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.

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