Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Awesome Central Oregon!

Well, summer is officially over.  Labor Day weekend is behind us, school started back for my son today, and seems the weather went from beautiful to stormy in just the last two days!  I'm a bit sad to see summer leave this year, which is unusual for me since I love September, the start of football season, the crispness in the air and the beautiful colors of fall.  But I realized this morning while taking my son to school that he's a JUNIOR!  That means only two more years before he heads off to college.  My baby!  He grew up way too fast.  And in a couple of weeks he will be able to get his license.  I'm still at odds about that one....!

Last week my two sons and I went down to central Oregon for a short vacation.  Hubby decided he needed to stay and work since he took a week off during the wedding and will be taking a week off next month.  He and I are planning a 10-day vacation to New England in October!  Can't wait!  Anyway, I wanted to share some of my photos from this amazing place!  I always thought of central Oregon as dry, hot dessert land.  Oh my...not in the least!  It was absolutely gorgeous!  We stayed in Bend, which is a beautiful little city!  After we arrived there on our first day, we went out to explore a bit of Bend.

This was a pretty little park in downtown Bend.  A nice walking trail ran along the river.  Those homes across the way have a beautiful view!
 There were ducks everywhere!

The second day we drove over to John Day Fossil Beds National Park.  Our first stop was the Visitor's Center and then this historic sheep ranch.  This was a very interesting place.  I love old homes and seeing how the people lived long ago.

 I loved the grounds and I especially loved the huge wrap around porch!

Old farm equipment out by the barn.

This was on the drive to Dayville.  We were hungry and looking for a place to eat.  When we saw a sign that said Dayville--7miles, we were desperately hoping the town was big enough to have a place where we could eat.

And fortunately it had this one cute little cafe there.  The waitress was so nice and the food was great!

Right across the street from the cafe was the Dayville Mercantile.  This was a cute display along the side.  Justin decided to join the ole geezer at the Loose Tooth Saloon!  LOL!

From there, we drove to the Painted Hills section of the national park.

This was such a pretty and interesting place!
I loved the contrast in colors, landscape and textures here!

We drove back and decided to stop at Smith Rock State Park, since it was on our way back.  It was getting dark and I knew we wouldn't have long here.  But when I saw this place, I was in total awe!  I knew we would have to come back during the day, which we did.  But I DID capture this great shot of a climber making his way across a line between the two mountains.  SO interesting, but a little too scary for me!

The third day we went to Newberry Volcanic National Monument.  This whole area was amazing!  The first stop was driving up to the Lava Butte.  They give you thirty minute passes to go up since parking is limited.

While up there we hiked up to this building.  There was a room on the lower floor with exhibits and the upper area was closed off because it was being used.  This building also serves as a fire lookout tower.  Fire danger was EXTREME while we were here.  The trail continued on down and around, where I was able to look back up and get this photo.

Looking down from the Butte area, you could see miles and miles of volcanic remains, including the trail through the lava beds, which was our second stop.

This was down in the lava bed.  This is actually an active volcano that covers about 500 square miles.
We were lucky to hit it during the "color" season.  It was really pretty.

Our third stop this day was Benham Falls.  This was a pretty hike along the river that took us to what was supposedly a water fall.

We hit some raging waters and a pretty cascade.  I wouldn't have called it a waterfall, but it was still very pretty.

From there, we headed south to another part of the park.  We came upon this pretty spot on our way.  Now THIS is a waterfall!

Our next stop was the drive up to Paulina Peak Overlook.  This was a fun drive on a curvy narrow road.  I LOVE drives like this!
Lots of pretty territorial views from up here.

My son playing around at the top of the rocks.

And then it was on to our last stop of the day.  The BIG Obsidian Flow.  This place was amazing!
 Another fun hike through rocky ground!

 This shiny black rock was everywhere!

This was our last stop on day three.

Day four was our last day before heading back home.  I HAD to go back to Smith Rock State Park!
The is the view from the top.  Of course, we had to go DOWN into the canyon.  We were there at central Oregon...HIGH DESSERT!  Just saying!  LOL!

So, we started down the VERY STEEP trail.  This is my older son, just starting down on the rocky, uneven first part of the trail.

Then we came to a place where we had to make a decision...take a shorter, VERY steep trail, or take a longer, not as steep trail.  We chose the shorter, VERY steep trail!  What was I thinking!

But we made it down, and my first thought was "What goes down, must come up!"  LOL!  We hiked the trail along the river, nothing but sheer awesome beauty in EVERY direction you turned!

There were climbers all over these huge rocks, so it was only fitting to come across this little station.

I came across this fellow and had to take a picture.  He was so cute!  I thought this was a wonderful idea to put shoes on to protect his pads.

It was time to head back up.  I gave the car keys to my sons and told them I'd get there when I got there!  I chose the longer, less steep trail back up.  I couldn't believe how steep it was, and I could only imagine how difficult it would have been if I'd gone back up using the even steeper trail.  As it was I had to make several stops along the way.  Mind you, it WAS the middle of the day, sun shining bright, in the high dessert of central Oregon!  LOL!   I FINALLY made it back up and found a picnic table under some shade.  I sat there for about 15 minutes catching my breath and cooling off.  And looking down at this gorgeous view!

And then I looked up to see these hikers at the top!  All I could think was "they must be younger and in a lot better shape than I!"  I finally made it back to the car where my boys were waiting patiently for me.

So it was time to head home.  We chose the route that took us toward Mt. Hood and Government Camp, which is a ski resort town.  This was a beautiful drive with simultaneous views of both Mt. Bachelor and Mt. Hood.  It was gorgeous, but I was too tired to stop and take a picture! LOL!  After lunch in Government Camp, we drove on to the Historic Columbia River Highway.  This was the first stop up at the Crown Point Vista House.  Beautiful views from up here looking across the Columbia River over at Washington state!

 And then it was stopping and hiking the trails to each of the waterfalls.  This was the first one.

 The second falls.

And then it was on to the ever famous Multnomah Falls.  These double falls are beautiful but very difficult to photograph.

 Took this eerie route back to the car.  Love the moss covering the walls.

 And finally one last waterfall before heading home!
It was a wonderful four days!  We were headed home on Friday...the beginning of the Labor Day holiday weekend.  I know Portland traffic oh too well, as well as driving through Tacoma, Washington.  So ending our day when we did and where we did worked out perfectly for us.  We missed most of the holiday traffic.  And we had one last stop...dinner at Joe's Crab Shack in Vancouver, WA.  

 It is located on the Columbia River right at the I-5 bridge that runs between Oregon and Washington.  We were so lucky and got a table out on the deck right next to the water.  This was our gorgeous view!  What a fitting end to a wonderful four days!

Thank you for letting me relive our trip to central Oregon with you!  Hope you enjoyed it!  ~~Annie


  1. I don't know where north you are, but welcome to Oregon:) If you liked that, you will have to check out Anthony Lakes and the Eagle caps at some point.

    1. Thanks so much for the tip! I'm up near Seattle, but I will definitely have to check those places out when I get a chance! Oregon is a beautiful state! ~~Annie

  2. Wow! What awesome pictures. It looks like you had a great time. I have never visited this area of the country but would really like to one day. Thanks for sharing.

  3. It's definitely beautiful country! If you ever do make it out here, make sure to visit beautiful Washington, as well! :)

  4. Wow Annie..You made me tired just looking at the trails you went hiking on. Very Beautiful country but if I had to cross a bridge to get there that would stop me in my tracks but I got to see a lot of it in your pictures right here in my computer room...Thanks for sharing :)

  5. LOL, Nancy! Can't believe you've lived in so many places all over the country and afraid to cross a bridge! How on earth did you get from here to there? LOL!

  6. Wow what great pictures! The nature is wonderful! I think I have to go there one day.
    Greetings from Germany

  7. Hi Annie, Thanks for another great trip. Loved the double falls. Beautiful pics. Loved that bridge that went across....made for a beautiful pic. Must get busy and show some of my cruise pics. Went to Canada...east side...St. John and Halifax. And have some of the Statue of Liberty when we left on Mon. Should have went out on Sat and got some clearer pics of it. It was foggy when we left on Mon.
    Have a great week.

    1. Hi Lois...didn't know went on a fun! That's on my bucket list! So is the Statue of Liberty! Get those pics posted! ~~Annie


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