Monday, October 3, 2016

Camping where Jim's dad once worked

Jim’s dad was a heavy construction carpenter. He moved his family from Oregon to Washington, to North Dakota, to California, back to Oregon and then back to Washington as he helped build various dams across the western United States.The Detroit Lake Dam -- about 50 miles east of Salem and nearby to where we camped for three days at Detroit Lake State Recreation Area -- was one of those dams. 

Jim was a toddler when he and his family lived in nearby tiny Mehama, Oregon, and has no memories of living there while his dad worked on the dam. Wish he did, but we can't share any good stories of that time 60 plus years ago.

The dam and lake are named for the small town of Detroit that was flooded when the dam was completed in the early 1950s. The town was moved east of its original location and today has about 200 year-round residents. According to the town web site, it was named for Detroit, Michigan, because many of its original residents were from Michigan. 

A hiking path circled the Detroit Lake State Recreation Area, where we camped for three nights.  It's a clean, well-run campground with 300 sites and helpful camp hosts and staff.  Highly recommended!
What you are looking at here is a dock and boat slip that are currently nowhere near Detroit Lake. Every fall as water supply decreases, the lake recedes.  By springtime most years, boaters will be using the dock/slips.  One boat launch at nearby Mongold day use area is usable year round.  If you squint (or click on the photo) you can see Jim at center right.
Ghostly-looking tree trunks dot the shores of the Detroit Lake.   They are remnants of trees cut down when the dam was built in the late 1940s early 1950s. Our grand kids thought they looked like spiders.
The Detroit Dam on the North Santiam River.
SIL Lee and Grandson Owen piloting their pontoon boat on Detroit Lake.

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