Friday, August 31, 2012

Not the sounds of silence

I can hear waterfalls here at our camping spot at Emigrant Springs State Park in the Umatilla National Forest in northeast Oregon.  Actually, I’m not hearing waterfalls.  I’m hearing traffic.  Loud traffic.  Because except for a frontage road, Emigrant Springs State Park is immediately adjacent to I-84, the big freeway that crosses Oregon from its southeast corner up toward and into Portland.  But pretending makes it a little better.

On the other hand, the park is near an original section of the Old Oregon Trail where  pioneers camped and replenished water supplies from springs.  Later this part of the trail became I-84.  So if you are going to put a park in the original location, I-84 is going to be right there with you.

Other than the sound of the semis (on the plus side, I have yet to hear the rapid “brp, brp, brp, brp brp” sound of compression brakes) this is a great campground.  It’s pretty, well-cared for, has big conifers and roomy campsites.
Since we’ve arrived, we’ve been hiking and taking it easy.  Today we also took a trip into La Grande, a town of about 13,000 people and the largest city nearby (and that got its name from an early French settler who used the term to describe the area's scenery). We had lunch and did a little exploring.  Tomorrow we’re heading southeast for a campground on the Snake River near the Idaho/Oregon border.
One of 7 cabins for rent at Emigrant Springs.  These are the nicest rental cabins I’ve seen at a state park.
When I say this park is near I-84, I mean it.  Above is a photo taken from one of the campsites that includes a complimentary freeway view.  Luckily for us, our campsite is as far from the traffic as the RV spots get.
Jim and a happy-to-be-in-the-shade Cooper next to a monument placed at Emigrant Springs by Ezra Meeker, who traveled the Oregon Trail in 1852.  Between 1906 and 1908, Meeker hitched a team of oxen and placed monuments commemorating the Oregon trail from The Dalles, Oregon to Omaha, Nebraska.  In 1910, Meeker took a second wagon trip to retrace the path and find lost portions; in 1912 he traveled the path in a 12-cylinder “Pathfinder” auto as part of his effort to lobby Congress for a national highway along the trail; and in 1925 he flew above the route in a bi-plane.  Meeker died in 1928 at the age of 97 when he was planning yet another trip -- this time in a car given to him by Henry Ford.

Bev near an Oregon Trail monument at our campground dedicated by President Warren G. Harding on July 3, 1923.  (Side note:  Harding is one of  8 presidents who called Ohio home.)
Our site at Emigrant Springs State Park.  The park was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps.
Tonight we went to an interpretive program about the local area given by a state park ranger.  While she was talking, some wild turkeys strolled by twice.

1 comment:

  1. This was a fascinating blog posting to me! I have always been extraordinarily interested in The Platte River (both north and south branches). Through my readings about the Plattes I knew that the Oregon Trail ran along them, though it never occurred to me that the Oregon Trail actually went to Oregon. In my own defense, we have “The Welsh Scenic Byway” in Ohio, but it doesn’t really go to Wales. And besides, I didn’t know why anyone would build a trail all the way to Oregon. Of course that was before I knew about eighteen inch trout. I also think they may be vinting some wine out there. That would be a good thing. I’m pretty sure I too would build a trail for rainbow trout and wine!

    At any rate I am anxious to see Cooper again, so that I can talk to him about how he was moved by standing on the very spot that so many future wine-makers passed. Surely a tear came to his eye. I believe that he is becoming one of the most well informed pooches that I have ever known.