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ghcoe
10-17-2007, 03:30 PM
Went to see if the Waterwheel was above water, but it was not. Found other interesting things though.

Some info on the waterwheel.
http://www.geocities.com/~cowpokinfun/waterwheel.htm


http://i136.photobucket.com/albums/q165/ghcoe/WatsonLakeOwyhee027.jpg



http://i136.photobucket.com/albums/q165/ghcoe/WatsonLakeOwyhee047.jpg

http://i136.photobucket.com/albums/q165/ghcoe/WatsonLakeOwyhee059.jpg


Hope this wets the appetite.

speedy
10-19-2007, 05:35 AM
Thanks for the pics, Gearge....Speedy

docsma
10-21-2007, 05:11 AM
Hey there George, great pics of Watson area remnants. I love that whole E Oregon area expecially along the Owyhee. My understanding is that there were several waterwheels stretching as far as from the E Fork to at least one below the dam. The one at Birch Creek is still hangin on (literally). Tried to get to Watson from the S side in my old Cherokee last year but got chased out by a rainstorm. Got back to the top just in time to get hit hard with it and muck and slide on to better roads. By your photos, it looks like you might have gone in by boat. Have you ever gone in from the NW side of the reservoir on those roads. I've thought of walking in to the cemetery from the Tongue side, but I've got too many years on these old knees. I'm gettin tired of kickin snakes too. Anyway, great photos, glad to know there are others that find Malheur country great!

ghcoe
10-21-2007, 06:32 AM
Hi docsma,

Glad you injoyed the pictures. I drove in from the east side in August of last year (2006). The road was not that bad at the top so I thought it was going to be a cake walk. Wrong! The road got steadily worse as I got closer to the bottom. Every time I thought that I was through the worst of it it was worse 100 feet farther down. By time I was half way down I figured it was all or nothing. The area is very isolated even today, makes you wonder what it was like a hundred years ago. Had to have been hardy souls that lived there. I conversed with the gal that owns the website metioned above and she sent me a map of the old ranches from the dam up. I would imagine that most had waterwheels.

http://i136.photobucket.com/albums/q165/ghcoe/WatsonLakeOwyhee019.jpg

The hike to the cemetary is about 2 miles from the closes place you can drive. I found the foundations along side the reservoir. they were quite substantial buildings. Made me wounder how they got the stone in there. The hike to the cemetary was a rocky one but did not have to kick any snakes! Did not see a snake the whole trip. By the way there is a hot springs not to far from the cemetary. Great for bad knees!
http://i136.photobucket.com/albums/q165/ghcoe/WatsonLakeOwyhee050.jpg

Love the Malhure, Harney, Owyhee area. Lots of great places to see, natural and man made!

docsma
10-21-2007, 03:20 PM
Thanks for posting more pictures. I can recognize that that's the same road that I turned around on. You're right, it just gets rougher and rougher. My rig usually gets me about anywhere I want. And if it doesn't, I'm happy to get out and walk the rest. But not when there's that wet Owyhee gumbo. I'd loved to have seen the communities and ranches along the river before the dam. Think that Owyhee Historical Society Library/Bookstore has a short oral history volume that some of the old-timers from some of those ranches put together some time back. That should be interesting. I remember looking at that website you mention a few months ago. Real interesting. Yep, most of my kicking around is in Malheur Co, or Owyhee Co. There's plenty of natural beauty to see. Often Indian pictographs, or old homesteads. I love digging into what history can be found. Maybe next spring or summer I can get to the bottom of that road. My rig is sitting a little higher now and has better tires. Had one day out that way a couple of years ago that was a two-flat day. Second one went all the way down as I pulled into the driveway. Makes you count your blessings! Later.....docsma (Don) When I get more time I'll try to post a picture or two.

Gravelrash
10-21-2007, 04:16 PM
ghcoe - I really enjoyed http://www.geocities.com/~cowpokinfun/waterwheel.htm
Great site with great links. Many thanks.

ghcoe
10-22-2007, 01:04 PM
http://i136.photobucket.com/albums/q165/ghcoe/OwyheeRiverWatson-1.jpg
ghcoe - I really enjoyed http://www.geocities.com/~cowpokinfun/waterwheel.htm
Great site with great links. Many thanks.

Your welcome. Good to share good information.

The gal that owns the sight was quite helpful in the history of Watson. She mentioned that they use to have Watson resident reunions well into the '70s and did mention the book some put together.

Here is a map she sent me. Hard to believe that there was that many people living up that canyon then. By the way did you know that when they built the Owyee Dam it was the tallest dam in the world?

docsma
10-24-2007, 12:22 PM
Thanks for sharing the map. It's great. I want to sometime hike downstream from Birch Creek to the Island Ranch that's on the map. Guess there was/is a waterwheel there too. Yeah, I think I did read that the dam was the highest in the world at that time. They put a lot of work into making those long tunnels and siphons to get the water out of there too.

docsma
10-24-2007, 06:43 PM
This wheel at Birch Creek is above slack water 3 or 4 miles or so. It's better seen from the other side of the river, I'm sure. It's at the Morrison/Pinnacle Ranch. That ranch is on the National Registry of Historical Places and well worth the time to see if you haven't yet. It's pretty easy to get into when it's dry. Unfortunately it's illegal to drive downstream from there to see Watson. Raft it or walk it on this stretch. Protected river corridor and all.....Beautiful hole in the ground, as they say. Saw a bunch of river otters playing there last Oct. Great stuff!

ghcoe
10-24-2007, 08:26 PM
I haven't made it down to Birch Creek yet. I hope to maybe this year. I have so many places that I want to go it is hard to figure out which one next. Just picked up a ATV so now that opens up a whole new can of worms.

SaraL
01-25-2008, 06:49 PM
Thanks for sharing. We spend a lot of time in that area, but always on the other side of the river. Here is a look to some of my pictures. This is at the Griffin Ranch up river from Watson.

http://outdoors.webshots.com/photo/2921799620079750490XvKZnY?vhost=outdoors

Washco
01-31-2008, 05:41 PM
This sounds like a cool place to go although I dont see it listed as a ghost town in Malheur Co. How do you get there?

Agatex
09-16-2008, 07:43 AM
This sounds like a cool place to go although I dont see it listed as a ghost town in Malheur Co. How do you get there?

The old Watson townsite is located north of Jordan Craters. Follow this link:

http://idahoatv.org/BBS/viewtopic.php?t=237


According to my information, Watson is spread out along the Owyhee River upstream from waypoint #11 on the map including the bend of the river.

I am going to do some extensive exploration next Spring in this area and should have some GPS coordinates to post.

rockme
09-18-2008, 02:21 PM
I am a newbie to this forum, but I am delighted to find other folks who enjoy exploring remote parts of the Owyhees. Hope to visit the cemetary. It looks like someone does at least minimal maintenance on it?

docsma
09-25-2008, 03:47 PM
Some photos of the Watson area to add to those that George posted. Also a thanks to SaraL for her great pics. I need to spend more time on that side of the river. Never enough time. These attached pictures are of the upper Owyhee Reservoir & the Watson site from the rim, the waterwheel at Island Ranch, ranch buildings and one of a root cellar. Island Ranch is a suburb a couple of miles upstream from Watson. For those who don't know, eastern Oregon is famous for its rocks. Check out the lava in the one photo! Access is from either the west or east side of the reservoir (ATV or Jeep). The water was low enough this fall that we could go in from the east and out on the west. Lots of fun. Next time will camp a couple of days and take a closer look. Didn't make the walk to the cemetery but hope to next time. Time time, never enough time. Long live the ghost town and abandoned homesteads! You gotta love 'em!

Tommyknocker
09-25-2008, 08:00 PM
Looks like a very interesting spot...thanks for sharing!:o

speedy
09-26-2008, 05:30 AM
Really great pics, thanks for posting them.......Speedy

ghcoe
01-10-2009, 11:57 AM
Wow, been a while since I have checked on the post. Cool new pictures. See ya out there.....

shuffman
03-13-2010, 01:25 PM
I have family buried in the cemetary in Watson, my ancestors used to run the place called Spring Creek Place and I am trying to find a map to get in there either by vehicle or atv

Agatex
03-13-2010, 04:20 PM
I have family buried in the cemetary in Watson, my ancestors used to run the place called Spring Creek Place and I am trying to find a map to get in there either by vehicle or atv

I can furnish you a map to Watson, but be aware if you access Watson from the south side of the Owyhee Reservoir, you should use an ATV with high clearance and 4WD. The lower end of the road in Blue Canyon has several washouts that require extreme caution. I would not recommend going in there with anything other than an ATV or UTV.

Check out this link to see a few segments of the lower end: http://cid-f7776f5ca8560757.skydrive.live.com/browse.aspx/Blue%20Canyon

dpage
03-15-2010, 11:11 AM
My Great Grand Father(Miller Page) and Great Grand Mother(Janet Page) are buried in Watson. I've near been there. I'm also planning a trip to Watson. Please send the map information, showing the best route in. Also, are there certain places to make sure I see?

Agatex
03-15-2010, 04:19 PM
My Great Grand Father(Miller Page) and Great Grand Mother(Janet Page) are buried in Watson. I've near been there. I'm also planning a trip to Watson. Please send the map information, showing the best route in. Also, are there certain places to make sure I see?

Check out this link: http://cid-f7776f5ca8560757.skydrive.live.com/browse.aspx/Watson?nl=1&uc=3&isFromRichUpload=1

I have included the major waypoints to get you to Watson. If you are not familiar with this area, use Google Earth or similar map software to find the general area via any of those waypoints. Note that this map is not complete. I will make another trip into Watson this spring to finish the map and log all the old homesteads with GPS software.

While you are in the vicinity, you should visit "Jordan Craters". I you ever wanted to walk inside of volcano, that's the place to do it.

dpage
10-16-2010, 07:30 AM
Agatex did you make it to Watson this year to gps the homestead sites?

Dave A
10-16-2010, 06:30 PM
I didn't exactly get to Watson, but on a recent trip to S. Idaho, I did make a trip to Owyhee reservoir and up the lake as far as the road goes to the last boat launching site. It is apparent that this was a very unpleasant place to exist millions of years ago, as it seems the volcanic layers must have been laid down for a long time. Here is a photo I shot looking up the lake, just for reference.

You cannot cross the dam any longer (homeland security and all that), so a good shot of the dam is not possible, but maybe would be if you took the lower road below the dam, which we didn't. Quite an impressive structure considering it was built in 1914 as I recall.

danny_stoddard
11-18-2010, 02:19 AM
someone should write up the info about Watson and submit it with pictures so its included as an Oregon Ghost Town.

Alexander.johnson
01-17-2011, 05:14 AM
We went up there for a scout campout this summer and the water was high enough that we were able to boat in past Leslie Gulch up to the Hot Springs, and walk about a mile up the shoreline, and then in a little bit to the old cemetery. It was a very rewarding experience, and we fished and cliff jumped for the rest of the day. We also saw two coyotes when we drove past. I love that country up there.

Agatex
09-02-2012, 06:20 AM
Agatex did you make it to Watson this year to gps the homestead sites?

Sorry about the late post, but I am no longer able to get into the old town of Watson. The road into Watson is washed out to a point that it is too dangerous for me to get there even with an ATV. Iíll leave that GPS data campaign to someone much younger than me.