Fall color in the Sumpter Valley. A splash of vivid fall color greets a late morning mixed train as it passes one of the many little ponds along the route from Sumpter to McEwen, Oregon. Gold dredging operations in the first half of the 20th century left much of the landscape along the Powder River littered with endless piles of rocks and stones from the river bottom. Over the years, plants and trees have grown back and water has filled the valleys between the piles of dredge tailings. The result is a very unique-looking geography which is actually more photogenic than it sounds, particularly if you happen to visit in October, when the mixture of yellow and green foliage lights up the countryside.