Interesting history in Part II, but no cool close ups of nature like the first part. When I left off at the last post we'd made it back to the car and were driving east towards Highway 99W.
A bit up the road from the headquarters the fields opened up to the south. They were filled with thousands of migrating geese from Alaska foraging off the grasses for the winter. I cannot describe how loud they were when that many were honking in one place. We attempted to take video but it didn't turn out great. Bear in mind this is just one area of geese in the refuge.
|(Interpretive sign regarding the wintering geese)|
Beside the interpretive sign for the geese was a sign for the "Elders of Big Top", meaning the mighty oaks located on the hill across the road behind us. You know me and trees, I had to take a picture or two of them as well.
|(Oak trees older than 200 years - still young by some standards)|
A little further west are several historical buildings. "The Fiechter House is located on the original donation land claim site of John Fiechter and is considered one of the oldest buildings in Benton County. John Fiechter was born in 1822 in Baden, Germany and immigrated to the United States in 1835. He arrived in Oregon in November 1846 via the first wagon trail to travel the Applegate Trail. In 1861 John was shot and killed while preparing to go hunting, leaving his 29 year old wife a widow with 7 small children. In 1862 his wife Cynthia married Archibald Johnson, the man with her husband during that accident. Together they had 5 additional children and continued to operate the farm until Archibald's death in 1889. Cynthia and her son Francis Fiechter then operated the farm together until they sold it in 1906."
|(One of the interpretive signs at the Fiechter House)|
|(Front of Fiechter House)|
|(No one around so we peeked in the windows)|
|(Double sided fireplace - one in each room)|
|(Kitchen at back of house - oil heaters to keep the dampness at bay)|
|(Painted floor on other side of kitchen floor)|
|(Troubadour said the root cellar still smelled like the 1800's)|
"The Fiechter Barn is 250 ft to the north of the Fiechter House. The exact date of construction is unknown and it is now used by the Benton County Historical Society to house historical farm related equipment."
"Colonel Henry and Emily Cabell purchased the Fiechter House in 1906. They built a carriage house on the west side of the house in 1933 when they remodeled the Fiechter House. The Carriage House is on the Oregon Inventory of Historic Properties."
|(The Carriage House)|
"Cabell Lodge was built by Colonel Henry and Emily Cabell in 1912 and it is located about 200 ft south of the Fiechter House overlooking Cabell Marsh. When originally built, the first story housed the farm manager and his family and the second story was used by the Cabell family during hunting seasons and at other times when they visited the estate."
|(Another Interpretive sign)|
|(Cabell Hunting Lodge)|
"Colonel Cabell bought tracts of land to add to the Fiechter land and eventually amassed two thousand acres. In 1964 the land was purchased from Cabell's son by the US Fish and Wildlife Services as the nucleus of the present National Wildlife Refuge."
We finished walking around the homestead and got back in the car to head further east making our way towards the highway. Troubadour spotted an egret and we pulled over for a photo.
|(Egret - photo by Troubadour)|
|(Zoomed in - Photo by Troubadour)|
|(Hmmm wonder where that leads....)|
|(A floodplain as a national landmark)|
|(More geese coming in to forage)|
|(Way in the distance at the tree line you can see little bumps of brown)|
|(A herd of Roosevelt Elk that live year round at the refuge)|
The wind was blowing so hard across the prairie our fingers were numb and cold within minutes. That was the end of the picture taking for the day. We sprinted back to the car, turned up the heated seats and headed home for a hot cup of coffee.
It was an abrupt ending to the venture but we still had a great day and I am sure we'll go back again and try out some of the other trails.
Thanks for hanging on through the long posts while I wrapped this up.
- Au Revoir
" Life is not long, and too much of it must not pass in idle deliberation how it shall be spent." Samuel Johnson