Sunday, July 8, 2012

Days 37-40 Cornucopia Lodge

Cornucopia Lodge
Days 37-40 (July 1 to July 4).  On July 1 (my birthday) we drove from Seattle to Cornucopia Lodge to visit my parents.  The drive was fairly uneventful, except that when we were just passed Snoqualmie Pass the car in front of us's cartop carrier popped open and all of their sleeping bags and tent came flying out.  David swerved to try and miss some of the stuff, but we still ran over one of their sleeping bags (it made a quiet "pop" as it went under the car in one piece and then opened and left the undercarriage of the car totally unrolled.  I hope it wasn't too badly damaged, but there wasn't much we could do about it.
David and me!
We got to Cornucopia around supper time (6:30 or so) and then immediately took Erin down to horse camp so she could begin to get to know the other girls who had arrived a few hours earlier.  Apparently she immediately volunteered to help out with the dishes and then sweeping the tack room, so everyone had a very positive impression of her right off.

Our cabin
We got the cabin nearest to the lodge for our own (two bedrooms -- one with two twin beds for Daniel and Moritz to share).  The cabin has electricity provided through a generator which charges a set of car batteries.  But, you want to save electricity as much as possible so you are encouraged to turn off the electricity when you leave your cabin.  This has been hard for David to learn and he has had to go back several times to turn off the electricity.

That night we helped to clean up the office upstairs and move Katlin's bed in so that she had somewhere to sleep.  The next day we did some more cleaning and switched Katlin's bed into the bedroom and moved Mom and Dad's bed into the office so they wouldn't wake her up in the morning.  After cleaning, I wandered around to the big creek and took lots of pictures of rocks, trees, flowers, etc.

Flower I saw on a hike

Cornucopia Mine
On July 3, Mom took us over to the old ghost town of Cornucopia.  It's a bit of misnomer that it is a ghost town because although there are many abandoned buildings which are old and falling down, there are also some new cabins and cabins that have been kept up by people for summer use.  No one lives up there year round anymore, but there were a fair number of people up there for the 4th of July holiday.  We took photos of some of the buildings and then went over to the mine shaft that is directly across from our property.  It is the Coulter shaft of the Union-Companion mine, but it was originally established as its own separate mine.  All of the tunnels in the mountain (all 32 miles of tunnels) are interconnected, so it is hard to tell one mine from another.  From what I've read, this mine shaft was originally started very low on the mountain (Cornucopia is only about 5000 ft. in elevation) and when the Union-Companion mine blasted down low enough to reach them (the U-C mine starts about 6800 ft. in elevation), it caused all of the water which had been collecting in the lower levels of the U-C mine to drain out.  So, they were very happy to have this lower outlet to let out a bunch of the water.  The mines were originally opened around 1889 and continued production until 1941 when the US government called a halt to all mining operations because of WWII.  They weren't reopened after that, except that in the 1980s, the lower shaft was mined for a few years.
Close-up picture of the mountain behind the lodge
We couldn't get into the mine because the main entrance had collapsed with the heavy snowfalls a few years ago.  But, we wandered around looking at the old outbuildings and saw some interesting ore cart tracks, an explosives box, and how far back the tunnel had collapsed into the mountain.  It was a lot of fun and will have to take Moritz over there when he arrives.  Moritz (for those of you who don't know) is our new exchange student from Germany.  He comes from a small town named Hermannsburg and he will arrive on July 8.  Although we are sorry to see Bow and Jayong go, we are very excited to welcome Moritz into our home.
Moon and clouds at night
On July 4 we headed to Haines, OR to watch the rodeo.  All of the horse camp kids went with my mom and Katlin, Dad, Daniel, David and I drove to Haines as well.  Lisa and her kids opted to go to the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Baker City instead of sitting outside in the sun baking during the rodeo.  David, Daniel, and Erin had never been to a rodeo, so I was excited for them to see it.  Although it was not a very high quality rodeo (mainly amateurs not professional rodeo people), it was still fun to watch people try to ride bulls, ride bucking horses, run barrels, and rope steers.  They also had a number of events that I had not seen before, including the wild cow race where two participants had to catch a wild cow on foot, hold them, saddle them, mount them, and ride them across the arena to the other side.  I was amazed how fast people could do this!  They also had the cowhide race where an adult had to ride down to the end of the arena and pick up a little kids, swing them up onto their saddle, ride to the opposite end, drop them off, grab a rope handed to them by the kid that had a cowhide attached to the end of it, and then they had to drag the cowhide with the kid laying on it to the other end of the arena.  The kids ended up totally dirty and a number lost because the kids fell off the horse or didn't get pulled onto them correctly.  They also had mutton busting for the really little kids where they put a rope around the center of a sheep, put a helmet on the kid and tell them to hang on as long as possible.  The kids get dragged under the sheep, trampled, and run into the fence, but most hung on as long as possible.  The reward for this torture?  $1 for each kid who participates.  Katlin participated in this a lot when she was a kid (maybe that's why her brain is so scrambled?  Just kidding!).  The rodeo also brought with it lots of interesting food.  First there was the "tornado potato."  They put a skewer through a potato and then spiral cut it about 2/3 of the way through so it ends up like a big long curly fry and then dump it in the deep frier without any breading.  It was really good!  The corn dogs were also fried with their own batter which had corn and some other pepper type things in the breading, but it was really good.  The most unusual thing was the fried pop tarts.  Now, I expect to find that thing in the South, but I didn't expect someone in Oregon to be the one who took Pop Tarts and dropped them in the deep frier.  Daniel got a chocolate chip cookie dough one deep fried and it was really good!

Calf Roping
Mutton Busting
Barrel Racing
After the rodeo we drove back to Halfway for the parade (which didn't amount to much) and then headed out to the fairgrounds to watch the fireworks.  We got to listen to a guy sing and people danced to his music.  All of the horse camp kids -- including Erin -- were up there having a blast.  I finally got David up there with me for the very last song.  The fireworks were great and fun to watch.  All in all, it was a great 4th of July weekend! 

Creek I saw on a hike
Erin and other horse campers leaving on a ride

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