Leaves of Knowledge/Chapter 10

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
 

THE COLUMBIA RIVER AND PULLMAN


CHAPTER X.

The Columbia River and Pullman.

I spent three weeks, including a very pleasant Christmas, at Astoria, where the roses bloom out of doors the year around, a friend bringing me a beautiful bouquet she had picked in her yard the evening before I left. I spent my New Year festivities at Albany, and a new one on me was to see bands of sheep grazing in the large fields of winter wheat. I thought the good-natured farmers had forgotten to put up their fences, but was informed by a friend that this was customary, and if not done, the growth would be so great that there would be an abundance of straw, with less return of wheat. After a short sojourn here I went back to Portland, starting east over the Oregon Railway & Navigation to Hood river. Here one can agreeably stop for a few days, for there is a romanticism in its very air. Lifting my eyes aloft, I viewed the encircling hills that nature has placed there to make this valley a paradise. Fruit is grown here on an extensive scale. Strawberries, cherries, apples and prunes are nature's favorites, and she bestows a lavish care on them. I had the pleasure of meeting a friend of my girlhood days, whose home is here, and he made it very pleasant for me, taking me for a drive around the block, a distance of eight miles, through the fruit section. The strawberries are renowned on account of their being so delicious and hardy. The same may be said of their other fruits, which consequently stand shipment to foreign ports, as well as all over the continent. This makes the town a busy market during the summer season, crowded with fruit buyers, owners and pickers.

From here I pass on to The Dalles, where boats ply on the Columbia river to Portland and Astoria. This is an important shipping point for wool, sheep, horses and cattle from Central Oregon and Washington.

I pass Celilo Falls to Biggs, which is the junction for the railroad that extends to Central Oregon at Shaniko, with the Towns of Wasco and Moro on the line, and the town of Prineville further inland, in the stock country.

North of the Columbia river, on the Washington side, is the town of Goldendale, in the center of an agricultural and stock country.

I made a short stop at Arlington. Near here is Heppner Junction, where a branch extends to Ione and Heppner, and with Condon and Fossil have extensive stock ranges, making shipments at Arlington from both sides of the Columbia river. I take the train, following the river, pass Umatilla to Wallula, where I change cars and go to Walla Walla, Washington.

After a pleasant sojourn here, renewing old acquaintances, I go on to that stirring and enterprising town of Pullman, where the State Agricultural College is located. I learned there were students in attendance, not only from their own state, but from other western states. Pullman has the advantage of not only the Oregon Railway & Navigation Company, but the Northern Pacific Railroad as well, which makes it a leading commercial wheat shipping section for the Palouse country. The atmosphere is healthful, bright and clear, and the soil is of the richest black loam.

Writing of Pullman brings to my mind the drive I had from the hotel to the depot, on my first trip here. Mac came in my room and told me he had decided to take the morning train, due in ten minutes, for Spokane, and pity me; I had two trunks, besides two grips to pack. I will say right here, our clothes did not get folded between tissue paper that time. The help came right up to my room, and while they were taking down the first trunk we packed the second. I being the only lady, with a dozen traveling men, we started for the depot. Nearing there a freight train came on the track and for a moment it looked as if we would be delayed, and when it had passed on, the buses from the two hotels began to race their horses, running at full speed, with wheels almost locked, to see who would get in place first. Mac had rushed on ahead to check trunks, and, seeing the race was standing with open arms to pick me up out of the wreck, but we did not have any, and made our train in time.