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This post was written by my daughter Catie, who is now in college (oh, how time flies!).  I am honored to be able to share her story here because I know so many people created amazing memories  at Lehman and hopefully you will share some of yours with us too!  
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Catie Lucas 
Commemorative Speech November 6, 2012
"The Soul of Lehman Hot Springs"

A smile happens in a flash, but its memory lasts a lifetime. Where I grew up I was blessed with many smiles that have given me multiple happy memories. I grew up on a piece of land called Lehman Hot Springs. Located in eastern Oregon, Lehman is surrounded by two million acres of national forest. Although Lehman is blessed with the natural beauty of a forested area of the Blue Mountains, it is mostly recognized for its natural hot spring water. My parents purchased Lehman Hot Springs just before I was born and decided to open the land to the public so that families and friends could come and enjoy the natural beauty and tranquility of the land and hot springs. People came to Lehman to get away from the chaos of life and relax in the natural hot springs pools and enjoy the serene beauty that Lehman has to offer. Of the many virtues Lehman Hot springs encompasses, the two most recognized are acceptance and unity.

Not too long after purchasing Lehman, my dad found himself unable to sleep one night. He decided to go out for a midnight soak in the natural hot springs water to help him relax and go back to bed. However, on his way out to the pool, he was not alone. Ten feet away from him was a big black bear staring right at him. Both the bear and my dad froze in fear. My dad was careful not to make any sudden movements and the bear seemed to do the same. As the bear and my Dad stared at each other for several minutes my dad feared for the worst. To his surprise, however, the bear just walked away. It was as if the land and its creatures had accepted my dad and his family’s presence on the land. We encountered many animals and creatures while living at Lehman Hot Springs, but they never seemed interested in hurting us. Lehman’s soul’s acceptance of our family and its visitors allowed everyone to live in peace. It’s that peace that encouraged people to come back and visit Lehman to get away from the fast paced life they live.

Some visitors of Lehman I remember vividly were a group of people from Russia that came every year around Christmas. They came to Lehman Hot Springs to enjoy the natural hot springs and peaceful setting. I remember all of us sitting out in the pool with the Russians. It was a beautiful night with all the stunning stars above us. Snow was all around the pools but the heat of the natural pools kept us warm. Everyone out in the pools felt at peace and relaxed. Suddenly, the group of Russians began to sing Christmas carols. Their voices echoed off the pools so everyone could listen to their joyfully composed songs. It was probably the most beautiful singing I have ever heard. In that moment, I was overwhelmed with happiness and peace. It was amazing, I thought, that everyone in that pool was so vastly different but we could still be brought together to share this wonderful place and create these sublime memories. Lehman had that power, to bring people from around the world together. No matter the visitor’s different races, nationalities, and beliefs, Lehman had the power to create unity amongst its visitors.

Lehman was not known just for its indescribable beauty and serene setting. Lehman was also known for the effect it could have on people and their memories. When my mother and father first bought the place, they went for a walk out in the woods. They were debating making it private or public. My dad wanted to make it private because he knew how much work that was going to have to go into it. But my mom argued no, Lehman has to be kept open to the public. She knew that this land shouldn’t be hid from people. Lehman was wild and untamable but the affect it had on people was something that needed to be shared. And besides, my mom said, Lehman really is not our land; we are just its caretakers for now. Lehman was its own being that accepted its visitors and created unity amongst both families and strangers around the world. Growing up at Lehman, I felt I grew a sort of bond with the land. It was as though Lehman was a part of our family, fully accepting us and bringing us together. 



Two years ago, when my parents were forced to sell Lehman, it felt as if we had lost a family member. I cried as if someone had died. We had lost the family member that brought us so many wonderful memories. But then again, Lehman really was never ours. We were just its caretakers in one of Lehman’s many chapters of life. 



 


Comments

Dawning McGinnis
03/25/2013 1:14pm

I have enjoyed Lehman hot springs since I was quite young and I would like to offer my and my husbands help. I am not sure how you can use us, but we are hard workers and want to make sure that your family knows that there is support and help out there if you can use it. Feel free to email me and talk to me about anything...even just vent about what is going on.
Our hearts go out to you and this beautiful place that we would like to be a part of again.
-Dawning and Rich

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Ronda Biaggi
04/02/2013 9:10pm

Wow! Closed! No Way! I was just planning a long over due trip to the springs. I have fond memories of many times spent there with family and friends. We come from the Tri-cities and would make a day trip out of it. Bring our own lunch and soak all day. After reading Catie Lucus "Soul of the Hot Springs" it brougth tears to my eyes and a hurt in my heart. I'm devated to hear that there will be no more family trips and memories to create at Leman's Hot Springs. Thank you to the family and care takers of the land and for opening your hearts to share it with others! XXOO AMEN

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06/28/2013 7:56pm

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07/11/2013 9:30pm

You guys have quite the fan club created by my friends and family, and other people who sharing memories of your awesome memories spent there.. Here's the link if you'd like to check it out!

https://www.facebook.com/MemoriesofLehmanHotSprings

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07/28/2013 11:07pm

It was interesting to know that your child is studying in college. After reading this blog, I feel that she has good writing skills. Thanks for sharing this wonderful article with us and keep posting more updates in your blog.

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07/29/2013 4:58am

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Bobby Crosby
09/08/2013 8:54pm

I and my family have injoyed Lehman for many years,We first started coming ther when my children were young and now is gone and the other are grandparents. The last time we were there my husband and I brought our horses and road all around the hills then soaked in the pool not evry will have a chance like this so we feel bad about your loss. I guess you can thank our goverment
Bobby and Dale Crosby

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09/22/2013 5:00am

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09/29/2013 10:34pm

Of the many virtues Lehman Hot springs encompasses, the two most recognized are acceptance and unity.

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10/18/2013 4:02am

When I was attending Walla Walla University from 2002-2008 I started a group camp trip to the Hotsprings every winter sometimes we would go 2-4 times during the school year at one point me had 30 plus in our group. After college I moved to Pendleton for work with the idea of moving closer to Ukiah I was devastated when I heard that you guys had to shut down. If you ever need any help I would gladly help out any way i can. Hope to see you guys reopen soon! Feel free to email me or message me on Facebook Thomas Trefz.

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10/24/2013 8:22pm

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01/26/2014 12:33am

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Kathleen Lamb
04/01/2014 11:43pm

I took a moment to look up a favorite place my family use to visit in the 1960's when I was a young girl. Lehman Hot Springs brings back many wonderful memories like the frog in the big pool and my mother fretting over me sitting in the "hot pool". I'm 60 years old now and hope to be able to come visit again with my grandkids. That would be awesome.

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