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The Goodpasture Bridge and McKenzie River

McKenzie River Valley: A Historic Inn and Old Growth Trees

Driving east on Highway 126 is like riding a magic carpet. Within minutes of the Eugene-Springfield city limits we where transported to dense green forests and the rushing waters of the McKenzie River. With its iridescent blue green water, the McKenzie is one of the most beautiful rivers we have seen.

With the McKenzie as our roadside companion for most of the drive, it was tempting to stop every few miles or so to savor the scenery. Along the road there were peek-a-boo views of the snow capped volcanic peaks of the Sister Mountains, covered bridges, and small towns. Danny was especially amused by a blip in the road called Nimrod ... Bugs Bunny's nickname for Elmer Fudd. The 1938 Goodpasture Bridge is the second longest covered bridge in Oregon and has superb detailing … especially the gothic style louvered windows on each side. While stopped here for a photo-op ... we discovered wild blackberries growing in abundance.

One of the inviting guest cottages at the Log Cabin Inn.

If a log cabin isn't to your liking ... you can always go down below and stay in a tipi ... or is that wigwam?

Our drive ended at McKenzie Bridge … a small hamlet that consists of a two gas pump general store and the historic 1906 Log Cabin Inn. We really enjoyed visiting the Inn. We walked the manicured grounds and then soaked up the relaxed ambience as we had lunch on the veranda. During the 1930’s the Log Cabin Inn was a noted hideaway where celebrities such as Clark Gable, Duke of Windsor and Herbert Hoover found sanctuary (the register they signed is on display in the lobby). Next to the Inn is the McKenzie Bridge were we hung over the rails and watched the water rush under the bridge at an alarming speed (we estimated the current at 10-15 mph).

From McKenzie Bridge we took a short detour down the scenic Robert Aufderheide Memorial Drive. The Delta Old Growth Nature Trail offered a refreshing walk through an old growth forest of 200-500 year old trees … the trail was dark, damp and primordial. Our detour ended at the Cougar Reservoir … the tallest rock filled dam in Oregon. There wasn’t much to see since the water level was down due to a major construction project. Once completed, the water temperature will be more favorable to the spawning Salmon and Bullhead trout.

The nearly empty Cougar Reservoir ... notice the location of the waterline.

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