Home Features Baker County Travel Get out into a world of fall color
Get out into a world of fall color
By MARK FURMAN
Of the Baker City Herald
It's the latter half of the useful saying for daylight-saving time that begins, "Spring forward ..."
And it's good advice, period.
If you haven't yet reveled in autumn's transient colors, it's time to fall back from whatever affairs distracted you from the world outside.
Lace up your best walking shoes or throw a leg over your bike for what could be your last ride before the snow blows in.
Or resurrect the Sunday drive: Get out of town, but don't go anywhere in particular.
Here's our advice for enjoying the best of Baker County's autumn delights.
WALK & ROLL: North of Campbell Street, the Leo Adler Memorial Parkway winds through woodsy neighborhoods and near the primeval-feeling Boys Jungle. Begin with the grove in Geiser Pollman Park and head north along the path through cottonwoods gone goldenrod in the fall sunshine.
For a longer walk or leisurely bike ride, don't forget the parkway works its way south of Campbell in fits and starts. You can make your way to the trees of Wade Williams Field off Myrtle Street and maximize your leaf peeping by taking Grove Street south from Geiser Pollman to Washington Street, then west to where the parkway resumes next to Baker Garage. At Elm Street, cross to Old Post Office Square and continue south along Dewey Avenue, pausing to marvel at the old oaks in front of the Howlett home that were spared during Dewey's reconstruction. At Myrtle, head east to the park.
If you want to take in the scenery and raise money for a good cause, the Eastern Oregon Chapter of the American Red Cross will hold a benefit walkathon Saturday on the Adler parkway beginning at 9:30 a.m. at Geiser Pollman Park. Walkers may register at the park at 8:45 a.m.
RIDE: Bicyclists are partial to two wheels over four, or even their own two feet. Fall is the sort of season that reinforces that bias, when fall colors and snow-kissed peaks frame pastoral scenes of cows, sheep, horses even llamas lolling in their fields.
At a leisurely 15 mph or a brisk 20, a bike brings you to the color in the trees and puts a little of the same in your cheeks.
In the Baker Valley, Pocahontas Road and Old Hwy. 30 bookend some of the best road cycling in Oregon. Head west towards the Elkhorns through farmers' fields and past a glorious grove of trees near Brown Road. Turning at Old Wingville, Brown or Wingville and returning by the Old Highway are rides anyone who can pedal for two hours can accomplish between 15 and 20 miles.
For the seasoned pedaler not yet ready to retire for the winter, the completion of the Anthony Lakes Highway puts the "Baker City Fifty" back on the map. Follow Pocahontas north through the valley and continue as it becomes the Anthony Lakes Highway. Take River Road into North Powder and return to town (with a tailwind, if you're lucky) the 20 miles along Highway 30.
DRIVE: The Elkhorn Scenic Loop, at just over 100 miles, could be the best after-church Sunday drive in America thanks to that curious deciduous "evergreen" known as the Western larch or tamarack. This time of year, the flanks of the Elkhorns light up like a U of O cheering section as the tamaracks during a bright yellow to the green of the Douglas-firs and pines around them.
Easily completed in an afternoon, the loop also puts you in Sumpter or Haines late in the drive and just in time for a brunch or dinner at a restaurant there, or back in Baker City.
The route follows Hwy. 30 north to Haines, then west to the Anthony Lakes Highway. Follow this newly-paved road to the base of the Elkhorns, then climb through a cathedral of yellow, green and granite to Anthony Lakes at 7,100 feet (snow has already fallen there and receded several times this fall). The road continues to Ukiah junction; head south to Granite and Sumpter, then follow Hwy. 7 back to Baker City. The route is equally spectacular when done clockwise or counterclockwise.