Pulling into Bend, there were several choices for places to camp. All of the RV parks seemed unusually expensive, ranging from $35-$50 per night. There was, however, Tumalo State Park. At $25 a night with full hook-ups or $20 without, this was the best deal around. Not all of the sites had hook-ups, but we managed to get one with. We could only reserve two days at a time as they were all reservation only spaces, but this was not a problem since there were enough spaces available that we could move to another if ours was reserved out from under us. The day was gorgeous, so we hung around in the campground, reading and noshing on a smoked almond/tortillas concoction Mary came up with – washed down with some truly outstanding homemade lemoncello we’d squirreled away before leaving in August, provided to us by friends Jeff & Betty. In the evening we enjoyed our second campfire of the trip. We stayed four days overall and explored the eastern Cascades.
It was a bit of a disappointment as we took a couple of 100 mile drive trips looking for fall color. This area of the Cascades is mostly evergreen and lava. We stopped first at the Dee Wright Observatory. This place was constructed entirely out of the abundant lava rock in the area. It was actually pretty cool to walk the area, and pretty much as far as the eye could see was old lave flows. It is always amazing to me how little grows in these beds. The old flows are at least 400 years old and still, after all that time of heavy snowfalls and pounding rains, very little grows through the hard surfaces and cracks.It looks like it could have been deposited there only last year. There is a commanding view all around, and the makers went to great lengths to highlight the surrounding points of interest. It was really cold up there though. The sun shone, but to wind bit like icy teeth. We spent a little time walking a few of the paths, but soon continued on our search for leaf color.
Once we came around to the near side of the Cascades, we began seeing some color change and we stopped several times to explore. We found a nice little hike to a waterfall called Proxy Falls, and enjoyed a short hike through nicely colored foliage, mossy rocks and pine forest. We spent a good hour photographing the falls and steam before continuing on to another set of falls. These were called Sahalie Falls. They were big and booming and the river flowed fast and frothy. The light was very harsh, so it was difficult to effectively photograph, but half the fun is just being in the presence of such powerful water flows.
Next day we took care of chores and avoided any long driving, but Mary had another drive planned the following day. This one took us by several lakes, but most all of the foliage was evergreen, so we made a change and decided to checkout another volcanic area. This was the Newberry National Volcanic Monument. We found another waterfall and later discovered a really cool obsidian deposit. The Obsidian Flow Trail was pretty short, but it took us up and around the flow and really was impressive. We photographed a small lake adjacent to the flow, which resulted in a few interesting abstracts.
We are now returning to California. It is looking like our best chance to catch fall color will be the eastern Sierra’s, so we will be traveling down the eastern side before heading back west through Yosemite and home.