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Doggie Dash

September 1, 2013

Oregon – Thursday, August 22

I wasn’t able to find any good donation opportunities online in this area, so I just decided to set out for a walk to see what I would see. Tula and I walked all over La Grande and into a couple neighborhoods. We walked past an old-style gas station (last gas price on the pump is 69 cents/gallon) that had been converted into a little museum, and a bunch of old historic buildings and a theatre. I’ve been seeing several light green US Forest Service firefighting vehicles over the past few days, and I’m getting closer to another big wildfire near the town of The Dalles on the Columbia River.

While we were out walking, I noticed several flyers in store windows about a Doggie Dash coming up that would benefit the local humane society. I decided to stop by the Blue Mountain Humane Society and make a donation to them even though Tula and I wouldn’t be around to participate in the Doggie Dash. It sounds like it’s a very popular event, and they work hard to adopt out as many animals as they can.

From there I continued northwest and stopped at another Oregon Trail Center. I walked 2 1/2 miles on all the paths and saw some more ruts. But the most interesting thing I saw was a pine tree that had been growing back in the pioneer days, and was still alive, with roots visibly scarred from the passing wagon wheels and their hubs. To be able to touch a root scarred by a covered wagon, and know the tree was alive then, and now, seems almost magical – a true connection to the past. I could also see how rocks were ground to small pieces by all the wagon wheels, and in one place there were some old cast-off trunks. The Oregon Trail followed paths originally used by Indians, then fur trappers. Then came the pioneers in their covered wagons, followed by stage coaches, trains and autos. And people are still following the route. There was a book in a waterproof box asking people to add their own travel story along the trail. I read some of the entries and then added mine – and wondered what the next mode of transportation will be.

From there I headed to the town of Pendleton. Rain clouds were beginnning to move in, but Tula and I set off for about 2 1/2 miles of walking on the river trail. Despite being next to river, it wasn’t the most scenic of walks – this used to be a railway, and the tracks ran between the river and the backyards of some well-worn houses, showing me yet another dimension of American life. Plus some police cars came along, and I saw the police questioning a couple of teenage boys, and by the time I was walking back, the mother of one of them had arrived, and she was not very happy with her son. It was time to finish up that part of my walk, and then I headed into the historic part of town to finish the last of my walking in a sprinkling of rain. Then I drove past the Pendleton Woolen Mill, but it had closed for the day – it would have been interesting to go on one of their tours, but that will have to wait for another time.

Then I drove in the rain for a while along the Columbia River, and stopped at The Dalles for the night. I knew the wildfire was only 10-12 miles to the southwest, but there was no visible smoke or anything, and I was assured the town itself was not under any threat from the fire. People seem very matter-of-fact about the proximity of a large fire, and once again I was reminded it’s a way of life for people who live in these areas.

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One Comment
  1. Sue Johnson permalink

    The old tree you saw reminded me of a tree near Copper Harbor, Michigan. There is a forest of ancient trees near the very top of Michigan some of which were around when Columbus discovered America – over 500 years old – Pine Trees. The Estavant Pines is the name of the place. It is truly a link with the past.
    I have really enjoyed your blog and admire you for stepping out with a good plan to see places & things you’ve never seen before.
    Sue

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