This photo of memories of summer at Old Mill shows one of the many colorful plantings bordering the trails. This border is located along the Mill A Loop trail, one of my favorites in Bend, Oregon.
It’s time to share special photos from the past year. Please enjoy this selection of nature, history, and art photos from Bend Branches.
Best Nature Pictures
The first photo shows a scene at the Portland Japanese Garden. We visited in October, when fall colors were at their peak.
This picture shows a pronghorn buck at Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. My following pronghorn post includes several pictures of these icons of the West.
We get spectacular sunsets and sunrises in our High Desert yard in Bend, Oregon. I wrote a two-line essence poem to go along with this image.
The next photo shows Emerald Pool at Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. The contrasting colors around this hot spring make it one of my favorites.
This photo is of a Cooper’s hawk right after she had a bath. This regular visitor to our yard is always entertaining!
Best History Photos
This is a picture of one of the passages in the burial tomb at Knowth in County Meath, Ireland. I wrote a short story to go along with pictures of this historic site.
This is a biplane located at the Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum in Hood River, Oregon. Black and white processing shows off the structure of this plane.
This picture shows an old farm truck parked along a rural road in Bend, Oregon. It’s parked along one of the 51 farm-to-market roads built in Deschutes County during the early 1900s.
This is a display of tail dresses at the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon. They’re called tail dresses because the deer’s tail is left on the cured skin. You can see them near the neckline on these dresses.
This picture shows an old farmhouse and windmill at a ranch in Central Oregon. To give this a more aged appearance, I used a filter that muted the reds.
Best Art Pictures
This is a close-up view of a bison sculpture by Greg Congleton, one of my favorite local artists. The name of this sculpture is Wooly Bully.
This is a sculpture of Sacagawea that’s located at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West museum in Cody, Wyoming. I admired how the artist portrayed her as a calm yet powerful presence.
This is a close-up view of a mural located outside a computer repair store in Bend, Oregon. Born Again Babylan represents mysteries of the past and technology of the future. See the whole mural here.
I featured the next image for a haiku challenge with the words blue and world as prompts. This art piece is at Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, Ireland. It represents bubbles forming during the beer brewing process.
The last picture shows an ornament on my Christmas tree. I have a collection of reindeer and I like this one because of its joyful expression. The ornaments are each like a tiny work of art.
I saw this beautiful crane sculpture at the Portland Japanese Garden last fall. The colors of autumn cast a warm glow on this peaceful scene.
In Japanese literature, mythology, and art, cranes are often thought to live 1,000 years. They symbolize longevity and good luck.
I wish you good luck and much happiness in the new year!
Once again, I’m sharing images of peaceful scenes near my home in Bend, Oregon.
Sahalie Falls, about an hour west of Bend, rewards visitors with this picture perfect view. Moss-covered rocks frame the rainbows floating over the river.
The next photo shows a few of my next door neighbors. This mule deer doe often jumped the fence into our yard to take a break from her fawns. 😀
Prineville Reservoir is about an hour east of Bend. I paddled around part of this large reservoir in my kayak last spring. The geological features surrounding the reservoir are so impressive!
The next photo shows a meeting of the minds near Burns, Oregon, two hours east of Bend. The double-crested cormorants appear to be having a peaceful discussion with the white pelicans.
The last photo shows several of Oregon’s Cascade volcanoes in the distance with manzanita shrubs in bloom in the foreground. This picture was taken near Paulina Lake, less than an hour south of Bend. The volcanoes pictured in this peaceful scene have been slumbering for many years.
I took this picture of Emerald Pool along the Black Sand Basin Trail in Yellowstone National Park. Emerald Pool is one of my favorite hot springs in the park. The bright colors in and around the pool stand out against a backdrop of forests and cliffs.
The water temperature of this pool averages 136° F (58° C). The pool used to be more green in color, but drops in temperature have caused the color to darken.
This observatory of the past is on McKenzie Pass near Sisters, Oregon. Dee Wright Observatory was built in 1935 by the Civilian Conservation Corps to showcase the human and geological history of this location. The round tower sits atop a small hill.
Here’s what it looks like when you approach it from the west. It’s one of the odder roadside attractions in Oregon but one that should not be missed.
The Observatory is constructed of local lava rock. The triangular-shaped rail supports look like rock cairns.
But what can you observe from here? You get excellent views of some of our local volcanoes, including North and Middle Sister, pictured below.
You’ll see panoramic views of lava beds bordered by volcanic mountains. On the left you can see the top of Mt Washington. Mt Jefferson is in the middle of the picture, shrouded by clouds. On the right you get a partial view of Black Butte.
Here’s a closer view. See Mt Jefferson hiding under the clouds?
An observatory of the past – Geology
This sign highlights part of the geological history. The lava flows that covered this landscape are young, in geological terms. If you have time, walk the 0.50 mile interpretive trail at the site.
From the inside of the structure, you can peek out of square and rectangular windows to see the peaks. Labels are below each window.
On top of the building you’ll find a peak finder.
Here’s a closer view.
Old Wagon Road
This area served as a route for wagons to get across the Cascade Mountains in the late 1800s. It must have been an incredibly rough ride.
If you visit this area…
- Consider traveling the 82-mile loop McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway. We drove it in September while searching for fall foliage.
- Note the road to the observatory closes during late fall and opens again in the spring because of high snowfall.
- The winding, narrow McKenzie Pass Highway does not allow vehicles over 35 feet in length.
- Watch for bicyclist traveling along the 38-mile long McKenzie Pass Scenic Bikeway.
For a little more about this observatory of the past, see my previous post – Dee Wright Observatory.
I have been patiently waiting for fall at the Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon. Every day, I visited their Fall Color Status Update website. In mid-October, the site indicated good leaf color in their plantings. Off we went!
A brilliant rainbow of colors bordered the Flat Garden. The green Circle and Gourd Islands in the sea of white gravel represent enlightenment and happiness.
This nearby path is bordered by more subtle colors.
The Garden limits the number of visitors, but they crowded around this maple tree with its bright red leaves.
The structure of the branches on laceleaf maples is just as impressive as the color of the leaves.
There are water features throughout the garden. This simple fountain is elegant in its design.
The reflections cast by fall leaves in the ponds are stunning.
The gardens are so calm and peaceful. This photo shows a view of Heavenly Falls – a fitting name.
The Garden includes layers of varying structure and color.
Some of the yellow-colored leaves you might see are on gingko trees – a personal favorite of mine. Their fan-shaped leaves fluttered in the breeze.
Visiting the Garden
The Portland Japanese Garden is located in Washington Park, west of downtown. The 12-acre garden includes eight separate garden styles. Purchase tickets ahead online or at the entrance gate. Be aware that parking is limited. There is a short uphill path to the garden. Shuttles are available upon request. The Cultural Village includes a gift shop, café, arts learning center, and concierge.
When His Excellency Nobuo Matsunaga, the former Ambassador of Japan to the United States, visited Portland Japanese Garden, he proclaimed it to be ‘the most beautiful and authentic Japanese garden in the world outside of Japan.’Portland Japanese Garden Visitor Guide
The brochure notes they hope visitors experience “a sense of peace, tranquility, and a deep, personal connection to nature.” I certainly did!
Though you can visit throughout the year, fall at the Japanese Garden is especially beautiful. In Japan, the times of seasonal change are revered for their impermanence. I was glad to witness the transition with my own eyes.
These streets lined with gold are along the highway east of Mount Hood in Oregon. I was there a week ago and the colors were spectacular!
The golden leaves along this road are mostly on aspen and larch trees. Larch is a deciduous conifer. Yes, most conifers keep their leaves through the winter–not the larch. See my post Western larch – A beauty in gold for more about these trees.
We also saw pops of red from the vine maples growing along this route.
The last picture shows bigleaf maples growing near the Columbia River. It was wonderful to see streets lined with gold in several locations on this trip in northern Oregon.
After the rain in the Painted Hills of eastern Oregon, the colors stand out in bold contrast. I live an hour and a half away from these strange geological features and patiently wait for the storms of fall to arrive.
The first image shows the view from the road to the Overlook parking area. The hills are located within the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.
Though I’ve been here several times, I’d never hiked the 1/2 mile Painted Hills Overlook Trail. The easy trail leads you past this dramatic scene. Wow!
Here’s a closer view.
These hills are on the south side of the trail.
There are four short, easy trails and a more moderate longer trail a short distance away.
This photo shows part of the Painted Cove Trail after the rain.
Here’s another part of that trail. It’s an Instagram-worthy view, but my dog didn’t feel like smiling for the camera that day. 😉
Here’s a view from Red Scar Knoll/Red Hill Trail. The colors are wonderful!
I talk more about the origin of the hills on Painted Hills – An Oregon natural wonder.
Visiting the Painted Hills Unit
Here’s a map of the area that shows the hiking trails. Leaf Hill, Painted Cove, and Red Scar/Red Hill are all 0.25 miles long. Painted Hills Overlook is 0.50 miles and Carroll Rim is 1.6 miles long.
Here are a couple additional points about visiting the Painted Hills.
- This landscape radiates heat so I would not recommend the longer hike on hot summer days.
- Bring plenty of water with you on all hikes.
- Use the restroom in the picnic area. There are no restrooms at the Overlook or at trailheads.
- Cell phone coverage can be spotty.
- Please stay on the trails and leash your dogs. Your tracks will remain for months in this fragile environment.
One more thing to consider…
- If you visit after the rain, you may run into gumbo mud. When it rains here, it’s like the ground turns into a mixture of Superglue and soil. The mud collects on your tires and shoes. See how it stuck to my boots? I scraped some off before getting in the car. At home, I sprayed my boots full blast with a hose and still had to use a stiff brush to get it all off. However, getting pictures of the hills after stormy weather was well worth it!
This old bench at Sahalie Falls, Oregon stands in stark contrast to the new fences bordering the trail. It’s nice they preserved a piece of the past here.
It’s a short walk from the parking area to view the falls. Aren’t they spectacular?
Steep knife-edged mountains arose from the plains centuries ago. Over time, torrential rains wore them down into rounded hills. Though plants tried to take root on their soil, none survived.
The Wise One summoned the artists of her tribe. She asked them to paint the hills in sacred colors. Pale green colors, from crushed sagebrush leaves and golden rabbitbrush blossoms, and black and red, from sumac trees, filled their brushes. The artisans painted the hills with broad brushstrokes and veiled the skies with delicate dabs of white.
This brand new Landscape of Dreams mural shows special sights you might see near Bend, Oregon. The mural is located in southeast Bend at the Bend Upstyle store.
The dream-like mural includes a landscape of volcanic peaks surrounded by towering trees and colorful wildflowers. A bighorn sheep ram gazes into the distance. Meanwhile, a longhorn bull, with a quail perched on one horn, looks directly at you. What’s the quail whispering to the bull as they drift through the landscape?
This rendering of Landscape of Dreams was created and painted by Kelly Odden of Kelly Thiel Studio. She was grateful for the assistance of her friend, Kristen Buwalda, for several hours.
Kelly, whose studio is in Bend, creates sculptures and paintings that include impressionistic portraits of animals and people. When I contacted her about the mural, she said the following:
“One of the best parts of working there was the folks who would stop by to chat, watch and ask questions! I had everybody from house painters to moms with sweet, disabled children come over to chat. It was wonderful to connect with others like that!”
We are lucky to have so many special artists sharing their work in and around Bend!
These photos show rocky seating at Yellowstone National Park. The Park Service constructed several types of places to sit that blend into the environment.
in the first picture, tourist gather to take in the dramatic views of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Young children are taking a brief rest with their family on a rocky bench.
The second picture shows a boulder sofa at the head of the trail. It’s unoccupied at the moment since everyone is drawn towards the waterfalls a short distance away.
Here’s a picture of the waterfalls. Can you see why people travel thousands of miles to sit on rough rocky seating to take in the view?
I’m always on the lookout for beavers when walking the river trails in the Old Mill District of Bend. I listen for the sound of a tail slapping the water and search for the silhouette of a rounded head breaking the water’s surface. Why look for beavers next to a shopping area? Because these industrious creatures found an ideal spot to build a lodge there. I’ve always wanted to know more about beavers, so I visited the Museum’s Dam It! Beavers and Us exhibition.
This multimedia interactive exhibit offers visitors the opportunity to learn all about the North American beaver, Castor canadensis. Tall, cutout panels representing forest trees divide the room. Dappled light shines onto the imaginary forest floor. A re-creation of a beaver dam is tucked into a corner for kids to explore.
In another corner, a large box suspended from a parachute drifts towards the ground—more on that later. An Oregon flag, featuring a beaver, flutters against a wall near the entrance. Video featuring the important connection of beavers with Native Americans plays in another section. A colorful animation featuring the life cycle of beavers plays on a large screen on the back wall.
History of beavers
In the center of the room, displays of articulated skeletons, fossils, and beaver-chewed trees draw your attention. One skeleton shows a North American beaver, while the other shows a giant beaver, Castoroides. As its name implies, the giant beaver was much larger than present day beavers. The extinct giant beaver weighed 198 to 276 pounds, while modern beavers weigh 24 to 71 pounds. Dramatic changes in the landscape after the Ice Age may have led to this large mammal’s demise during the Pleistocene era.
In the more recent past, beavers have played an important part in Native American culture. The Blackfeet Nation considers beaver to be one of the three original animals. They played a key role in the distribution of water and land. Beavers also taught people how to be moral. Though many tribes traded skins with settlers, Blackfeet chose not to because of beaver’s cultural importance. They celebrated beavers in a ceremony called the “Beaver Bundle”, an event passed down through generations.
In the late 1800s, things changed for North American beavers when European demand for their skins skyrocketed. They used beaver skins in creating hats and other products. The mercurous nitrate used in curing felt for hats led to the term “mad as a hatter” because of the chemical’s toxic side effects.
Because of high demand, beavers were overtrapped and prime habitat was destroyed. Beaver populations plummeted. One of the contributing factors was the Hudson Bay Company’s (HBC) decision to destroy beaver populations “as fast as possible” to discourage westward migration from American competitors. In the period from 1823 to 1841, HBC intended to make the Snake River territory a “fur desert.”
Changing perceptions of beavers
By the end of the 19th century, perceptions of beavers changed and conservation efforts began. In the 1920s, they moved beavers to areas where they lived in the past. Scientists recognized the value of the beaver in wetland habitat management.
We know beavers as one of nature’s engineers. The ponds and channels they create support diverse flora and fauna. As the effects of climate change increase, these sites serve as important refuges from wildfire, and they also help reduce flooding.
The exhibit highlights the stream channels beavers help create around rivers in two large-scale images. One features an enhanced image taken near Sunriver. The many abandoned braided channels around the Little Deschutes River stand out in this picture.
The other picture, of the Willamette River, uses LiDAR imagery to show the stream channels that existed over the last 12,000 years.
This exhibition features several examples of current work involving beavers. In 2016, in Birch Creek, Idaho, five beavers released near the creek enhanced the habitat. Rare Bonneville cutthroat trout populations increased after the introduction. The Tulalip Tribes, in Washington State, relocated beaver to streams on treaty lands as part of their watershed management program. Other tribes plan to follow their lead. In Oregon, biologists created Beaver Dam Analogs (BDAs) on East Fork Beech Creek and Bridge Creek. These artificial dams established habitat for beavers and fish populations have rebounded.
Back to the box suspended from a parachute mentioned earlier in this article. Why is this box featured in the exhibit? In the 1940s, wildlife agencies dropped beavers from planes in crates designed to open on impact. This method helped re-establish beaver populations in remote areas.
There is one more item of interest to mention in this exhibit. Did you notice the bottles of alcohol in the display case on the left side of the photo above? Those bottles contain Eau de Musc whiskey. Tamworth Distilling flavors this whiskey with castoreum, an oily substance from castor sacs located under a beaver’s tail. The distillery notes its “bright and fruit qualities (raspberry) and rich leathery notes along with creamy vanilla aroma.” Would you care to make a toast to beavers with a glass of this? I’ll leave that decision up to you, but we should celebrate this engaging exhibit for teaching us more about our remarkable state animal.
This exhibit is on display at the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon through October 3, 2021.
This is a reprint of an article I wrote for High Desert Voices, a newsletter published by and for volunteers at the High Desert Museum. This article was featured in the August 2021 issue.
Today I’m featuring views of Oregon mountains from afar. We’re lucky to have wide open views of these landmarks.
The first picture shows a view of the iconic Cascade Volcanoes west of Bend, Oregon. From left to right you can see Broken Top, South Sister, Middle Sister, North Sister, Black Crater, Mount Washington, Three Fingered Jack, Black Butte, and Mount Jefferson. Visitor can drive scenic roads, hike, rock climb, bike, go boating, fish, hunt, and nature watch around these peaks. This map helps you find the activities you’re looking for.
The second picture shows mountains east of Terrebonne, Oregon. The highest peak is Gray Butte, where I’ve seen lots of stunning wildflowers in the spring. At the base of the mountains, on the left side, you can find Smith Rock State Park. This park is a destination for rock climbers and hikers from around the world.
The third picture shows Steens Mountain, in the southeast part of the state. This fault block mountain is 50 miles long. At certain times of the year, visitors can drive to the 9,733-foot peak. It’s a trip well worth taking and the views are spectacular. You’ll see the pale sand of the Alvord Desert far below and stands of mountain mahogany and aspen near the peak.
The fourth picture shows the Painted Hills, north of Mitchell, Oregon. The stripes of red, tan, orange, and black in this photo record the effects of past climate change in this region. There are several trails in the Painted Hills Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. One of my favorites in the nearby Sheeprock Unit is the Blue Basin Trail.
Consider the weather when viewing Oregon mountains from afar
When you’re out exploring Oregon mountains from afar, check the weather conditions in advance. Did you notice the cloud cover increasing in each of these photos? Clear skies show off the Cascade Volcanoes along the skyline, but rainy conditions bring out the soil color in the Painted Hills.
I saw these lodgepole pines on pilings next to a bridge crossing the Deschutes River. I was hiking the trail to Benham Falls but had to pause to marvel at these little trees. Trout swam around the pilings, providing a little extra fertilizer for this odd nursery.
Who knows why the trees settled there. They certainly found a nice piece of waterfront property with a view. 😉
Sometimes you visit places where the landscapes are pretty as a picture. Here are a few places I’ve visited in the western states that feature picture postcard views. I tell a tiny tale about each of them.
Kiger Gorge on Steens Mountain, Oregon is full of drama. A giant serpent tunneled through here leaving scales of deep green. Wise ones believe the sweetest water can be found in shallow wells beneath these strands of greenery.
Morning Glory in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming is a glorious sight. The artist who created this landscape experimented with various colors. She could not settle on using a single color and discarded her pallet here for us to find.
This grandfather tree in Arches National Park, Utah often told tales of wild places to his many grandchildren. When he passed, they honored him by preserving the bones of his existence and planting golden flowers near his roots.
Herds of clouds collect over northern Nevada in the spring, deciding whether they will release showers in the upcoming seasons. If you listen closely, you can hear their whispers drift by you carried by the desert wind.
Do you see the largest sea stack in this photo of Ruby Beach in Washington State? I think it was a giant beaver who was busy eating and ignored the incoming tide. The beaver became stuck in the sand, unable to escape. She has been there for so long that a row of trees took root along her spine and grew to towering heights.
Do any of the pretty as a picture places you have visited have hidden tales?
This gigantic pine is Big Tree, AKA Big Red, the biggest Ponderosa pine, Pinus ponderosa var. ponderosa, ever recorded. It’s located in LaPine State Park, north of La Pine, Oregon. Though it lost 30 feet of its crown during severe storms, it is still the largest Ponderosa pine in circumference.
Here are some facts about this tree:
- Circumference: 28 feet 11 inches
- Height: 167 feet
- Crown spread: 68 feet
- Approximate age: 500+ years
- Board feet: 25,000
LaPine State Park Manager, Joe Wanamaker, gave insights about Big Red in an article in the local Source Weekly. He thought it was spared from being logged due to evidence of fire damage. This may have affected the quality of the wood harvested. Wanamaker also pointed out this tree is growing in an ideal location where water tends to collect in the soil from the nearby Deschutes River.
A paved, ADA accessible, 1/4 mile trail leads to this unique sight. Foot traffic around this much-loved attraction caused soil compaction that threatened its growth. A protective fence was constructed around it in the year 2000.
In this map of the park, from Oregon State Parks, Big Tree is located in the lower right corner.
On our recent visit to Yellowstone National Park, we took a side trip to Yellowstone Hot Springs. This attraction is located in Gardiner, Montana, about ten minutes north of the park.
An interesting history
In the last 100+ years, this site has passed through many hands. In 1899, French-Canadian immigrant, Julius LaDuke, staked a mining claim here and discovered it contained hot springs. He created LaDuke Hot Springs Resort to serve miners and visitors to the area. The resort included a large plunge bath and several smaller private baths. A two-story hotel was built nearby. LaDuke entered into a short-lived purchase agreement with William F. Cogswell. This was one of many setbacks in his life.
Visitors traveled by coach to Electric, later known as Aldridge, and then had to cross the 150-foot wide river to the springs. LaDuke employed barges, then a cable ferry, then a ferryboat, and finally a swinging footbridge for his guests.
Guests rumored to have visited LaDuke Hot Springs Resort include President Theodore Roosevelt and famous frontierswoman, Calamity Jane.
Meanwhile, Electric Hot Springs Company made plans to build a hospital and sanitorium one mile to the north. They employed Frank Corwin as their resident doctor. Since they needed to pipe hotter water to their site, they attempted to purchase LaDuke’s property but he refused. He sold it to John H. Holliday for $6,000 who sold it to Corwin 20 days later for $1. Corwin Springs Hospital operated from 1909 to 1916. An unexplained fire destroyed the buildings in 1916.
From 1922 to 1940, Eagle’s Nest Dude Ranch was located here. The current owners, Church Universal and Triumphant, acquired the property in the 1980s.
Read the fascinating history of this site at “Taking in the Water” at LaDuke Hot Springs Resort.
This historic site re-opened in March of 2019 after extensive renovations.
Yellowstone Hot Springs
When we visited in the first days of June, there were only about ten visitors. This site is well-maintained and inviting.
The unique characteristics of these pools, and their suggested health benefits, are highlighted on their website.
Two smaller round plunge pools are located within a larger pool. One of the plunge pools has water temperature warmer than the main pool, while the other has colder water temperatures.
Every day, staff posts the current water temperatures on a board near the changing rooms. The large pool averages 98-100 degrees Fahrenheit. The “hot” plunge pool averages 103-105 degrees, and the “cold” pool averages 60-65 degrees.
After lounging in the warm pools for a while, the cold pool feels much colder! 😉
The grounds are landscaped and clean with lots of places to sit and take in the views.
Even the changing/shower area is nice and tidy.
The entrance sits at the foot of scenic mountain landscapes. Yellowstone Destinations offers tent and RV sites right next door.
I have been to many hot springs in my travels and this was one of the better ones. We plan to visit again on our next trip to Yellowstone.
creatures of the mist
graze in meadowlands of steam
whisperers of warmth
Here are ten pieces of alley art you can view along NW Gasoline Alley in Bend, Oregon. I previously featured artwork decorating another alley in Tin Pan Alley Art in Bend.
This collection of artwork is part of a public initiative supporting local arts and culture in Bend, Oregon. The paintings take Bend’s outdoor lifestyle into consideration.
The people in Alley Art
The first piece is Firebreather by Avlis Leumas. This artwork serves to recognize the work of wildland firefighters in the past, present, and future. When it sells, half of the proceeds will go to The Wildland Firefighter Foundation, a group providing emotional and financial support to firefighters.
This piece, by Sheila Dunn, is a portrait of legendary Bend skier, Emil Nordeen. He moved here from Sweden in 1920 and was instrumental in establishing the Bend Skyliners Mountaineering Club. The group promoted local skiing as well as search and rescue and alpine climbing.Continue reading
We witnessed a symphony in the skies over Shoshone National Forest. Spectacular cloud formations and landforms are common sights near Cody, Wyoming. Dramatic wispy clouds such as these often fill the skies.
We just returned from a trip to Yellowstone National Park and the Norris geysers were spectacular, as always. Some of the geysers are big and showy; others are small but still impressive.
The picture below is of Steamboat Geyser. Gray stone, dappled with red and brown-colored rocks, surrounds the vent.
In 2020, this geyser erupted 48 times. Water shoots 300+ feet into the air, making it the tallest in the world. This year, once again, we just missed its latest eruption. It went off on May 31, 2021, the day we drove to the park from Bend, Oregon.
Here’s an overview of the basin. If you don’t have time to walk the trails, You’ll get great views from this observation area.
Here’s a view from the trail. There are geysers everywhere you look in the Norris Geyser Basin.Continue reading
The Warner Wetlands of south central Oregon are beautiful throughout the year. I dug into my archives to find photos taken long ago there, supplemented with a few recent ones.
You can view wispy sunsets over the wetlands in the summer.
Moody cloudscapes over them in the spring.
Snow and ice covering them in the winter.Continue reading
I recently hiked the Trail of Molten Lands at Lava Lands Visitor Center and paused to take in the volcanic views. The center is located within the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, a place with many recreational opportunities.
I took these photos from the Phil Brogan Viewpoint. On a clear day, you can see Mt. Bachelor, the Three Sisters, and other peaks in the distance. On this day, clouds covered them in soft shrouds. The visitor center reopened on May 20, a couple days after my visit. It’s a great place to learn more of this area’s volcanic past.
Here are a couple pictures of the volcanic views from a closer angle.
This 1.1 mile trail winds through basalt lava flows surrounding Lava Butte to the viewpoint.
I’ve been out and about more recently and photographed several spectacular sights seen in blue and green.
I thought the pictures deserved a story, so I made up a tiny tale to go with each one. At a virtual conference I attended yesterday, I learned a “micro-story” is a form of flash fiction with 300 or fewer words. I’m calling the following stories “mini-micros” since they range from 43 to 58 words. Not sure if they qualify as true stories, but they were fun to write.
A crowd of manzanita shrubs watches a shifting skyscape in awe. Their pink blossoms open in silent applause. Snow-covered Cascade volcanoes rumble in the background, taking in the show from a safe distance. Steam billows from their peaks, merging with the dancing clouds.
Clouds emerge from a crack in the ground on a chilly spring morning. They radiate outward from the ridgetop and tree branches stretch and reach towards them. Striated boulders celebrate by tumbling and crashing down a steep slope. An osprey drifting overhead crows in anticipation as another glorious day begins.Continue reading
The stone façade surrounding the 5,000-year-old Newgrange monument in County Meath, Ireland is impressive. However, I learned Newgrange’s façade is not what it appears to be.
I liked the way the patterns in the wall changed from dark-colored stones to dark dotted with white…
To light dotted with dark stones.
The white stones over the entryway make it stand out.Continue reading
Here’s a sepia tone view of Fort Rock Homestead Village Museum in the Oregon Outback. Twelve buildings built in the early 1900s were moved to this site. It’s one of my favorite roadside attractions in Central Oregon.
Last week we visited Crack in the Ground in Central Oregon near Christmas Valley. You may be wondering what exactly this place is. Well… it’s a huge crack in the ground in the middle of the desert.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was impressed by the crack’s picturesque angles and curved surfaces.
There’s a 2-mile trail inside that reaches a depth of ~70 feet below the surface. We took the left path that has a more gradual entrance. It’s in the middle of the picture below. This trail is relatively easy but if you go the whole length, expect to climb over boulders and through some cracks.
But how did this crack get here? It’s an ancient volcanic fissure. I learned in most climates, fissures fill up with soil and rock from erosion. Since it’s so dry here, there has been relatively little filling.
Crack in the Ground sits within the Four Craters Lava Bed. During the Pleistocene, four cone volcanoes were active here. A shallow depression formed when older heavier rock sunk. The fissure opened near the edge where there was tension along a fault zone. This Bureau of Land Management map shows the extent of the lava beds and the location of Crack in the Ground.Continue reading
These street scenes in Dublin happened on March 6, 2020, six days before the lockdown. On this St. Patrick’s Day I thought it would be nice to remember what “normal” used to look like.
Here are a couple buskers downtown. See the crowds pausing to take in their performance?
They were not allowed to perform around the winter holidays due to COVID-19 concerns. Some traveled to Cork or Galway where they didn’t have the same restrictions.
Here are a couple views of the famous Temple Bar. Lots of people out and about.Continue reading