08 July 2006

Along the Long Tom Country Trail

Long Tom Trail
Originally uploaded by Katherine H.
I headed south today on a self-guided tour through the farmlands of the Long Tom River watershed. Lane County has started a new ecotourism project, and the Long Tom Country Trail is the first part. Already existing farms, stables, galleries, and vineyards give shape to the trail route. It’s a way to sustain local economic ventures, and draw customers to the area. You are welcome to stop at any of the sites indicated on the map and enjoy what they have to offer. Next month, the Lorane Country Trail will open, and in August the Fern Ridge Country Trail will be ready for visitors.

After printing out the online map, I burned a cd of songs that had been trapped on my computer to be my soundtrack for the afternoon. My goal was to drive as much of the trail as I could and still make it to the Lane County Historical Museum before it closed at 4 pm.

Field mowing was the task of the day. Nearly every field in Linn and Lane Counties had sickle-bar mowers busily cutting dried grass and shaping it into windrows to be baled. Passing the Smyth Ranch, at first glance I thought I saw three bulls standing in the shade. A few yards down the road when my double take caught up with my brain, I realized they weren’t bulls after all…but bison clustered together near the farm gate. Whether it is alpacas, appaloosas, sheep, cows, or even the odd buffalo -- a drive along these roads provides good animal watching.

Something that caught my eye that was not indicated on the trail map was the Danish Cemetery on High Pass Road. Set on a small knoll overlooking the surrounding farmland were headstones engraved with names such as Sogaard, Jendresen, Mikkelsen, and Bertelsen. The arch at the entrance states: Kampen er til ende bract. The accompanying plaque simply says “The struggle has ended.” It is dedicated to the Danish settlers, 1903-1981.

After driving through Cheshire and Alvadore, I arrived at the Historical Museum with time to spare. I submitted a records request to the archives for the original diary of Ellen Hemenway Humphrey, my great-great-grandmother. Part of her writing was published in a 1994 anthology of Oregon letters and diaries. The anthology indicates that the museum is the keeper of the original document. In a few weeks, I’ll find out if that is the case, and what new adventures that may send me on!

1 comment:

Ulla said...

Love your photos!