Shearar's Road, West of Shearar's Bridge
We have covered the section of the Shearar’s road East of the bridge pretty extensively but have visited little of the road to the West. This section of the road follows a creek bed, and this makes exploring it unique among other wagon roads we’ve visited. Since closely follows the creek, it not only washed out and was rebuilt many times during its use, it also has been subject to erosion and flooding since its abandonment. It is also overgrown with sagebrush and willows. Various phases of construction and rebuilding follow slightly different routes and the result is a braided series of short sections of roadbed, seemingly going every which way, and often ending in a thicket of brush or in the creek itself. Even so, the journey up this section of the road is such that you can find rockpile grading, rocks piled to the side, clear evidence of road grading and probably blasting to flatten the grade, and even the rockpile abutments of a small bridge that crosses the stream.
The journey starts at the large culvert just South of Shearar’s bridge along
highway 216. As we hiked this area there was quite a bit of water flowing through
the normally dry culvert, the area being under high water conditions and the
nearby Deschutes River running high enough so that Shearar’s falls were reduced
to a large rapid. As we head up the canyon the rockpile walls are clearly visible.
We only hiked about ½ mile up the canyon, but there are many sections
of the old road that can be seen and the area is very pristine and quiet. The
only sounds being the trickle of the creek and the occasional echo of passing
trains at the bottom of the canyon.
Copyright 2004-2006 Garrett J. Keeton.
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