Frozen Treats or the Steelhead Story

Staff members work at Lookingglass Fish Hatchery.

Elgin, Oregon__What could frozen yogurt and steelhead possibly have in common? Both are topics for upcoming rides on the Eagle Cap Excursion Train in northeast Oregon.

Thursday, July 31, the Summer Sundowner is an opportunity to enjoy a scenic evening train ride, with a sweet delight at the end. The train leaves the Elgin Depot at 6 p.m., when the scenery is exceptional and wildlife comes out of the shadows, and arrives at Minam just before the sun sets. There, passengers can create a frozen yogurt treat from Tropical Swirlz and eat it on the lawn of the Minam Store & Motel. A short, 15-minute bus ride takes passengers back to the Elgin Depot by 9 p.m. Even if the day is hot, riders are advised to bring a jacket in case the evening mountain air feels chilly.

Saturday, August 2, the attention turns to steelhead and fall Chinook, when a train ride from Minam delivers passengers to Lookingglass Creek for a guided tour of the Lookingglass Fish Hatchery. This train ride departs from Minam, taking passengers down the Wild & Scenic Wallowa River, an acclaimed steelhead river, then up the Grande Ronde to Lookingglass Creek. Near Lookingglass Creek, passengers board a bus for a two mile trip to the fish hatchery. A guided tour of the hatchery informs participants about the fall Chinook salmon recovery program and raising winter steelhead.

You’ll see how they collect eggs from adult fish and raise juveniles for release in area rivers and streams. You will gain a whole new perspective on these beautiful rivers and the wildlife they nurture. Lunch is served on the lawn at the hatchery. Board the bus for the ride back to the train and the return trip to Minam. 27 rail miles are traveled on this ride, round trip. The train departs from Minam at 10 a.m. and returns at about 2:30.

For tickets, call Alegre Travel, 541.963.9000 or 800.323.7330, or reach them by email to train@alegretravel.com. See the 2014 train schedule www.eaglecaptrainrides.com.

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