A Cottonwood Canyon Thanksgiving

So the last time around I roped a host into writing a blog post. I figured this was such great idea I would continue to pass off my work to others. We had our first Thanksgiving feast out here at Cottonwood with many friends and family. Below is a report of some good friends experience. I have taken for granted the limited email, no TV and limited cell coverage out here. I forgot what a change it can make in an experience. So come on out, unplug and enjoy! For more on a little digital detox this is a great article I read recently.

A Cottonwood Canyon Thanksgiving

Kristi, Ben and family

This year, our little family decided to try something different. We received an offer from our friends to celebrate Thanksgiving out at Cottonwood Canyon State Park so we packed up the car Wednesday and headed out.

From the Portland metro area it is only a little over a two hour drive. It was beautifully scenic. First the drive through the Columbia River gorge to our old stomping ground of Hood River, Oregon where we ate lunch. Then on to Cottonwood where we drove up and over rolling hills planted with winter wheat and wind turbines.   My BPA tour guide (aka, husband) provided interesting information into the landscape and the inner-workings of how the turbines create electricity from wind. Unfortunately, I was unable to get any pictures due to the sleeping children in the back of our car.

Upon arrival we unpacked and went exploring. The rustic landscape and quiet felt as though we had stepped back in time and felt awe at the people who had homesteaded here. I have only been to eastern Oregon once prior to this trip but I found a new appreciation for this area. The landscape was beautiful and I could see the appeal of the area.

This was the view from the private residence:


On Turkey day the remainder of our group arrived. Exploring, feasting, and game playing commenced.



Being accustomed to watching football, calling family, reading the newspaper, and being able to get instant information made me wonder how this weekend and holiday would unfold without modern technology. We found it was relaxing and less stressful. It also allowed us to connect with family and friends without so many distractions. The kids (18 months and 3 ½ years old) loved running around and playing by the river and in the dirt. It forced them to be creative with their play and not rely on their toys for entertainment. I felt that being here for Thanksgiving accentuated and allowed us to focus on what was most important in life.


Before leaving on Friday, we took a little hike with the kids.   It was the perfect way to end the holiday. We will definitely be coming back to fish in the John Day River at Cottonwood Canyon come the sunny summer days.

7 8 9 10

7 thoughts on “A Cottonwood Canyon Thanksgiving

  1. What a wonderful way to spend the holiday. The volunteers as well as everyone else are doing some amazing work at Cottonwood!

  2. I wish that we had known that there was going to be a thanksgiving celebration at the park as the two of us were home by ourselves with a slow cooked turkey breast and the fixings.
    Am hoping to be there in April if we can get the motorhome fixed by then.

  3. What wonderful photos, and thanks for sharing your Thanksgiving! Cottonwood is truly a time-warp experience. Thank you Ranger David Spangler for your commitment to the park and creating a place for people to take a breath and reflect on what is important.

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