By Jane Kirkpatrick
Redmond, OR is at about 3,400 feet of altitude so plan to drink lots of water that will be provided during the conference. All around the resort are rock gardens, horses on pasture, golf courses that give us green even if we aren’t golfers. (I actually sometimes watch the golf channel just to see the green and listen to soft voices while I’m cleaning and what not. I don’t golf. Yes, strange, I know).
I digress. We hope you’ll arrive in time to join us for the High Desert Museum Tour. This facility is about 30 minutes from Eagle Crest Resort where the scenery will shift from hardy juniper trees and sage to tall Ponderosa pines and waxy-leafed Manzanita. The architectural- landscape-friendly buildings are nestled among this timbered paradise that serves as a reminder to how it must have looked when settlers first made their way here in the late 1800s.
The Museum features three interest areas: the outdoor/wildlife exhibits that include an otter pond that brings adults and kids alike to view this mammal’s life beneath the surface. History and science combine. A period settler house is hosted by passionate docents willing to answer questions. Raptor presentations happen frequently throughout the day both inside the facility and in those great outdoors. Inside there are two wings, one featuring a Native American exhibit with history and artful stories brought to life with video, basketry, and written insights of plateau Indian culture.
The third interest area includes a living history that allows visitors to walk through time and experience native culture, mining, the impact of the Chinese, logging, cattle and sheep ranching and the challenges of high desert living. Changing exhibits of art are also a part of this fascinating museum.
After we leave the Museum, we’ll head for a shorter stop at Atelier 6000, a unique gallery that “emphasizes 21st-century multimedia approach to contemporary printmaking and book arts while preserving and honoring traditional processes dating back to the 15th Century. It’s a bibliophile’s dream site! We’ll chat with artists/authors working on unique art books. WWW’s Ellie Waterston will spend a few minutes sharing her experience with her wonderful art book Ví a Láctea written by Ellie, illustrated by Ron Schultz and hand-printed by Atelier 6000 and Lone Goose Press. We’ll learn about the history of art books as well.
Then it’s off to the Old Mill District of beautiful Bend. This mall and outdoor museum (of sorts) allows for a river walk along the Deschutes River, provides periodic history of the area including the site once being one of the largest lumber mill operations in the state and how it was reclaimed for this use by one man’s vision of what it could become. Lunch on your own and we head back to the conference.
We hope you’ll join us Friday morning. We’re counting on 45 making this choice for Friday morning. This year we also offered a Sunday morning tour. Yes, there will have to be a choice because we’re also providing two terrific workshops for those who do not choose the tour. But isn’t that what writing is all about, making those choices? We’ll highlight those workshops at a later post.
For now, we want you to hear about the tour to the Imperial Stock Ranch, the oldest working sheep and cattle ranch in continuous operation in Oregon. The ranch owners once ran their sheep to the summer pastures along the Deschutes River where members will enjoy their Friday tour lunch and shopping! The original owners, the Hintons, developed a unique breed of sheep called the Columbia and the sheep had grazing from the Columbia River to what is now the resort community of Sunriver, about 15 miles south of the High Desert Museum.
We’ll leave Eagle Crest resort early in the morning (8:30) and head through Smith Rock Park which is a premier rock-climbing center of the country with the Crooked River running through it. We’ll cross the Crooked River and head north toward the ghost town of Shaniko that in the late 1800s was the largest wool shipping center on the west coast. The Imperial Stock Ranch isn’t far from there, in a ravine that opens up to reveal the ranch headquarters. Dan and Jeanne Carver are the second owners not part of the original family.
The ranch itself is on the National Register of Historic Sites thanks to Jeanne’s passion for history and tradition and the importance of the ranching life. She’ll share that passion as we visit the sheep barns, talk about the cattle operation, hear how they’ve diversified into to lamb-meat production for state-wide restaurants and have a booming yarn business. The latter included providing yarn for Ralph Lauren’s Olympic sweaters last year. There’ll even be a bit of a fashion discussion as the Imperial Stock ranch has a line of designer wool clothing that wowed guests at Portland’s Fashion Week. A box lunch will energize us for the trip back to the resort and evening flight departures or perhaps more relaxing on the high desert.
Register now at http://womenwritingthewest.org/