Indigo Springs—Chuckle Springs

September 18, 2005

A lovely late summer’s day was the setting for the annual “history and hiking” tour of the Middle Fork of the Willamette River. At Hills Creek Reservoir we turned onto FS Road 21, which closely follows the route of the old Oregon Central Military Wagon Road above the 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, keeping accurate records of travelers and livestock passing along the road. After shuttling a car, we began the hike where the Middle Fork 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. We stopped for lunch at Indigo Springs, a beautiful spot, where a small portion of the original OCMWR can still be seen. After lunch we continued up the Middle Fork Trail towards Chuckle Springs. This part of the trail crosses numerous springs and streams that flow directly into the river, and negotiating some of them on rocks and logs added to the interest and challenge of the hike. One crossing, known hereafter as “Marshall’s Landing” proved particularly exciting. After pausing at Chuckle Springs we returned on a small loop down to the main trail and back to Indigo Springs for departure to Eugene. The hikers included members Marcia Cutler, Arlene Deyo, Pat Esch, Margot Fetz, Jim Fritz, Kathy Hoeg, Stewart Hoeg, Bob Huntley, Kitty Johnson, Marshall Kandell, Joanne Ledet, Lana Lindstrom, Charlie Van Deusen, non-member Valerie Duncan, and leaders Sharon and Jim Duncan.

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