A Wilderness Home in Oregon

This view is looking south from our front patio. The mountains are part of the Red Buttes Wilderness area of Northern California. The whole area is being proposed for national monument status because of its beauty and biodiversity.

Our son Tony, his wife Cammie, the two-year old Connor and the nine-month-old Christopher just completed a visit to our new mountain home in Oregon. It was obvious they loved it.

They also liked the historic community of Jacksonville. In fact Cammie raved about the town. I was surprised, however, when she asked Peggy why we hadn’t chosen to live there instead of at our more rural retreat in Applegate Valley.

A view of Jacksonville's main street. My barber, Ed McBee, has his shop on the right.

On one level, I understand the question. It is great to have good restaurants, cultural opportunities such as the Britt Festival, a library, a variety of shops and a grocery store all within walking distance. Finding such a place is rare in our world of urban sprawl.

My ancestors apparently liked the community; I have Great Grandparents buried in the cemetery overlooking the town and a related family, the Colvigs, owned a home there that is now on the National Historic Registry.

But there are also inherent values connected to living in the woods. Peggy quickly related them to Cammie and assured her that I hadn’t forced my lovely wife into a world of isolation. (Jacksonville is only a short 30-minute commute away from our home plus it is a beautiful drive. There are no clogged freeways.)

The view looking westward from our front patio toward the Pacific Ocean.

I was thinking about Cammie’s comments last night as I stood outside our house and looked up at the Milky Way. It’s a view you rarely get in urban areas or even small communities. The bright lights and pollution hide the stars. I could hear the Applegate River rushing by the front of our home and some small animal rustling around in the bushes behind me.

One of the deer that Connor visited who is interested in any garden Peggy may plant.

Earlier in the day I had given Connor a wheelbarrow ride up to the back of our property so he could say ‘bye-bye’ to the deer that hang out there. He’d been up to visit them several times. The herd comes down from the Rogue National Forest that forms our back property line. They are eager for Peggy to put in a garden.

Connor also waved goodbye to the swing that Tony and I had put up for him in a White Oak.

We had carefully surveyed our property looking for the perfect swing tree and a future tree house site. With over a hundred White Oaks on our five acres plus Douglas Fir, Red Cedar, Ponderosa Pines and Madrones there are numerous options.

Don’t get me wrong about Jacksonville, we could live there quite easily and may someday.  But for now, our retreat in the woods with its beautiful views, abundant wildlife, national forest and rushing river is exactly where we want to be. It’s a place that we are eager to share with family, friends and children.

And it is a place where our grandchildren can come and wander through the woods to their heart’s content. It was this freedom and the introduction to wilderness that I loved most about growing up in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. I can’t think of a better gift to give to our newest generation.

A view of the Applegate River just down from our property.

A side view of our house looking toward front patio.

While we haven't been snowed in, we have seen a fair amount of snow this past week as demonstrated by one of our Red Cedars.

A distant Peggy stands in the middle of our White Oak forest, points to our distant house and says "mine."

Behind this sign at the back of our property are 1.8 million acres of National Forest. I consider this photo one of the most scenic I have ever taken.

One of the reasons we bought our mountain retreat is so our grandchildren Christopher and Connor and their cousins Ethan and Cody can grow up playing in the woods and learning to appreciate the value of protecting America's great wilderness areas.

6 comments on “A Wilderness Home in Oregon

    • For those of you who don’t know the story, Peggy was tied up with our kids in Hendersonville, Tn. when I came out to look at the property and decided to buy. I was pretty sure I knew what Peggy would like but wasn’t totally sure until we drove down our long driveway and Peggy fell in love with the house, property and location. Whew!

  1. Hey, now! I was misrepresented!! I may have liked Jacksonville, but if I had your choices, I wouldn’t have picked living in town either (nor did I wonder for a second why you chose to live farther out!). Just to make that clear… I’ll assume you just changed my views for the sake of a better story… 😉
    Thanks again for a lovely visit!!

  2. Curt and Peggy, I’m enjoying your blog. I found it while searching for images for a project I’m working on. I’m wondering if you would consider licensing the mountain photo above for use on the web site of an Oregon University prof? Sorry for asking this in a comment; I couldn’t find a contact link on your site.

    Thanks and feel free to delete this comment.

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