Travels with the Original Easyrider®
2018 Edition

2018 Blue Mountain Foliage ride
Oregon Ghost Town and Steam Train tour

October 12-13, 2018

With a stop in Sumpter, Oregon

And the Oregon Ghost Towns of
Granite, Oregon
Granite Cemetery
McEwen, Oregon
Lena, Oregon
Vinson, Oregon
Vinson Cemetery

And a visit to the Sumpter Valley Railroad

October 12-13, 2018

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We were out to Sumpter, Oregon in 2014, 2015, 2018

We were out to Granite, Oregon in 2015 and 2018

We were out to Hermiston, Oregon in 2015
Weston, Oregon in 2015
Elgin, Oregon in 2015
Wallowa, Oregon in 2015
Imnaha, Oregon in 2015
Monument, Oregon in 2015
Holdman, Oregon in 2015
Helix, Oregon in 2015
Athena, Oregon in 2015
Enterprise, Oregon in 2015
Kings Corner, Oregon in 2015

We rode the Eagle Cap Excursion Train in Elgin, Oregon in 2015

We rode the Moonlight Express on the Sumpter Valley Railroad in 2015

We had lunch at Hat Rock State Park in 2015
We visited The Blue Banana in Lostine, Oregon in 2015

We ran the length of Hells Canyon in 2015 and also in 2010

We visited the Oregon Ghost Towns of
Fox in 2015
Bourne in 2015
McEwen in 2015
Whitney in 2015
Cornucopia in 2015
Yellow Dog in 2015

Sumpter is a city in Baker County, Oregon, United States. The population
was 204 at the 2010 census. Sumpter is named after Fort Sumter by its
founders. The name was inspired by a rock as smooth and round as a
cannonball, which reminded a local resident of the American Civil War and
Fort Sumter.

Baker County was named for Edward Dickinson Baker, a U.S. Senator from
Oregon who was killed in the Battle of Ball's Bluff during the American
Civil War. Sumpter, first settled by Euro-Americans during this war, was
named after Fort Sumter in the U.S. state of South Carolina. The fort was
often mentioned in war dispatches read by the settlers. An account in the
Baker Democrat–Herald many decades later reported that a round rock found
in the area in the early 1860s had looked to residents like a cannonball
and, reinforced by the war news, had reminded them of Fort Sumter.

In 1883, Joseph D. Young became the first postmaster of Sumpter, and,
according to his grandson, was not allowed by the U.S. Post Office to use
the old name, Sumter. Since freight to the region then depended on pack
mules, Young chose the form Sumpter, which was close to the original
spelling and evoked the term sumpter mule.

The community was platted in 1889, becoming a mining boom town about 10
years later. Until transportation by rail became feasible in the area,
Sumpter was little more than "a huddle of crude log cabins.

A narrow gauge railway reached Sumpter in 1897. Built by David C. Eccles,
the Sumpter Valley Railway (SVR) ran 80 miles from Baker City through
Sumpter and on to Prairie City, which it reached in 1907. Until the line
shut down in the 1930s, ranchers, mining interests, and timber companies
used it to move freight.

Shortly after the SVR arrived, the city expanded near a set of deep-shaft
gold mines with a combined total of 12 miles of tunnels. The population
grew to more than 2,000. Sumpter had electric lights, churches, saloons,
a brewery, sidewalks, three newspapers, and an opera house. However, as
the mines played out, the city declined even before a devastating fire in

Dynamite was used to help put out the fire, which destroyed 12 blocks of
the town's buildings. A few of the surviving structures remain in the 21st
century and are occupied by retail shops.

Sumpter relies heavily on tourism as a source of income. The town's
remaining historic structures, an excursion train that runs along part of
the SVR line, and a state park devoted to an historic gold dredge make
the city a tourist destination.

A 6-mile stretch of the original SVR has been restored and operates on
summer weekends and major holidays from Memorial Day through the end of
September. The excursion line has stations in Sumpter and McEwen. The
Sumpter station and part of the line are within the state park, known as
the Sumpter Valley Dredge State Historic Area. The dredge on display in
the park was the last of three used to mine gold from surface deposits
along the Powder River. It operated here from 1935 through 1954.

In 2013, the area was the location for the reality television show Ghost
Mine. The plot involves a team of people looking for gold and ghosts in
the "Crescent Mine" near Sumpter. According to a Baker City Herald story
picked up by the Associated Press and Portland television station KATU,
most of the filming was done at the Buckeye Mine group near Bourne, about
6 miles north of Sumpter along Cracker Creek.

These images were taken with my Nikon D810 and Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 Planar T*
manual focus lens.

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