The Oregon Whirlwind

The last weekend of July we took a three day trip to Central Oregon to visit my dad and his fiance. Bend/Redmond is the perfect meeting point between Seattle and Reno, almost exactly halfway between the two cities. We left Seattle around 2pm and sat in traffic for hours (as you do in Seattle), eventually making it to downtown Portland for dinner.


Public art in the shape of a bell pepper skeleton


The Hawthorn Bridge at dusk

We ate a delicious little Thai restaurant (Thai Peacock) near Powell’s City of Books, and took a short stroll along the waterfront after dinner before hopping back in the car to finish the rest of the drive.


Plaza at Waterfront Park


Another plaza, another fountain

We ended up getting to the Eagle Crest Resort outside Redmond at 1:00am, only 20 minutes after my dad arrived.  Bed was calling but we were still able to plan on hike the Matthieu Lakes loop the next morning.


Oregon peaks, all in a line


One of the Three Sisters


South Matthieu Lake

The weather was perfect for the 5.2 mile hike, but toward the end the bugs came out and started eating some of us alive, reminding us how lucky we are to live in climates not conducive to mosquitoes.  After the hike we headed into Bend for dinner and drinks (including a delicious stout milkshake) at McMenamins Old St. Francis School.


Nearing the summit


Old lava flows in front of Mount Washington

Sunday we got up early again and headed out for another hike in the Central Cascades, this time up Black Crater (just south of Saturday’s hike).  This 7.6 miles hike provided us with stunning 360° views of the surrounding volcanoes, lava flows, and forests.  Doing this hike with two geologists was a major bonus, and we might have hiked down with more than a few rocks to take home.


Looking Northeast toward Redmond area


A white tree framing the volcanic neck


Volcanic rock galore

We then dropped my dad off at the room and ventured over to Smith Rock State Park and Peter Skene Ogden State Park.  I had been to Smith Rock twice growing up and loving it so it was a must stop on this trip as well.


A climber’s paradise


A basking lizard


The Crooked River carves its way through the park

I also remembered driving over and being in awe of the Crooked River canyon during those family vacations.  However, we never had the time to stop and walk over the gorge and I was not going to miss that opportunity again.  We were not disappointed by the 300ft vertical drop off, geology, and picturesque bridges.  Both state parks are well worth a visit even if you are just passing through on Highway 97.


The historic bridge over the Crooked River gorge


Layer after layer of columnar jointing

That might seem like a very full Sunday, but there was still more in store.  Upon our return to the resort we all helped with dinner, (making four delicious pizzas with every topping you can imagine) and watched deer roam the golf course.  Then the sun started to set…


The shadows lengthened and the colours built


A sky full of colour

I couldn’t pass up the chance for a few artsy shots as well.


Lovers on the hillside


Mt. Jefferson through the lens

The sun eventually set leaving behind a beautifully black sky with a billions stars all around us.  It also just happened to be there between the peaks of the Alpha Capricornid and Perseid Meteor Showers so we were treated with some brilliant shooting stars before bed.  Luckily we didn’t have to stay up to late to see the show because we were getting up early Monday morning to head down to Crater Lake before the long drive back to Seattle.


Glimpsing Crater Lake


Wizard Island from the top of The Watchman

Crater Lake is about a two hour drive south from Redmond, but we figured we might as well swing by while we were this close (relatively speaking).  The day was perfect for stopping by, with clouds slowly building to provide great reflections and depth.


Across the lake


The brilliant blues of the caldera


A shack above the water

After completing the loop drive it was time to grudgingly hit the highway again.  Only a seven hour drive separated us from a short sleep, then back to work again the next day.  This whirlwind trip was the perfect short reprieve we needed, and getting to visit my dad and his fiance was the icing on the cake.

Now where to go for our next trip…

Photos taken 25-28 July, 2014 with a Nikon D7100

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