan Smith, Bobbye Sorrels, Millard Thomas, Vera Woolley and leader Ray Jensen.

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