Middle Fork Willamette/Chuckle Springs
September 21, 2003
On a perfect fall day, 13 hikers explored a portion of the Middle Fork
Trail, which follows the Willamette River for 33 miles to its origin at
After shuttling a car, we began the hike where the trail crosses Road 2143,
heading upstream for three miles before stopping at Indigo Springs for lunch.
Parts of the trail go through old growth forest where rocks and tree trunks
are carpeted with thick green moss.
The trail crosses numerous springs and streams flowing into the Middle Fork
of the Willamette River.
Negotiating some of these streams on rocks and logs added to the interest
and challenge of the hike.
In addition to its physical beauty, this area has an interesting history.
The Lost Wagon Train of 1853 struggled over Emigrant Pass in October 1853
and finally made its way down into the Middle Fork region where early
settlers of the Willamette Valley rescued nearly 1500 emigrants, some of whom
were found at Indigo Springs.
In addition, much of the Middle Fork Trail follows the route of the Oregon
Central Military Road, whose construction began in 1865.
The road connected the Willamette Valley with eastern Oregon and it was used
until the early part of the 20th century.
Tracks from the road can be seen at Indigo Springs.
After lunch, we continued up the trail, detouring to Chuckle Springs where we
rested and enjoyed the quiet beauty of the springs.
We continued on a small loop back down to the main trail and returned to
Indigo Springs for our departure.
A stop in Oakridge for cold drinks and ice cream slightly delayed the return
of the modern day emigrants to Eugene.
A most congenial group of hikers included
Rayla McClurg (age 9),
Sharon and Jim Duncan.