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 the trail. 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 Ann-Marie Askew, Max Brown, Barb Bruns, Wendy Clarke, Jim Fritz, Yuan Hopkins, Marshall Kandell, Nola Nelson, Carol Petty, Margaret Prentice, Peter Rodda, Vincenza Scarpaci, Sheila Ward, Nancy Whitfield, Mel Zavodsky, and leaders Sharon and Jim Duncan.

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