A Brush with the Cascades

Evening at Wizard Island. Crater Lake, OR

The evening before we left Crater, we went out along the rim in hopes of a grand sunset over the lake. Clouds hung over the lake all day and we thought there was a good chance for a fiery show in the evening. Well, it wasn’t to be. Still, there were some nice images to be made over the lake and surrounding area.

Thunder shower.

On our way out of the park the next morning, we stopped briefly at a couple of the overlooks. The lake had granted still another new look. This morning found the waters to be quite calm, and the reflective qualities were really brought out. We had to stop to photograph.

Crater Lake reflections. OR

About an hour of driving brought us to our next destination – the town of Oakridge in the Cascade Mountains. We found a wonderful forest service campground just outside of town right on the Willamette (dammit) River. It was like camping in a rain forest – including the heat and humidity. It’s been in the 90’s for the past several days and we have been reluctant to embark on any long hikes. The country is begging for it, but we are just not up to difficult hikes in this kind of heat. Instead, we took a 62 mile, CD guided tour provided by the local park service outpost and drove the Aufderheide portion of the West Cascade Scenic Byway. It was a wise choice. We got an overview of the area, saw some wonderful scenery, all in the comfort of our air conditioned Rav4. As I discovered early on, photographing forests is not easy. I don’t think I made a single exposure of the forest all day. There were a couple of covered bridges worth looking at, but I just don’t get how to approach the forest yet. It is becoming the challenge of the trip for me.

Office Covered Bridge near Westfir, OR

Inside the Office bridge.

Belknap Covered Bridge, OR

Inside Belknap

We did eventually come to realize that if we gained significant altitude, there was a definite decrease in temperature. So we ventured out another day up to 4000 feet to check out a couple of nearby waterfalls. The Salt Creek Falls is a 258 ft. drop into a dramatic grotto. A fairly easy trail hugs the cliffside and allowed for some terrific viewpoints.

Mary at Salt Creek Falls, OR

The base of Salt Creek Falls, OR

Lichen covered tree and Salt Creek Falls.

A really nice 3-mile loop trail brought us to the very base of the Diamond Creek Falls. It is broad where Salt Creek is tall. Not as dramatic overall, but it holds it’s own in charm. Actually there were many more vantage points and ways of shooting. We stopped here for lunch and an hour of photographing before heading back.

Diamond Creek Falls, OR

I’ve been wanting to visit this part of Oregon since I heard Greg Brown’s song, Eugene he sings (sort of) about how he loves to travel the backroads, the country, but beginning in the Cascades, looking for fishing spots and camping near the Willamette. Here is a You-tube video of the song. The video part sucks, but just close your eyes and visualize his words and you can approximate what I feel about being in the outdoors.

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