Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Take a Hike - Part Duex

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)

(Got 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."

(Fiechter Barn)

"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)

A little further beyond Turtle Flats (no we didn't see any turtles) and almost at the end of the road we found a parking lot at Prairie Overlook.

(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


  1. Trobairitz:

    I like historic places too. As you looked into the windows I often imagine the former residents in there and what they were doing.

    We have snow geese down near the Reifel Bird Sanctuary, but they are white and considered a nuisance, and they really know how to honk

    Riding the Wet Coast
    My Flickr // My YouTube

    1. Looking in the windows just made me wish the doors weren't locked. WOuld have been cool to wander around the house. I enjoy the old historical buildings.

      These geese aren't snowy but they can be a nuisance to farmers when they take over a field. They don't always stick to the refuge.

  2. Trobairitz...
    That was a great ride. Isn't it grand that we can, with a relatively short ride, visit some spectacular places?
    What's really interesting is that the houses would fit right in here in Maine. Especially the carriage house.

    We have those little buggers here too..... Funny, but most here call them Canadian geese. Last few years they've arrived here on their way south and then decided that Maine was far enough south (besides, aren't we a vacationland state?) and spent the winter with us.

    Great photos - as usual...
    Ciao... Mike.

    1. Sometimes it is amazing how much we can see when sticking close to home. Most of the geese are Canadian geese, but there are other varieties that come and go too.

  3. Trobairitz, such a nice mix of a rural beauty and history. You are fortunate to live in a place that seems to be surrounded with them.

    1. Thank you sir. I think there is a reason Corvallis means Heart of the Valley. Sometimes it is hard to imagine living anywhere else.

      Then the dampness and cold sets in...........

  4. Really nice area and pictures. I really like the look of the carriage house and who doesn't like barns. The location in Fairbanks that has a huge white barn that looked similar to the one in your last post, is a bird sanctuary with the fields filled with geese during migration periods. In the spring, they clear the snow from the fields and scatter food for the migrating birds and the arrival of the first goose defines the beginning of Spring for many folks.

    (I guess I shouldn't say geese, yumm!)

    1. So the geese are going from Alaska to the Willamette Valley just like the sign said. Go figure. I think it is neat that the arrival of geese signifies Spring. In BC it used to be seeing Robins we'd know it was Spring. In Corvallis we have robins all year long so that doesn't work.

      We know it is Spring when the rains return. Oh wait, that's Winter. No, wait, that is Autumn.....

  5. Ooohhh, love those old buildings. You did a great job capturing them. The cacophony of geese is hard to describe unless you have experienced it. Those masses of birds are LOUD!

    1. Thanks Kathy. Some days I think I was born many years too late when I look at my love of old historical building and historical novels.

  6. wow that is a lot of geese in your first pictures!
    love your ending, it's so true!
    " Life is not long, and too much of it must not pass in idle deliberation how it shall be spent." Samuel Johnson

    1. That was a lot of geese. I didn't even try to count them.

      I liked the quote too. Too often do we sit around wonder what we should do. We just need to get out and do something.

  7. Like Mike in Maine, here in Missouri we have geese year round. And, yes, they can be a nuisance. That said, it is always neat when traffic stops for a goose and goslings to cross the road. It reminds me how caring most folk are.

    I loved the photos through the windows. And, wow, what a life Cynthia had!

    Thanks as always,

    1. I too enjoy it when traffic stops for ducks or squirrels or other furry/feathered creatures.

      Cynthia after selling the property moved into Corvallis where she lived to be 90.

  8. The barn and hunting lodge are just beautiful. What a wonderful area.

    1. It is a pretty area. Now we need to go back and explore some of the other trails.

  9. I was thinking, 'that could be New Brunswick or Nova Scotia', then I read Mikes comment re Maine, so there we have it, a consensus! Happy Christmas from over here in waterlogged Britain.

    1. It is funny to think that our area looks so much like the east coast of North America.

      Merry christmas to you and your family Geoff, from a waterlogged Oregon. I am hoping the rains will stop soon, but I'm not holding my breath.

  10. I could have sworn you were in that house taking pictures, and not taking them through windows. Impressive. I'm amazed at the volume of geese!! Though we get those pods here. We still have a few floating around, but I think they are gone for a couple months.

    1. It was quite dark in that house Lori and I didn't really expect the pics to turn out. Luckily the little Canon camera has a feature that will help lighten a dark area. I didn't use flash but it picked the right mode when using auto. Works for me.

      We have so many geese in these parts right now. Most will go back to Canada but not for a few months.