Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Heading north to escape the smoke

Today, the smoke from the fire was really thick. It was starting to bother both of us so we decided to head north away from the fire. After driving through a few Forest Service campgrounds along the McKenzie River, we would up at the Santiam Flats FS campground on Detroit Lake. Another amazing find; just look at the picture of what we see from our campsite. It's where the Santiam River dumps into Detroit Lake. It's a busy place. Lots of families & fisherman but well worth a night's stop. Even this far north of the fire, the air is still hazy.
I just checked on the internet. There are two forest fires in this general area. Neither is contained so I suppose the smoke will be with us for a few more days.
On Thursday, we drove to Estacada. Filled with water, dumped the tanks then stayed at a state park for the night. On Friday we continued on. Stopped at Joes Donuts in Sandy. Probably the best donuts we've ever eaten. We're getting much better. Sharing the goodies because we're both trying to lose a few more pounds. We stopped in four Forest Service campgrounds; they were all full. Around here, school doesn't start until after Labor Day so the families are still out camping. We found a free FS area near the Trilium Lake campground. It's much better then any of the campgrounds we drove through. Very large sites, nicely wooded.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Lava Lands

This part of Oregon is just saturated with volcanoes. On Monday, we visited the Lava Lands Visitor Center south of Bend. There was a paved path running through the lava fields so the three of us took a very nice walk. Lots of informative signs. It's always nice knowing what you're looking at. We were so impressed by the Visitor Center, that we drove to the Newberry National Volcanic Monument and spent the night at the Little Crater Lake campground. The campground was great.
On Tuesday we drove to Sisters. Stopped by a bakery for some bread & cookies, then had lunch at a bar-b-que place. Sisters is an interesting little town. Very touristy, but we had an enjoyable morning walking around. I stopped in the Forest Service office and picked up some good camping information. The lady told me most of the campgrounds along our intended route, OR 242, were closed because they were fighting a forest fire out that way. We stopped at the Dee Wright Observatory which was built by the CCC in the 1930's. It provides a great view of the lava fields and the distant mountains(volcanoes).
We stopped at the prettiest little spring fed lake for lunch then continued on to the Paradise campground near McKenzie Bridge. The campground in on the McKenzie river. We are now on the "rainy" side if the Cascades. The mountains are so high, the land to the east is in a "rain shadow". Very little precipitation falls east of the Cascades. Look at the picture of the moss covered trees. Until today, we've mostly been in the high desert region. What a dramatic difference. From now on, we'll be on the west side, all the way north to the Columbia River.
On the drive here, we passed camps set up for the firefighters and a helicopter base. Tonight we can smell the smoke in the campground.