Fall Color

October 1, 2002

Driving out West 11th, we turned left on Crow Road until we came to a fork with a sign that directed us to Territorial Road. Continuing on this road, we came to Wolf Creek Road and began a short climb which took us to the beginning of the Oxbow Burn. This burn happened on August 20, 1966, and burned 43,000 acres of mostly BLM timber. The area has been replanted and the growth now obscures most of the effects of what was Oregon’s worst holocaust. We also passed the Lane County Work Camp for jail inmates built in a very isolated area. Finally we came to the Siuslaw River Road and another fork in the road on which there is a large BLM information map showing the Smith River road system. We elected to turn right here in order to go to the Clay Creek recreation site for our morning break. As we continued along the Siuslaw Road (five miles) we passed what was once a sort of Wild West entertainment center called Saragosa, which flourished for a time with horses, pageants and stockade-type buildings but which is now completely deserted. Managed by the BLM, Clay Creek recreation site is a large camping and picnic area along the Siuslaw River with entrances on Hwy. 126 as well as the Siuslaw River Road, which we took. We retraced our route to the Smith River Road and continued on all the way to Hwy. 101, about five miles north of Reedsport. Most of the parks along the river were not accessible to the bus but we did stop at Smith River Falls. On reaching Hwy. 101 we turned north and arrived at Woahink Lake picnic area about 12:30 where we had lunch. When we left Eugene it was foggy but we had a sunny, beautiful day at the coast. We left Woahink Lake for Florence, where we stayed for about an hour, and returned home via Hwy. 36 going by Triangle Lake and arrived about 5:00.

Many thanks to Gary Tolle, our driver, who was very familiar with the area, having lived and worked there with his family. It was early for Color but there were great views of the river, and Ethel Allen brought along a picture of her brother, Dorral, with a large salmon he caught just below the falls (it later became smoked salmon at one of the potlucks). Ewart Baldwin gave us information about how the Oxbow Burn started. And many thanks to the Hospitality Committee, who took care of refreshments.

Riders were Ethel Allen, Ewart Baldwin, Marian Borchardt, Ingrid Carmichael, Mary Lee Cheadle, Gwen Hathaway, Margaret Huston, Jean & Ray Jensen, Helen Knowlton, Dodie Leppmann, Cleora Mersdorf, Helen Meyer, Barbara & Walt Miller, Mary Millman, Edna Robertson, Calvin & Elna Schmidt, Nancy Schreiner, Evelyn Hile, Rosella Jones and Bette Hack, leader.


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