Friday, September 29, 2006

Fall in Central Oregon

We had a nice few days in Central Oregon's Cascade Mountains.  The Fall colors are showing in the mountains, and the mountains are truly striking.  Unlike the Sierra Mountains, which seem to run together, the Cascade Mountains are discreet, each mountain standing seperate from its neighbor.



This time of year there are butterflies migrating and my car drove through many of them, I'm sorry to say.  Fortunately we didn't run over any deer or cyotes, both of which we saw a few times.  We didn't see elk in the wild, but we did see a big hurd of them near Sisters, OR.



If you click on this photo badge, you can see photos from the trip.  Look for photos tagged "CentralOregon".





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Here are the notes:



20060925 Crescent, OR



We left home this morning at about 8:40 after running a
couple of errands, including getting me a cup of coffee at the brand new
Starbucks @ 9th & The Esplanade - oooh, drive through.



It took about 3.5H to reach Ashland, where we had lunch at a nice place
off exit 19 called The Breadbasket - not cheap for lunch but not outrageous.



We drove East out of Medford toward Union Creek and Crater Lake. The Union Cr area is in a beautiful part of a
National Forest (which one?). The Rogue River in that area is stunning as it rushes through tunnels it has made in stone and
(probably) lava tubes.



20060925 Crater Lake Lookout



Crater Lake is still a
beautiful blue gem in a ring on top of a volcano. The visitor area at the lake is under construction. The gift store is in a temporary smaller
bldg, but I found it and bought a knit top I like. At the overlook we watched a documentary film
about how the lake was created... volcanoes erupting from at least 400,000 yrs
ago. At about 7k yrs ago a ring of eruptions
caused the top of the mountain to fall into a molten cavern about 4k ft down...
a collapsing caldera.



The weather today was beautiful and Fall color is
starting. There were some beautiful red
leaved maples and yellow leaved birch and aspen.



20060925 Crescent Woodsman
20060925 Crescent Mohawk
So we ended up in a little town called Crescent, OR,
staying at The Woodsman. We had dinner
at a place next door with a sign out
front saying "Mohawk Restaurant, Animal and Bottle Collection, Welcome Hunters". The dining room walls were COVERED with
stuffed animals and collectible souvenir bottles. I felt like the animals were watching me eat dinner - I was careful not
to order any meat.



Room at the Woodsman is fine - clean, dish Network TV,
fridge, microwave.




20060926 Bend, OR




Today was spent on scenic driving and a couple of easy,
short walks.



20060926 Cascade Fall Color
20060926 Constitution Grove
The West Cascades Scenic Byway, Aufderheide Nat'l Forest
Scenic Byway, Forest Rd 19 - Westfir to Blue River.... It was beautiful, with lots of striking red
color in the maples. We picked up a CD
at the Westfir Ranger Stn which gave us history, some geology, and
suggestions for sites to visit. We took
a quick, easy walk through Constitution Grove where 200 yr old trees have wooden
signs affixed to them, said plaques bearing the names of the signers of the US
Constitution. It amazes me that only one
name was familiar - George Washington.



We traveled up along the north fork of the middle fork of
the Willamette River,
and then down along the south fork of the McKenzie River.  I can't say enough about what a beautiful
road this is!



20060926 Proxy Falls20060926 McKenzie Pass Lava ViewAfter lunch we traveled the McKenzie Pass - Santium Pass Scenic Byway, OR rte 242.  We stopped and took a short hike to  Proxy Falls, through lava flds
dotted with brilliant maple trees, thru damp dark forests. The falls were very pretty.  Toward the top of the McKenzie pass (5325 ft elev.) there
is a Huge (65 sq. miles) lava flow and views of the Three Sisters Mtns.





It was a besutiful day.



We were amazed at how much Sisters and Bend have grown!  We had dinner at Baskin Robbins and scoped
out a Subway for tomorrow's lunch to go.



20060927 Bend, OR



At 12:30, in the middle of the night, my snoring was
keeping J awake, so I went to the lobby and got my own room. J finally had some relief from my snoring
and I was able to sleep all the rest of the night.



20060927 Cascade Byway resort kyaks
20060927 Todd Lake DF
Today we took a ride on the Cascade Lakes Scenic
Byway. We stopped at several lakes, some
natural and some reservoirs.



Mt. Bachelor
looks like a good ski mountain. It was
beautiful, as were the other mtns nearby (named what?).



Bend's
older downtown is nice enough, but the outskirts appear to have grown too fast
in a poorly planned way.
Dinner at Deschutes Brewery was fine - beer was good too.



20060928 On the road home





We took another scenic road (hwy 20, 22) to Silver Falls
St Pk, just outside of Salem. We took a hike by several waterfalls:


Winter Falls wasn't flowing, but if you stood there quietly you could hear water dropping
off of the top of where the falls would be in the winter.


20060928 Middle North Fork FallsNext was Middle North Falls, which was lovely. We walked behind it and didnlt even get wet because this time of yr the falls aren't raging.




Next was Drake Falls, which is really more of a cascade than falls. Nice.



We skipped Double falls because we were running out of steam and the falls appeared to be nothing more then a trickle.



Finally, Lower North Falls which I have skant memory of.



The hike back to the car was all uphill and we stopped
frequently to let our hearts slpw to a normal pace.



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