We knew the the Oregon coast is spectacularly beautiful, but were surprised to learn today that the interior is also stunning. We left our Bend campground driving through a toney neighborhood advertising houses for sale starting at only $800,000. This neighborhood was clogged with roundabouts, a traffic control device best left in Great Britain in my opinion.
Then we were on the Cascade Lakes Byway on our way to Mt. Bachelor, a ski mountain. At that point the highway was a four-lane divided and we were almost the only ones on the road. It must be much busier in the winter. The snow topped mountain gleamed in the sunshine, but the road to the top was closed. These folks need to learn how much money then can earn taking photo-nuts like us to the top in the off season. We passed numerous Sno-Parks, what the locals call cross country skiing areas. As the road narrowed, we began to see more and more peaks: Dutchman, Broken Top, Mt. Washington, North, Middle and South Sister. We need a guide to tell them all apart. North of the ski areas the land was national forest.There were many little lakes, hiking trails, and places to camp. Some of the forest was thick and lush, but some looked liked it had been aggressively logged with no thought to replace the trees removed. And occasionally there were areas that looked like a fire had come through.
At one little lake we chatted with a local photographer who recommend that we visit Smith Rock State Park a totally different terrain with softer rocks of tuff and basalt at lower elevations that attract climbers. Smith Rock was so big it took us a while to spot the climbers who were inching their was up the sheer rock face. We read there are 1,800 separate climbing paths in this park. Farm land was all around the state park, including a pumpkin farm that gave a jolt of color to our photos. This farm was irrigated. If you see green around here, that means that water has been added. There must be enough snow melt from all those mountains around to keep the water flowing year round.
It's cold here in the high desert getting down to 24º last night. There are folks in tents camped around us. We're glad that's not us. But the sun is out and gradually by late afternoon the temperature rises into the 60º's. As long as the sun stays out, we can always put on another layer of clothing and be happy in this beautiful spot.