Hells Canyon in the Spring: Friday Flowers

Hells Canyon National Recreation Area is tucked into the northeastern corner of Oregon and the western edge of Idaho. We visited Hells Canyon in the spring last year. At the overlook, the meadows were carpeted in wildflowers. Perfect timing for pictures!

Hells Canyon view to the east 4 June 2019
View to the east

Many different types of flowers were in full bloom.

Wildflower meadow at Hells Canyon, Oregon 4 June 2019
Meadow full of wildlfowers

We had great weather to take in the panoramic view. The Snake River winds through this canyon nearly 8,000 feet below the canyon rim. Hells Canyon, the deepest gorge in North America, is almost 2,000 feet deeper than the Grand Canyon.

View to southeast at Hells Canyon, Oregon 4 June 2019
View to the southeast

Whitestem frasera plants grew in dense clumps sprinkled with pale purple flowers.

Whitestem frasera, Hells Canyon, Oregon 4 June 2019
Whitestem frasera

Hells Canyon National Recreation Area was created in 1975. It encompasses 652,488 acres. There are nearly 2,900 miles of trails in this recreation area.

View to the south at Hells Canyon, Oregon 4 June 2019
View to the south

The dramatic landscape was formed by volcanic activity hundreds of millions of years ago followed by collisions of tectonic plates. The mountains eroded over time. A series of lava flows sculpted them into the mountains we see today.

Purple larkspur flowers bordered the trail. I have a different native variety growing on my desert property near Bend, Oregon. One of my favorite plants!

Larkspur in the foreground, Hells Canyon, Oregon 4 June 2019
Larkspur in the foreground

A gallery of Hells Canyon wildflowers

Here’s a gallery of some of the other wildflowers I saw that day. I had never seen these varieties of balsamroot or clematis flowers anywhere before. Wonderful sights to see!

The Hells Canyon Creek Visitor Center is located below Hells Canyon Dam. It is open seasonally and was not yet open when we visited.

You can see Seven Devils Mountain peeking out in this view to the north.

View to the north, Hells Canyon Overlook, Oregon 4 June 2019
View to the north

Hells Canyon Overlook is located 45 miles east of Joseph, Oregon, where we stayed. Check road conditions ahead of time because there can be snow in this high elevation area. It takes about 1 hour 45 minutes to get there from Joseph since you drive on twisting, turning Forest Service roads. The drive is well worth it!

Spruce Cones in Snow: SMM

Spruce cones in snow

We got some much needed snow in the last few days of our mild winter. This close-up of spruce cones in snow was taken in my yard in Bend, Oregon.

Sunshine’s Macro Monday (SMM)

A sweet spot: The Foxtail Bakeshop

We recently visited a newish bakery for a cup of coffee and a sweet. This sweet spot has a good variety of sweets and beautiful artwork.

Check out this large mural full of flora and fauna. Find out more about the six artists that helped create the artwork in this space here.

Sweet spot. Foxtail Bakeshop, Bend, Oregon. February 2020

The front counter has bold black and white tilework.

Foxtail Bakeshop counter. February 2020

Even the storage areas are painted. I loved the fox peeking out and the figurine on the top.

Foxtail Bakeshop painting. February

Even the light fixtures are works of art. Can you see what the railing in the loft is made from? Rolling pins!

Intricate light and rolling pin railing. Foxtail Bakeshop February

Here’s the view from outside. This bakery is located in the Box Factory area of Bend.

In the early 1900s, there was a box making factory here. Now this sweet spot, restaurants, a cider manufacturer, a make-your-own-beer business, an exercise studio, a tourism company, and stores fill the building.

Sweet spot. Foxtail Bakeshop.  Bend Oregon February 2020

Fire pits alight at WinterFest: LAPC

Last weekend we visited the Oregon WinterFest event in Bend. I always look forward to seeing the fire pits and there were over 20 entries this year.

The Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) this week is Treasure Hunt. I thought the fire pits fit perfectly under the suggested topic of “something hot.” Here are a few of the sculptures I saw at the WinterFest event.

A scaly tree holding a suspended ball of fire

Fire pits at WinterFest in Bend, Oregon 14February2020

This one looked like kindling hovering over a fire

Outdoor sculpture at WinterFest in Bend, Oregon 14February2020

Tall and graceful, reaching for the sky

Outdoor sculpture at WinterFest in Bend, Oregon 14February2020

This triangular one had flames that pulsed to the music

Outdoor sculpture at WinterFest in Bend, Oregon 14February2020

A salmon leaping above the flames

Fire pits at WinterFest in Bend, Oregon 14February2020

Cattails swaying in the breeze

Outdoor sculpture at WinterFest in Bend, Oregon 14February2020

A cyclone of spinning metal

Outdoor sculpture at WinterFest in Bend, Oregon 14February2020

The reflective discs spun with the slightest breeze so this one was always in motion

Outdoor sculpture at WinterFest in Bend, Oregon 14February2020

This one reminds me of the space needle in Seattle

Outdoor sculpture at WinterFest in Bend, Oregon 14February2020

Mountains and their wildlife in a lovely panoramic display

Fire pits at WinterFest in Bend, Oregon 14February2020

See my recent That’s some Pig! post for one more of these amazing fire pit sculptures.

I’m impressed by the artists that create these works. The sculptures have to look great and be fully functional as a fire pit. Not an easy task!

Love is in the air on Valentine’s Day

Love is in the air February 2020

On this day when love is in the air, remember to…

Be the rainbow in someone else’s cloud.

Maya Angelou

On the Hunt for Joy Challenge – Cheer Someone Up

Someday in the future: LAPC

Someday in the future I’ll live on a street full of possibilities

Someday in the future, Road sign, Bend, Oregon 8February2020

Someday I’ll live where birds are the color of the sky

Scrub jay, Bend, Oregon 3June2017

And flowers are the color of the sun

Balsamroot flowers near the Columbia Gorge 15April2017

Someday I’ll live where lichens send messages that only I can see

2 Rock, lichens on a rock near Bend, Oregon 8February2020

And rocks will tell me of distant worlds in their own kind of Braille

Someday in the future, Thunderegg storytellers near Bend, Oregon 8February2020

Someday I’ll live where trees watch me through knowing eyes

Tree with eyes, Bend, Oregon 10July2019

And waterfalls speak to me in shades of green

Waterfall close up, Horsetail Falls, Oregon 9October2019

Someday in the future I’ll live where every sunrise is more spectacular than the one the day before

Someday in the future sunrise, Bend, Oregon 5December2019

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) – Future

Secret Blue Views: Two short stories

Did you know there are secret rooms at McMenamins Old St Francis in Bend? Here are pictures of two of the blacklight rooms with their secret blue views.

You can’t get into to the rooms through a traditional door. You have to find special panels in the hallway and push them in just the right spot.

The secret blue views inspired me to write microfiction stories related to each room.

Story 1

On the night of the harvest moon, trees in a hidden forest create plump blue and red fruit. Jackrabbits venture into the forest, searching for the red fruit. They nibble on their magic and dance until the sun rises and the fruit disappears.

Story 2

I am lost in a deep blue forest. Hanging crystals appear to light the way, so I follow them, turning to the left and right. I can’t find my way. Slumping against a tree trunk, I turn my gaze towards the sky. Then I notice it—a heart of branches leading to the true path. I am found.

Autumn walk in Bend: LAPC – Finding something red

An autumn walk in Bend, Oregon 8October2019

A beautiful October walk along the Mill A Loop Trail in Bend, Oregon. The rising sun’s rays highlight gold and red fall foliage. The sunlight was hitting the trees just right on this autumn walk.

An American flag flies from one of the Old Mill smokestacks. Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) renovated the 28,000-square-foot former lumber mill and opened a retail store there in 2005. They retained much of the building’s historic charm and it’s one of Bend’s iconic landmarks.

The Lens-Artist Photo Challenge (LAPC) today is Find Something Red.

Noticing the lines in a scene: LAPC

When I travel, I think about photographing what I see by noticing the lines. Your eye wants to follow where they lead you. Here a few leading lines from northern Oregon.

Noticing the lines on the way to Hood River, Oregon 10October2019
Fall foliage along Oregon Route 35
Passing by Mt Hood, Oregon 11October2019
Passing by Mt Hood
Looking west towards the Bridge of the Gods, Oregon 11October2019
Looking west towards the Bridge of the Gods
The stairway leading to Multnomah Falls, Oregon 10October2019
The stairway leading to Multnomah Falls

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Leading Lines

Spruce cones up close: SMM

Spruce cones up close

A photograph of spruce cones up close that I took in my Bend, Oregon yard.

Sunshine’s Macro Monday (SMM)

Pub Art at Silver Moon Brewing

This pub art at Silver Moon Brewing captures many of the iconic landmarks of Bend, Oregon. Artist Natalie Fletcher included Smith Rock in the background flanked by the Painted Hills on the left and Mt Bachelor on the right. The Deschutes River winds through the scene.

Can you see the source of the river? An overflowing glass of beer of course. Little Lava Lake is the “real” source and it’s a great place for kayaking.

This mural shows the Les Schwab Amphitheater on the left. It’s packed with people attending one of our many outdoor events.

Phil’s Trail is in the left forefront. It’s a favorite of mountain bikers.

You can see a red bird sculpture in a roundabout on the right. It’s known as the “Flaming Chicken.” Many of our roundabouts contain artwork. There’s another piece of roundabout art in the mural just to the left of the bridge. It’s a graceful sculpture made from old kayaks.

In the right forefront you can see the Tower Theater. This small venue has been lovingly restored. On the marquee the featured film is “The Beer Fairies.” There is a tiny fairy hidden on the right side of the mural.

This pub art at Silver Moon captures many of the things that make this place great. The beer there is good too.

Silver Moon’s sense of humor is reflected in parts of this mural and also on their website. Here’s a quote from the site:

Best pub this side of the Milky Way!

Someone, probably

Ordinary to extraordinary: Monochrome Monday

Even a little bit of snow turns the ordinary into the extraordinary. Here are some patterns in the snow I noticed on my morning walks.

Ordinary to extraordinary snow patterns in Bend, Oregon 20 January 2020
Cattails in winter snow, Bend, Oregon 13 January 2020
Ordinary to extraordinary a dusting of snow over pinecones and pine needles, Bend, Oregon January 2020
Snowfall over a brook, Bend Oregon 19 January 2019

Monochrome Monday

One acre at a time: On the Hunt for Joy Challenge

One acre at a time, Summer Lake, Oregon November 2017
Part of Summer Lake is included in the Diablo Mountain Wilderness Study Area

Last week I helped preserve a bit of the desert, one acre at a time. Sometimes it isn’t apparent how your $$$ help a cause. When you donate to conserve.org, you can see your money in action.

Mule deer doe, near Malheur NWR, Oregon April 2019
Mule deer doe

Making a difference

For only $46 per acre, you can help the Oregon Desert Land Trust purchase part of the 118,794 Diablo Mountain Wilderness Study Area in eastern Oregon. You can view a 360-degree photo of each individual acre and choose which you want to help buy.

They are trying to purchase 880 acres that are currently in private hands. The Land Trust and Global Wildlife Conservation organizations will match funds for each donation to make the $182-per-acre purchase.

Once the purchase is complete, the public will have access to the land. The purchase ensures that the site will not be developed in the future.

Pronghorn herd at Hart Mountain, Oregon August 2019
Pronghorn herd

This bit of the desert includes interesting natural and archaeological features. The salt flats and rimrock hillsides are home to mule deer, pronghorn, greater sage grouse, and burrowing owls. Migratory birds live in the sagebrush and greasewood habitats.

The Paisley Caves contain evidence of humans that dates back to over 14,000 years ago. The nearby Fort Rock Cave and Catlow Caves contain similar artifacts.

Catlow Caves artifacts, Oregon April 2019
Catlow Cave artifacts

If you donate to this site, you can visit “your” acreage. I haven’t visited the parcels I helped purchase yet, but I can’t wait to see them in person. It will bring me great joy to see how I made a difference, one acre at a time.

Burrowing owl pair, Malheur NWR, Oregon April 2017
Burrowing owl pair

New photo challenge

There is a new weekly photo challenge called “On the Hunt for Joy Challenge” and the topic this week is “Get Outside.” I thought this would be a perfect time to feature this conservation opportunity.

On the Hunt for Joy Challenge – Go Outside

Prostrate lupine – a tiny beauty: Friday Flowers

Prostrate lupine on Steens Mountain, Oregon 29 August 2019
Prostrate lupine

We stopped at the Kiger Gorge overlook on Steens Mountain in August and saw tiny flowers at our feet. These are prostrate lupines, Lupinus lepidus var. lobbii. I put my hand in the picture just to give you an idea of the scale.

This native plant grows in alpine habitats. The tiny blue or purple flowers measure 1/3 inch across. The plant grows to a height of 4-6 inches. Another common name for this low profile plant is “dwarf lupine.” Lupines have distinctive leaves that are almost star-like in form. The seedpods are often covered with soft “hair.”

Prostrate lupine blooms in June, July, and August. The plants I saw in late August were growing at 9,000 feet in elevation. Everything blooms later there.

Kiger Gorge Overlook, Steens Mountain, Oregon 28August2019
Kiger Gorge Overlook

This lupine ranges north to the Cascade and Olympic mountains in Washington State, south to northern California and east to western Idaho and Nevada. Prostrate lupines grow on talus slopes and in rocky pumice soils at high elevations.

Prostrate lupine is a perennial that grows in areas with heavy snowfall in the winter and short dry summers. Like other lupines, its flowers attract pollinators.

Friday Flowers

Rainy view of otters: Pull up a seat challenge

Log bench shaded by tree at High Desert Museum, Bend Oregon October 2019

I had a rainy view of otters from this log bench shaded by a red-leaved tree. The otters at the High Desert Museum seem to have fun no matter what the weather is.

Rainy view of otters at High Desert Museum, Bend Oregon October 2019

Pull up a seat challenge

Tunnel of Joy in Bend: LAPC

I often walk through this “Tunnel of Joy” by the Deschutes River in Bend, Oregon. I call it that because the bright artwork is so joyful. I’ve previously featured one side of the bridge and the other but never the inside of the tunnel.

Tunnel of Joy in Bend, Oregon July2017

The abstract painting lining the tunnel is by artist, Tom Cramer. He works in a variety of media and is one of the most successful artists currently working in Portland, Oregon. His best-known mural was “Machine”, painted in 1989.

Tunnel of Joy in Bend, Oregon July2017

At first this mural appears to just be random shapes, but if you look closer you may notice shapes you recognize. I see faces, hearts, snakes, and wings. You can use your imagination to find objects in an abstract work of art.

I’m thankful the city of Bend supported the creation of this Tunnel of Joy to make all of our days a little brighter.

Tunnel under Colorado Avenue, Bend, Oregon August 2018

The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) – Abstract

Do you get the point?: Monochrome Monday

Do you get the point?

A collection of different types of barbed wire on display at Fort Rock, Oregon.

Monochrome Monday

Covered in coldness poem: LAPC

Covered in coldness
Obscured from view
Layered in lightness
Dazzling and new

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) – Cold