My personal perspective

Terwilliger Hot Spring is great.  Rather than fight its popularity, the forest service helps to maintain the spring.  A day use fee helps pay for cleaning and upkeep.

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Image taken 2000

See Cougar Dam

Terwilliger has a high flow rate so the water is quite pure; not as stagnate as other hot springs.  One meets lots of interesting people there.  As I ride, I am in solitude, much of the way, so I enjoy the socialization of the spring. 

There are many good looking naked men there; I notice that being a gay man myself.  Most of the people are not gay, but people tend to be mellow and fairly open minded at places like this.  There are both men and women at the spring.  Even if one were totally blind, and couldn't see all the attractive people, the conversations, around the pools, are far more interesting than what one would likely hear in a bar. 

One of the attractive people, I met, was a young city council person from back east.  He was out west visiting friends.  Too bad he was just leaving as I got there, but it's all in the role of the dice.  There were many other interesting people and topics tumbling around in the fresh air.

It seems easy to join in to any of several conversations taking place around the pools.  Find out where people have been traveling, who is planning to move to Oregon, what someone thinks of their career plans, why someone decided to quit their high profile computer job. 

I even met someone from Bellingham there; someone I haven't seen since even though he lives near me.  Interesting how one can meet at a hot spring, but not in normal life.


Image taken 2002.
Above photo taken early in morning before most folks arrived.  Several descending pools of which two are shown here.  Choose your temperature.  Photo doesn't do justice to this nice spring, but you get the idea.

One of the best hot springs I have been to.  Created by a small river that flows through a lava tube it has a large through put of water.  The high water volume makes it clean even though it is quite popular.  Water temperature varies depending on which pool one chooses to sit in as the spring mixes with cooler water farther from the source.


2002
Water fall near hot springs.  Spring is up in forests at the top of the falls. 

From my letters in Bellingham Herald, late 1990s

Call it Nudeworking instead of Networking 

The Whatcom County Council was foolish when it voted to ban nude sunbathing at Teddy Bear Cove near Bellingham.  In this fast-paced society; nude beaches could be replacing the corner store as the place where people stop and visit. 

When I was on a bicycle trip around Washington and Oregon; last summer; I found that nude hot springs and saunas were among the best spots to visit with local people.  At times they seemed like the only places where conversation was longer than the quick "thank you" after something is sold at a cash register. 

Near Eugene; Ore. I visited a wonderful place called Terwilliger Hot Spring.  It is jointly maintained by the U.S. Forest service and a volunteer citizen group called "Friends of the Hot Spring."

At times it seemed like the only place I got to see people outside their automobiles.  Friendly visits at the spring gave me a better feel for the people of that area than I would have received if all I had seen of the people was their cars zipping past me on the road all day. 

Instead of networking; this experience could be called "nudeworking."

It was great bicycle peddling for 55 miles through mostly old growth forest along FS route 19.  The Robert Aufderheide scenic byway goes between Highway 58, near Oakridge,  and the Mckenzie Highway east of Eugene, OR.  Past Terwilliger.


On a bike, one does meet lots of friendly people along the way.  After visiting the spring, I headed down the Mckenzie River toward Eugene.  Stopping at this cafe, with a nice deck out over the river, I met these friendly river rafters.  Everyone in the cafe seemed interested in my trip.

Out the McKenzie Highway, just east of Eugene, Oregon, is Cougar Dam.  It is a tall "earthen fill" dam.  Scroll down to see earthen fill structure.


Looking downstream, powerhouse below.


Looking south from top of Cougar Dam at reservoir.  Cougar Dam is located several miles south of the Mckenzie Highway east of Eugene Oregon.


Face of Cougar Dam


Sparks drop as welders work on water intake flange at Cougar Dam in 2002.  Scaffold is suspended hundreds of feet up on intake tower as reservoir is drained dry for work on the dam.  Not a job for someone with acrophobia, especially when the scaffold gets caught up on a rough spot, while lowering, so one end starts to drop below other end.  I hear a workman yell "Woo!" as they even out the scaffold again.

Exposed water intake tower behind cougar dam is several hundred feet tall.  Reservoir is empty as they work on intake.  They were enlarging flanges on intake tower so powerhouse could be run on just one of the 4.  This way they could choose how deep in the lake to get the water from.  Regulating downstream temperature for fish.

Looking down toward mostly drained cougar reservoir.

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