Road Trip – Fall River, Oregon – April 2015

Tuesday April 21:  Today I have my last campfire here at McKay Crossing along Paulina Creek west of the Newberry National Monument in central Oregon.

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Last campfire at McKay

I take photos as I say good-bye before we have breakfast and begin the packing routine.

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Saying good-by to the tall ponderosa trees

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and to Paulina Creek

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Time to leave our McKay home

Packing takes a good three hours since we have become so settled in after being here for two weeks.  Odds and ends of loose stuff go in bags; everything is packed neatly so it will all fit, but things are becoming harder to find.  The next time we set up, a complete reorganization will be necessary.

Once we are finally packed, we head to the little town of Sunriver, a few miles down the highway.  After a tasty lunch at the Village Bar and Grill, we find out way to Lori’s place, a sanctuary overlooking the Deschutes River.

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The Deschutes River

Lori is an artist and her paintings and sculptures grace every room of her home. Some of her work reminds me of Leaning Tree cards, and indeed, as we later learn, she is one of the Leaning Tree artists.

We warm ourselves at her wood stove and then sit in the sunshine on the deck overlooking the river as we chat about the environmental issues that affect all of us; Lori speaks from the perspective of an activist and Clifford from the perspective of a researcher.  It is as though we are all words on the same page, each of us contributing to the story being told – hopefully the story of a return to wholeness for the planet and all life on it.

Later, after dinner and more sharing, we listen to the frogs (or toads) as they “rivet rivet rivet” through the night.

Wednesday April 22: In the morning I admire the lovely light that warms the trees and the meadows along the river bank, but taking photos through the screen does not work, so this picture is only in my mind.  I accompany Lori down to the bank where she feeds the ducks, some domestic and a pair of mallards.

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Lori feeding the ducks

After breakfast, Clifford has a radio interview with a local station and then we take some time to catch up with email before heading out for the afternoon.  Lori is taking us sight-seeing on our way to the place where Clifford will be giving a talk this evening.  We go to the headwaters of Fall River, a place where a spring is the birthplace of a creek that soon becomes a river that flows into the Deschutes.

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Birthplace of Fall River

It is amazing that so much water can come forth with so little fanfare.   The crystal-clear water is surrounded by mossy rocks and logs, creating a fairyland habitat.

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Moss and green grass

There is an old ranger station here, no longer in use but still maintained, which is perhaps the one where Clifford spent time with friends over 40 years ago.  Inside and out, it looks familiar to him.

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The old ranger station

Further down the road, we walk along the Fall River, admiring its lovely clarity and the reflections on its surface as it flows gently toward the Deschutes.

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Fall River

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Reflections on the crystal-clear water of Fall River

Friends of Lori’s are hosting Clifford’s talk in their lovely home, also along the Deschutes River.  From their back yard I am delighted to find a view of Mount Bachelor, which has been elusive.  I have had only the briefest glimpses of it, even though it is one of the most outstanding peaks in the area, the view always being blocked by trees or the contours of the land.

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Mount Bachelor

There is a good turn-out for Clifford’s presentation, which is received with renewed enthusiasm and appreciation for the work that he is doing.

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Cllifford’s talk in Sunriver, near Bend, Oregon

It is late by time we return to Lori’s place and we soon retire to our rooms.  Tomorrow we will head to Ashland for the next talk, but tonight the “rivet rivet rivet” of the frogs keeps us company, reminding us in their own way of the importance of restoring a healthy environment to the planet.

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Carol and Clifford in central Oregon
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