Saturday, January 27, 2018

A Bit of history: First Woman to Hike the Pacific Crest through Oregon

This article is reprinted from Morning Oregonian,  Portland, September 26, 1910, page 13

Mrs. W. E. Herring, of Portland, with Husband Is First to Make Journey.
Government Engineer Completes Journey--
Valuable Water Power Found in Mountains May Be Harnessed.

    MEDFORD, Or., Sept. 25.--(Special.)--Mr. and Mrs. W. E. Herring, of Portland, have arrived in Medford after a 600-mile tramp along the summit of the Cascades. Mrs. Herring is the first woman ever to make this trip. Mr. Herring is District Government Engineer. In his tramp he examined all the lakes and streams as to their adaptability to power and irrigation uses.
    The journey was begun in the Cascades east of Portland in the middle of July and was completed in Medford yesterday.
    Mrs. Herring made this trip almost entirely on foot. She and her husband went for miles across country where no trails existed.

Candles Not Needed.
    The two months that Mr. and Mrs. Herring were in the mountains they never lighted a candle but went to bed with the sun. They carried no tent, but slept beneath the open sky.
    The engineer and his wife traveled through two snow fields at the altitudes of 7100 and 7500, respectively. The latter snow field was near Crater Lake. At Diamond Lake they found ice on August 16.
    They saw numerous deer and bear, but as Mr. Herring carried no gun he killed no game. His compass and aneroid barometer occupied his attentions. When crossing trout streams they would stop a few minutes to catch a mess.
    The order of day was to break camp at sunrise and walk until evening, covering 18 to 20 miles per day. Mr. Herring made numerous side trips, aggregating 400 miles.

Forest Fires Observed.
    As they came south, the couple passed four forest fires. They arrived at Prospect in time to see the fire which raged across the Rogue River. This was the most destructive fire in Southern Oregon.
    For two weeks Mr. and Mrs. Herring stayed in this fire district. Mr. Herring aided in the efforts of the firefighters.
    Speaking of the trip, Mr. Herring stated: "We found an immense amount of horsepower stored in the rivers, but were somewhat disappointed in regard to the possibilities of the lakes as storage reservoirs. Most of the outlets are too wide to make damming practicable. The outlets, however, of several of the large lakes are narrow and will make good storage reservoirs. The storage of water is very necessary both to power and irrigation projects. If enough water can be stored to keep a plant running to full capacity during the dry season, which in this country last 100 days, a great saving can be effected.

Storage Is Necessary.
    "The value of storing water for irrigation is apparent. The reservoir sites are so high up in the mountains that the only feasible way would be to let the stored water run down the natural channels during the dry months.
    "The possibilities of power development along the Cascades have not been touched upon. There can, of course, be no development of power plants until there is a market for the power. In Southern Oregon a small portion of the power could be put to good use pumping water for irrigation. In the San Joaquin Valley 430 motors are used to pump water from the river and its branches for irrigation purposes."

Other Trip Contemplated.
    Next Tuesday Mr. and Mrs. Herring leave for another journey through the mountains. Herring is going to look for power sites along Sucker Creek to the Illinois River, down it to the Rogue and on to the ocean. He will also investigate the possibility of opening a safe trail to the famous Oregon Caves out from Grants Pass.
    Mr. Herring desires also to find a route for a trail down the Rogue River that will connect Grants Pass with the tidelands. He couple will finish their trip by October 15, at which time they will return to Portland, where Mr. Herring will make an extensive report of this trip.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, September 26, 1910, page 13

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