Friday, August 30, 2013

Where Sasquatch Roam...

If you've been following my regular Friday posts, you're well aware that my family recently purchased our first car and have been taking Sunday family adventures to celebrate the new purchase as well as summer in Portland.  This past weekend we headed to Umpqua National Forest for a lovely 2 day camping trip.  If Sasquatch is real, THIS is where he/she resides.  Good thing that I'm quite the skeptic when it comes to the supernatural.
It was surreal to watch the clouds roll through the top of the trees.
For this camping trip, we rented a historic cabin that sits atop a narrow forested ridge between Fairview Peak and Grouse Mountain.  The cabin was once a guard station and it as well as the surrounding buildings were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1934 to provide fire protection to the Bohemia Mining district.  
Cabin view from the driveway.
Nowadays it offers visitors all the joys of off the track backpacking with the ease of car camping. Its a lovely remote cabin where you can get away from the hustle and bustle of modern life; the cabin driveway has a locked gate so only those with the combination code can access it.  In addition, the roads were fairly decent and we were able to drive our older car right up the mountain to the site without much trouble at all.  It boasts a wood stove for heating and cooking, plenty of sleeping space (this would be a good cabin for a large family or a party of friends), and an outhouse for your potty needs (yes, its gross but its stocked with toilet paper and hand sanitizer).  There are also several outbuildings that served various purposes in the guard station's hey day.
There are several outbuildings around the cabin.  One of them would be this creepy horse stable that Aria insisted on visiting several times throughout our trip.
The Bohemia Mining district is full of interesting places to visit and explore.  You can just hike around aimlessly exploring the majesty of the Umpqua National Forest.  Expect some of the trails to be fairly unkempt as I suspect that some of them haven't been used in a long time.
Be careful not to get lost.  There are tons of trails and old roads and I could see that it might be fairly easy to lose track from whence you came.
You could also check out the infamous abandoned Musick Mines.  Once a booming gold mining site in the late 1800s-early 1900s, there is only one building left standing now.  The trail down to the old gold mine is fairly easy but its a little eery to come around the corner and stumble upon the abandoned mines in the middle of a misty mountain forest.
My favorite girl wearing my favorite shirt from the Measure while she explores the abandoned mines.
Musick Mines.  If you look closely you can see the only standing building in the middle of the picture.  I haven't a clue what the reddish metal structure in the left side of the picture is but it is full of bullet holes from some obvious target shooting.  Anybody know what this thing might have been used for?
A closer view of the crumbling building.  You have to watch your step while you're exploring the area, plenty of broken glass and rusty nails to be found.
Rusty old mining equipment lays forgotten in the middle of the Oregon wilderness.
If you take the time to dig around in some of the rock piles, you can find plenty of really cool quartz. You do have to be careful to avoid the many collapsed mines in the area and I'd feel irresponsible if I didn't mention that you should never, ever explore any of the actual mines.  They are incredibly dangerous and best left unexplored.

Burnt and torn apart tracks lead to a collapsed mine.  We kept Aria out of this rubble and asked that she stick to the rock piles that offered more safe exploration.
Just a small sampling of the treasures we found.  Aria also found some some bullet shells and really old rusty nails.  Yeah...parenting WIN!  hahaha...oh dear.
We only spent two nights there so we didn't get to explore nearly enough of the wilderness.  We already plan on returning next summer for at least a week so we can try gold mining in some of the nearby creeks (if you decide to try this, be sure that you stay away from private claims, there is still plenty of modern day gold mining in the area).  We'd also love to hike up to Fairview Peak and catch the view from the lookout tower.

As we headed out in the wee hours of the morning, we were able to catch an amazing view of the sunrise in the mountains.  In the backseat, Aria was whispering, "Goodbye cabin, I love you.  I'll miss you."
Yeah...we didn't get nearly enough time in this beautiful spot.  We'll be back.  We'll be back.

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