Friday, February 26, 2016

Over Crooked Canyon River

I was dozing while we drove across the Crooked Canyon River in Central Oregon.  My travel buddy made a sharp right turn and screeched to a stop.

"What's the matter?" I asked, suddenly jolted awake.  Did we hit a deer?  Get a flat tire?

"You gotta see this," he said.  "Put on your shoes."

The Railroad Bridge

All I saw was a sign:  No dogs allowed. Keep them in your car.  Many dogs have jumped to their death  here.  What in the world?

The above viewpoint was about a hundred yards away.  All I could do was gasp.  And then it suddenly occurred to me.  "Wow.  You stopped all by yourself."

He smiled smugly. "You've taught me well.  Did I do good?"

"Oh, yes."
The two highway bridges.

There are three generations of bridges crossing this canyon and all of them are beauties.  From the railroad bridge, built in 1910, to the green highway bridge which was used until September 2000 when the new red one was opened on the wider U.S. Highway 97.  Today, you can walk out on the green one for these incredible, vertigo-induced views. They are all nearly 500 feet long and a dizzying 300 feet high.
The official name of this pitstop is the Peter Skene Ogden Overlook.  His name is popping up more and more frequently as I travel throughout the Pacific Northwest.  Ogden lived from 1793 to 1854 and was a trapper for the Hudson Bay Company.  He explored the parts of Oregon that Lewis and Clark didn't get to, including this beautiful basalt canyon framing the Crooked River.

I'm so happy they left the old narrow bridge for us pedestrians to walk on.  But, yes, I agree with those signs.  Keep your dog in the car!

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