Off The Grid In The Ancient Forest

I’m here at Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center for the weekend, off the electricity grid, yet wi-fied onto the Internet grid. A huge snowdrift (it was a hard winter) blocks half my view out the window of the lodge. But it and pretty much all the snow in Oregon is melting fast with the sudden warm weather. Hence, Opal Creek, its sister Battleaxe Creek and the fork of the Santiam River that they flow into are all engorged, flowing so fast and wild they remind me nature is the one in control, not us humans.

Opal Creek

It’s water-flow that turns the Pelton wheel that powers this little village of Jawbone Flats, along with solar panels installed a year ago by PGE. I can’t tell you how much I love being here. It does take some effort — you have to hike (I mostly jog) the 2.5 mile dirt road in to Jawbone from the little dirt parking lot. The staff will take your sleeping bag, etc. in on a gear shuttle, and they’ll take you too if you can’t walk it. Electricity is down for the moment and so is my battery, so I’ll go ahead and post ‘prematurely.’


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