Welcome to CDW Photography and to our blog. We are Curtis and Debby White. Married for 25 years, we are empty nesters who now have the time to do some of the things we have always wanted to do but couldn’t with a brood to corral.
Curt is the photographer and I’m his assistant and resident blogger. Saturday, February 18th, we drove to the Cedar Creek Grist Mill outside of Woodland, Washington.
We had seen pictures posted by others and we were curious to see a working mill. The website states that the mill is open for tours Saturday and Sunday from 1-4 pm. We went early to take some pictures before going inside. Here is the link to the Mill’s website. http://www.cedarcreekgristmill.com
Approaching the mill we drove across the covered bridge over Cedar Creek, from where the mill gets its name. As we crossed I wondered out loud why bridges were covered. Later, during our visit with the mill volunteers, we learned the popular theory is they were covered to protect the bridge floor from the elements. Made perfect sense to me and, to be honest, I felt somewhat foolish for not considering that possibility myself. We also learned that the original bridge was not covered and parts and pieces had to be frequently replaced due to the destructive weather. If you live in the Northwest you understand what that means. (We get lots of rain.)
The day was overcast and rainy. Curt had to put its raincoat on his camera for extra protection against the rain. There are short trails on each side of Cedar Creek, which, on the day we visited, raged more like a river than a creek. We wandered down the trail on the opposite side of the creek from the mill looking for what might be an interesting shot. Curt set up his camera and tripod on some rocks at the edge to shoot some photos of the turbulent water. As it rounds a curve just past the mill building the water slams against the rocks on the other side churning upward into violent, white peaks again and again. It’s an impressive display of power.
While Curt was setting up I wandered around the area and noticed some thick, steel rings protruding from boulders a little further down.
I also noticed similar rings in boulders across the way as well. I asked him to snap pictures of all the rings so we could ask the volunteers about them later.
We learned that when the mill was operational the owner built a dam in that area and it is believed those hooks were used in the process. Pete, one of the volunteers, explained that heavier than normal rainfalls would swell the creek and the accumulated debris would smash into the structure requiring continuous repair to the dam.
On our walk back to the bridge I was fascinated by greenery growing from the trunk of these trees. I asked Curt to snap a shot of this. I’m not sure why but I liked the growth pattern. I think it looks lacy and fern like.
We also liked greenery growing from this rock wall.
Of course, we had to do the obligatory selfie in front of the bridge. We practiced on me first. Then both of us once the details were worked out. Here we are.
This was quite a challenge because Curt had to set up in the middle of the road and move whenever a car approached. The traffic wasn’t very busy that day but we did have to move out of the way three or four times which meant refocusing each time. Of course then we had to keep taking pictures until we were happy with one. Later, we learned from Pete, the very knowledgeable volunteer, that the bridge wasn’t covered until restoration began in the 1980s. This photo shows that Cedar Creek is part of the Lewis River Watershed.
Once we were satisfied with our selfie shots we followed the trail on the mill side of the creek, however, the trail is closed just past the building. Following the contour of the creek bank for quite some distance is what is called a ‘plume,’ a line of attached wood boxes that carry water from further up the creek to the mill. Noted in this photo.
The water enters the plume through a drain on the side of the creek so it doesn’t interfere with the flow of the creek. Overflow empties as a waterfall off the side of the plume back into the creek which can be seen in the picture as well. The remaining water flows into a round black tube that reminded me of a silo.
The turbine is at the bottom of the silo which runs the equipment when the wheel inside the mill is turned to begin the process. There was a lot of technical jargon thrown around that makes more sense when you can see the equipment in action so I won’t bore you with my attempt at an explanation. Pete and Fred will explain the mechanics much better as they are the experts. Pete Catching has been involved with the organization since the restoration began and Fred Schulz is the machinist who makes everything work. They are full of information and happy to answer any and all questions asked. The two are shown here.
There are many pieces of equipment inside that have different functions and are quite fascinating. Pete and Fred will be happy to explain the purpose of each. Here are a few pics inside.
The mill has several events planned throughout the year. Events listed for May – September 2017 take place on the last Saturday of the month 1-4 pm. The October event is also the last Saturday of the month, however, it will begin at 9 am and goes until they are done.
May – Bread and Butter Day
June – Strawberry Shortcake Day
July – Blueberry Pancake Day
August – Treat Day
September – Cornbread Day
October – Apple Cider Pressing – A local favorite!
Please see the mill’s website for more details regarding the events. They all sound like fun! That address again is: http://www.cedarcreekgristmill.com
The mill operates on donations so please be generous.
We very much enjoyed our time in and around the Cedar Creek Grist Mill and highly recommend making time to visit. We will be back in May for the Bread and Butter Day!
For additional photos click here: https://cdwphotography.com/galleries/curtis-white/cedar-creek-grist-mill