Friday, 7 July 2017

Sumpter, OR

I enjoyed a rest day in Baker City. The bike got a clean and tune up and I ate lots of fresh fruit and veg, including tasty peas from the hostel garden. I shared the hostel with an American cycling to Denver and a Spanish couple cycling to the east coast on a tandem. I gave them my bear spray and managed a very short conversation about bears in Spanish before we needed to switch to English.

Feeling refreshed I left the next day soon after 6 and cycled 30miles gradual uphill to Sumpter. With a couple of decent breaks I arrived soon after 10am beating the worst of the heat. On longer days I'll need to start at 5am. Unfortunately it doesn't start to cool down here until sunset around 8pm so it is a very challenging cycle touring climate.

Wildlife spot of the day was a young beaver! Very exciting.

I am staying at a motel which allows camping in the yard. My new tent is an inexpensive single skin light backpackers tent. All that was available at the store in Ontario. It should suffice for the rest of the trip at least. The motel owner was based for three years at Menwith Hill (the "golf balls") outside Harrogate in the 1970s when the base was American. He has fond memories of  visiting the dance hall in York and Mother Shipton's cave. The site also comes with a new friend for me, a very small dog called Oliver. Everywhere is very busy as there is a large motorcycle rally this weekend.

It's frustrating not being able to cycle in the afternoon but Sumpter is not a bad place to spend a day. I visited one of the largest gold dredges in the States. You can poke around inside it which is quite cool. The dredge floated in 9 feet of water, digging a pond for itself to float in as it moved. Water was then used to separate the gold.

There is also a railroad, opened in 1897 it hauled large shipments of gold ore to the Sumpter smelter. They now run steam train rides occasionally but none today. I went round the small museum which has information about the gold mining and life in Sumpter in the late 19th century.

In the evening I took a nice walk by the river in the hope of seeing more beavers but no luck. A lot live round here but they probably won't come out to feed until after dark. A campfire outside the motel and a chat with the other guests camping here finished the day.

Display at the museum

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