Sarah Plummer Lemmon & Matt Hall
Water Interface Experimentation (WIE)
Lyle Ruterbories, Glacier National Park Ranger
2014 California State Fair
Test & Tune
Abstract: Western Recreation
Abstract: Washougal Motocross
Cougar Hot Springs
October 29, 2011

Cougar Hot Springs

Near Detroit Lake, OR

SECTION No1 Introduction

According to the United States Forest Service, Cougar Hot Springs is actually called Terwilliger Hot Springs. According to the rest of the world, as well as our collective consciousness, Cougar Hot Springs is in fact called Cougar Hot Springs. This may be because after the geothermal hot spring water in question emerges from a “spectacular rock formation,” which formation is basically a cave in the side of a wooded hill, it cascades through a series of progressively cooler (in temperature) aftermarket-but-natural-looking pools,11‘The pools were renovated in 2009. A group of volunteers, led by a Eugene-based stonemason, removed concrete and built pools using a natural mortar. The new walls will be more stable and easier for volunteers to clean. The renovated pools, the construction of which cost an estimated $40,000, are expected to last for generations.’ The Eugene Register Guard before funneling into a creek, which creek is watershed to a swimming lagoon, which swimming lagoon eventually empties into Cougar Reservoir. Which namesake reservoir, incidentally, is long, narrow, extremely blue (in color) and overlooked by the Cougar Hot Springs parking lot. The USFS claims Cougar sees “heavy use,” and the FOC reports that “typically 5-20 people” can be found soaking at any given time.

 

The easy, quarter-mile long hike-in ends in an open, fully-functional wooden (artisanal) locker room or Hot Spring Fort. Because the water really does emerge from rocks in a hill, and because it really does cascade through six whatever-the-pixie-version-of-feng-shui-is-having pools, and because all of this takes place in a wooded ravine in the primordial section of the Willamette National Forest, the vibe at Cougar tends toward the magical: painterly colors, steamin’-and-streamin’ early morning sunlight and naked centaur-like forest creatures.22Otherwise known as non-violent tax accountants, all-natural pipe-using plumbers, hummus pioneers and footbag purveyors visiting from nearby Eugene, Oregon. Close your eyes for a moment and imagine the film Fellowship of the Ring. Now imagine Rivendell, the Elf city built into a bodacious waterfall. Clearly, most of Rivendell is upper–middle class, the neighborhood and it’s surrounding features are essentially pristine or pristine-plus. But what if there was a more chill side of town? The “other” Rivendell, the working class or Elven blue collar side of town, which side of town, FTR, would still be remarkable by our ‘real world’ standards, still full of myriad resplendent natural features/wonders. And imagine if in that part of town there was a community swimming pool: Cougar is that swimming pool.

 

In fact, Cougar Hot Springs is magical enough to inspire poetry in its visitors, i.e.:

The human mind, when set free
Becomes a wandering rhapsody,
Now, crossing limits, unsure of bounds,
from mountain
to mountainside resounds.
Then down the hill and through the glen
It gathers strength, repeats again,
But this time with variation,
From subtlety to alternation,
Then with a shout of jubilation
It leaps beyond imagination.”- Paul, On Mental Flexibility

SECTION No2 Cougar Hot Springs

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Detroit Lake, by the parking lot.
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Adjacent to the hike in.
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A Swedish man in the woods on his way to the springs.
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The wooden locker room.
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Upper pools.
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An Adam and Eve reenactment party with a plastic pail.
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SECTION No3 Addendum: Cougar Crossing Campground

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Additional Support for this Project was Provided By Fjallraven Danner Pendleton
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Cougar Hot Springs
Location
Willamette National Forest
Contact
McKenzie River Ranger Station, (541) 822-3381