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Monday, July 31, 2017

The Sumpter Smelter

It seems like every week now ...I find myself exploring the
 Blue Mountains of Eastern Oregon.
A new adventure awaits on a new trail, mountain or canyon.
The mountains are rich in mining history, wildlife, and geology.
Last weekend I visited the site of the Sumpter Smelter.
Below is an article from Oregon Department of  Geology about the smelter.

The view at the site was also a major bonus!
The Blue Mountains has an area of 4,060 square miles, stretching east and southeast of
 Pendleton, Oregon,
to the Snake River along the Idaho border.
The range is part of the larger rugged Columbia River Plateau.
The highest peaks in the range include the Elkhorn Mountains at 9108 feet, 
Strawberry Mountains at 9,038 feet and Mount Ireland at 8,304 Feet.
Last month I completed all three of these peaks!

When you arrive at the smelter you are first taken back by the ground beneath you.
It is littered with thousands of chard leftover from the melting of quartz.

The heat must have been intense in the smelter to create such magnificent results.
Bricks leftover from the building also are everywhere.
The Sumpter Brick Company provided the entire area with bricks.
You can see names that are worn tired on some of them.

The old railroad path is clearly visible. 
I want to go back and see how far the path leads...and where!
As I was standing right here ..the sound of the
 historic Sumpter Railroad blew its whistle down below the mountain!
I instantly felt like I had been taken back in time!

Parts of the structure itself was higher up.
Below you can see the corner stone rounds that have fallen.
The stone was chipped into rounds to support the bricks.

Here you can see some of  the round stone holding part of the structure.
Hours of tedious construction and labor.

Higher up the mountain another wall exists of stone. 
Each stone had been carefully placed and carried!
Just like the bricks.....Carried UP THE MOUNTAIN!
The stone wall is approximately 30 feet tall.

 What a fascinating place.
I was pleased to find information on this wonderful historic site at
The Elk Horn Range is shown in the distance of the photo below.
You can see how high the smelter is from the valley floor.
I will return again..the history is overflowing.
What adventure is next? Only the road knows...
Have a wonderful evening everyone!
Find an adventure!
Your Artist Friend in the Wilds!
Jennifer & Max