Indigo Springs & Chuckle Springs
September 26, 2004
It was overcast in Eugene as 17 hikers set out for a history and hiking tour
of the Middle Fork of the Willamette River.
Just out of Oakridge, we drove southeast on FS Road 21, which closely
follows the route of the old Oregon Central Military Wagon Road above
Hills Creek Reservoir.
The OCMWR was constructed in the 1860s and was the primary road over the
mountains from the upper Willamette Valley into the early 1900s.
On the way to the trailhead, we stopped at Rigdon Meadows, an historic
site on the road where Stephen and Zilphia Rigdon maintained a way station
from 1871 to 1896.
The sun broke through the clouds just as we began the hike where the trail
crosses Road 2143, heading upstream for three miles towards Indigo Springs.
Parts of the trail go through old growth forest (including Ponderosa pines)
and areas 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.
A bonus this year was the large number and variety of mushrooms we saw along
We stopped for lunch at Indigo Springs where a small portion of the original
OCMWR can still be seen.
After lunch we continued up the Middle Fork Trail to Chuckle Springs where
we rested and enjoyed the quiet beauty of the springs.
We returned on a small loop down to the main trail and back to Indigo Springs
for departure to Eugene.
It turned out to be a beautiful fall day, adding to the enjoyment of the hike.
The travelers included
Sharon and Jim Duncan.