We saw this large Sitka spruce, Picea sitchensis, tree at Fort Clatsop, Oregon. This is where the Lewis and Clark expedition spent a long, wet winter in 1806. Lewis noted how this tree was commonly 27 feet in girth, with some trees reaching 36 feet around. This tree’s height averages 125-180 feet, and may reach over 250 feet. Sitka spruce can live up to 800 years.
Indigenous people used parts of spruce trees in several ways. Roots and cedar bark were woven into baskets and hats. The pitch was used as a varnish, to waterproof canoes, and chewed like gum. Various parts were used to treat diarrhea, constipation, and back aches. Sitka spruce was thought to possess “mystical powers and provided protection against evil thoughts.”
The tree’s fine-grained wood is both strong and lightweight. It is used in turbine blades, aircraft, sailboats, racing sculls, and oars. its unique qualities also make it a favorite in making musical instruments, including guitars, harps, violins, pianos, and flutes created by Native Americans.
While taking pictures of the Pioneer Village in Lander, Wyoming, I immediately thought of how they would look in sepia tones. I wanted to focus on their structure and emphasize their age.
The Pioneer Village buildings are part of the Museum of the American West. The main museum showcases a wide variety of artifacts from people who lived in this area in the mid-1800s to early-1900s.
The Guinard Cabin, circa 1902, has a rough plank and mortar construction. The overall brown color in the picture below hides the presence of a garden hose. A windmill and teepee blend into the background.
This storage shed and Saloon would fit right into an old time neighborhood.
Today, I’m featuring photos from the Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Site kitchen. I’ve posted about this historical site in John Day, Oregon, before. It was boarded up for many years when the doors were finally opened, it was like a time capsule inside.
Whenever I visit there, I think about how good the various shapes and textures would look in monotone pictures. However, the vibrant colors are also interesting. Since I was unable to decide which way to process the photos I took, I’m showing both color and monotone sepia versions. Move the slider to compare them. I used a dark vignette effect on all of the photos.
The first one shows a wood cooking stove with a small shrine behind it. I like how the orange color glows in the color version.
The second photo shows various products in this kitchen of the past. In this one, I like how the labels stand out in color.
The High Desert Museum, in Bend, Oregon, is currently hosting the Creations of Spirit exhibition. The pieces on display include historical artifacts and works by contemporary Native artists.
The beautiful pieces are enhanced by quotes throughout the gallery. I will let their words tell the stories.
Throughout the process, you continually impart yourself in the creation of that object. And when you’ve completed it, it takes on a life of its own.
Philip Cash Cash, Ph. D., Weyíiletpuu (Cayuse) and Niimpíipuu (Nez Perce) tribes
I wanted to have my own story in the baskets. I wanted to keep the traditional form and the shape, but I wanted to add iconography that talked to the present.
Joe Feddersen, Member of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation
Root bag with multiple figures by Plateau artist (early 1900s); Basket with animal figures by Umatilla artist (mid-1900s); Round Dance pitcher & cup by Joe Feddersen, 2002; Berry-picking container by Vivian Harrison, (StuYat), Yakama/Palouse/Wishram, 2002
Most of my designs are from the petroglyphs along the Nch’i wana [Columbia River]. I love and appreciate where our people came from, and our people left animals as stories in our pictographs and petroglyphs. That’s why I want to instill them in my baskets and keep them alive. I want people to know that we’ve been seeing these animals for tens of thousands of years.
I did a lot of looking up in Burns, Oregon on my trip in April 2023. The main purpose of my trip was to look for birds on Harney County Migratory Bird Festival tours. However, I arrived a day early to participate in the Downtown Walking History Tour.
A very short history of Burns, Oregon
Burns was officially established in 1884 and incorporated in 1889. The Northern Paiute, or their ancestors, lived here for thousands of years prior to the arrival of European settlers. Harney County, where Burns is located, is the largest county in Oregon and ninth largest in the nation. This sparsely populated county is 10,226 square miles in size. The population of Burns, its largest city, was 2,757 in 2021.
Our tour guide told us about the history of buildings along the main road. Sometimes she pointed out areas where no building currently exists. Unfortunately, fires destroyed many buildings in years past. It is ironic that the town of Burns had so many fires.
Looking up in Burns
While I listened to facts about many of the buildings we passed, I kept looking up in Burns. My attention wandered, and I focused on the architecture overhead.
Some of the buildings had fallen into disrepair.
Others retained parts of the original structure with updates, like modern windows.
The Federal Building housed the Post Office at one time. I think it was once the tallest building in Burns.
I’m sharing photos of a Guinness Storehouse visit on this Saint Patrick’s Day. The Storehouse is in Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland and it gets millions of visitors a year.
Guinness was first created in 1759 and the Storehouse where it’s made opened to the public in 2000. The best selling alcoholic drink in Ireland is Guinness. The exhibits at the Storehouse lead you through the history and manufacturing of this iconic beer.
I liked how the display boards had brief, informative explanations.
Displays are also artistic and multimedia. This fountain was one of my favorites. I’ll share photos of their whimsical advertising displays in a future post.
I took a short hike yesterday to get a memorable view of an icy Cline Falls. Visitors can park at Cline Falls State Scenic Viewpoint and hike a 1/2 mile trail along the river. There’s also a place to view them from above near NW Eagle Drive and NW 74th.
Cline Falls is on the Deschutes River, 4 miles west of Redmond, Oregon. The river splits into several channels and the waterfalls are 20-feet high and 50-feet wide.
This area is part of the Deschutes River Paddle Trail. Cline Falls is classified as Class-3 and paddlers are required to portage their watercraft around the falls.
These photos show a kitchen from the past, full of artifacts.
We recently visited the Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Site in John Day, Oregon. The building originally served as a trading post, built in 1864. In the 1870s, business partners Lung On and Ing Hay established a business here. It served as as apothecary/medical clinic/store/boarding house/community and religious center. It closed in 1940 and was sealed up for decades. When it was finally opened, it was like a time capsule.
The building preserves Chinese history from a time when they were excluded from everyday society. This site is open from May 1 to October 31 and guided tours are offered for free. If you have an interest in history, be sure to visit this fascinating site!
Last month, we took a trip to see the Spruce Goose at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum. This museum is in McMinnville, about 50 miles southwest of Portland, Oregon. Its star attraction is the airplane associated with Howard Hughes, Jr.
In 1942, steel magnate Henry Kaiser approached Hughes about creating a massive flying boat. Hughes was well known for breaking records as a pilot, including a 1935 landplane airspeed record of 352 miles per hour. In 1938, Hughes flew around the world in 3 days 19 hours 17 minutes, beating the previous record by almost four days. He was also a brilliant engineer.
After Kaiser withdrew from the flying boat project in 1944, Howard Hughes renamed the plane H-4 Hercules. It’s also called the Hughes Flying Boat and the Spruce Goose. Hughes become obsessed with the project. Though the original intention was for the aircraft to help with war efforts, by the time they completed the project, the war was over.
Hughes flew the plane on November 2, 1947. He wanted to prove it was airworthy and not just a flight of fancy. In its first and only flight, he flew it at an altitude of 70 feet for 26 seconds. The aircraft flew for about one mile at a speed of 135 miles per hour.
Exterior of the Spruce Goose
I knew the Spruce Goose was large, but I had no idea how enormous it was. I’m including several exterior photos to show the scale of this massive aircraft. The first picture shows a view from the second-story balcony.
The next two show aircraft on display under one wing and then the other. They look so small in comparison.
In your travels near and far, you may find weird and wonderful sights.
Sometimes you find a weird sight when you’re driving down the highway and look it up later. This is the Smith Mansion, located in Wapiti, Wyoming, halfway between Cody and Yellowstone.
Lee Smith, a former builder and engineer, began constructing this structure from locally harvested logs. However, he became obsessed with adding on to the building, which led to his divorce. For 22 years he continued construction so that eventually it was 5-stories tall. One day, unfortunately, he slipped while working and fell to his death. His daughter owned the house for many years until it was sold to a neighbor in 2020.
For a better look at this amazing structure inside and out, watch this video by Scott Richard.
At other times you’ll go a little off the beaten path in search of a good meal. This delicious barbecue dinner is from the Apple Valley BBQ in Parkdale, Oregon. Parkdale, at the base of Mt Hood, is a small town with a population of about 650. Fruit orchards fill the valleys in this part of Oregon and the restaurant incorporates fruit into their meals. The coleslaw pictured contains slices of fresh pears. They use local cherry wood to smoke their meat. Yum, definitely one of my favorites!
The Imagine a World exhibition at the High Desert Museum focuses on past and present efforts to create utopian communities. Participants joined for assorted reasons, including religious persecution, environmental concerns, and anti-war sentiments.
The communities featured are in the Western United States. Founding members often thought of the West as an idyllic, “empty” place to settle. However, they did not always consider who was already living in these environments.
As you enter the gallery, two life-sized astronauts suspended in front of a bold painting of bison catch your eye. Two bright paintings adorn the walls next to this display. These works represent Indigenous futurism. They highlight how important cosmology, science, and futurism have been to Native peoples. Grace Dilon, Ph.D. (Anishinaabe) states that Indigenous futurism is part of the process of “returning to ourselves.” The goal is to recover “ancestral traditions in order to adapt in our post-Native Apocalypse world.”
In late May, I went on a hike on part of the Santiam Wagon Road near Sisters, Oregon (see trail map at end of post). Carol Wall, of the Deschutes Land Trust, led this hike. We traveled along an out and back two-mile section of the road. This 400-mile route was used to move livestock and freight between 1865-1939. In the first 15 years of its operation, around 5,000 wagons passed over this route.
As I mentioned in a previous post, most travelers on this road traveled from the west side of the mountains to the east. My Santiam Wagon Road post gives details about a 2-mile hike on a different section of this route.
We gathered around the kiosk in the parking area and Carol had us imagine what this road must have looked like in the 1860s. The ponderosa pine and western juniper trees you’ll see at the trailhead likely didn’t exist at that time. Junipers expanded their range due to fire suppression and overgrazing.
Terry’s Hanger Shop is part of one of the displays at the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum located in Hood River, Oregon. This large museum features airplanes, automobiles, and other artifacts. This shop is one of the many storefronts featured around the perimeter of the building.
Did you notice the sign showing the hours they are open? “Gone Yesterday Today and Tomorrow.” Someone has a good sense of humor. 😉
Today I’m sharing photos and a short video related to the Guinness harp. The emblem is based on a 14th century Irish harp known as “O’Neill” or “Brian Boru.” Guinness has featured a harp image on its beer labels since 1862 and trademarked it in 1876. The logo consists of the harp, the GUINNESS® word, and Arthur Guinness’ signature.
It’s time once again for fun with photos. Welcome to Photo Bloopers 5! This is what I do with pictures that don’t quite fit in or turned out weird looking. They needed a few words to make them more interesting. Hope they entertain you!
This observatory of the past is on McKenzie Pass near Sisters, Oregon. Dee Wright Observatory was built in 1935 by the Civilian Conservation Corps to showcase the human and geological history of this location. The round tower sits atop a small hill.
Here’s what it looks like when you approach it from the west. It’s one of the odder roadside attractions in Oregon but one that should not be missed.
The Observatory is constructed of local lava rock. The triangular-shaped rail supports look like rock cairns.
Here in the High Desert, things tend to last well past their prime. Though this old truck shows signs of wear and tear, chances are it still runs.
This truck is located on rural property along Deschutes Market Road. This is one of 51 “market” roads in and around Deschutes County. These farm-to-market roads were built following passage of the Oregon Market Road Act of 1919. Prior to their construction, farmers navigated many miles of bumpy, rutted dirt roads to deliver their goods.
A label on the truck’s door reads S & M, Land & Livestock. I’m not sure if this was a local company. There were many ranching operations in Central Oregon, large and small, in the 1870-1920 pre-Industrial period.