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.

Panther Flat 1 - G1x 001-LR
Last campfire at McKay

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

Panther Flat 1 - G1x 004
Saying good-by to the tall ponderosa trees

Panther Flat 1 - G1x 006
and to Paulina Creek

Panther Flat 1 - G1x 008
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.

Panther Flat 1 - G1x 017
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.

Panther Flat 1 - G1x 010
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.

Panther Flat 1 - G1x 018
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.

Panther Flat 1 - G1x 025
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.

Panther Flat 1 - G1x 030
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.

Panther Flat 1 - G1x 034
Fall River

Panther Flat 1 - G1x 044-LR
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.

Panther Flat 1 - G1x 049
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.

Panther Flat 1 - G1x 050
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.

Panther Flat 1 - G1x 028
Carol and Clifford in central Oregon

Road Trip – Paulina Creek 4 – April 2015

Paulina Creek 2 098
Double selfie at McGregor Viewpoint

Wednesday April 15: It is a chilly 18 degrees this morning, but by time I get up, it is already sunny in camp so I don’t bother with a campfire. I was going to sit in the sun and write in my journal, but instead I walk along the creek bank taking photos of ice-coated blades of grass. It is really a delight to walk about, warmed by the sun with the blue sky overhead.

Paulina Creek 2 080
Icicle grass

Today I start reading the journal started in 1983. Part of this journal, beginning in 1984, I had written out and emailed to Dan in 2008 to give him a sense of the family that he was going to be born into in the fall of 1984. Unfortunately, he became angry with what he saw as my selfishness when I mentioned being depressed, overwhelmed with raising a family and taking care of a farm with little support. It is too bad that the connection I was hoping to establish with him didn’t happen, but at least this journal is not as pathetic as the 1979 journal that I read last fall. In spite of difficulties, I continued to be involved with music and other creative activities as well as spending time with friends. What is missing is more of the good and fun stuff that my kids were doing; luckily photos from that time period are reminders of that side of my stressed-out life. And I don’t often mention being happy, which is a sad commentary on my life back then.

In the evening I write a blog about our stay in Deschutes Oregon State Park and get the text uploaded to WordPress, but the internet connection is not strong enough to allow photos to be uploaded – so I will leave it for another day.

Thursday April 16: Even though the morning starts out chilly, it gets up to 63 degrees under a beautiful blue sky. Good morning for a shower, which means heating a pan of water and then finding a private spot in the forest to dump some of the hot water over one’s body, suds up, and then rinse off. It works fine as long as it is warm enough outside and private enough. Still a little brisk when we do showers this morning, but sure feels good.

Our hot spots are flukey today. Mine doesn’t work well even though Clifford has called the company to reset it; his goes dead but won’t charge with USB, which is what we have using the solar panels. “Go with the Flow” is important to keep in mind; so what if I can’t get on WordPress, so what if I can’t do the CI email…..

We decide to go for a drive back to McGregor Viewpoint so I can take photos on this blue-sky day. I’m concerned that in the previous photos the snow on the caldera will not distinct enough due to the clouds that afternoon.

Paulina Creek 2 119-LR
Newberry Caldera, Little Deschutes River, beautiful blue sky

While I take more photos, Clifford continues his research at a nearby picnic table and then we take a double selfie – thanks to the timer on the camera.

Paulina Creek 2 111
Clifford continues to study while I take photos

Becka calls while we are there and I tell her about the old journal written when she was one to two years old. Interesting to hear her recount some good memories of her childhood.

In the evening I download the photos taken over the last several days and look at them while we have our CI staff call. Then I do a little more editing, but the internet is still too intermittent to upload any photos, so once again I’ll “go with the flow” and leave it for another day, being grateful for having another view of the Newberry Caldera on this beautiful blue-sky day.

Paulina Creek 2 107
Newberry Caldera on a beautiful blue-sky day

Road Trip – Deschutes 2 – April 2015

Deschutes 040
The Deschutes River in the early morning

Sunday April 5, 2015: I am up before Clifford, make myself a cup of organic French press coffee, and then sit in the sunshine on the bench by the river. Today is Easter and I take these few quiet moments to contemplate who or what Jesus was or is. Somewhere amidst the baffling contradictions, there is a truth that is significant.

It is chilly out, so I decide to build a little campfire. I didn’t bring much wood and there certainly isn’t anything to scavenge here, so it is more of a token effort.

Deschutes 028
A token campfire in the morning

When Clifford gets up, we have breakfast and then walk up to the history kiosk at the edge of the campground. Several plaques with sketches and journal entries from Oregon Trail emigrants paint a picture of the hardships they had to endure. There is an old once-covered wagon, the ribbing now bare like the skeleton of a long-dead creature.

Deschutes 001 (2)
The overland vehicle of the 1850’s

On the hillside above the campground, the remains of the old trail can still be seen and from the sketches we try to see where the trail on the opposite side of the river would have gone as the horses and wagons made their laborious way back up to the top of the bluff where the traveling would be somewhat easier.

Deschutes 062 (2)
Remains of the trail above the campground

Because of the difficulty of crossing the Deschutes River, many goods and supplies for building new homes had to be left behind at this point, causing further hardship to the Oregon Trail families as they continued the journey westward.

Deschutes 052
The rugged Oregon landscape along the Columbia River

The peacefulness of the day comes to an end when Clifford starts his projects: seeing if we can get water in and out of the Pony water tank requiring opening up the bench under which it resides and feeding a tube into the tank; the water tank overfills, leaking water into the carpeting on the Pony floor; the table holding the 7 gallon water jug collapses, damaging the jug; Clifford decides to spray bleach on the Pony walls to get rid of the mildew spots and gets bleach on some of my clothes. I was less than happy about that, both from the fact that some of my clothes were damaged and that bleach is toxic to breathe so I can’t go inside for several hours. I am not a happy camper at this point, but realistically, I know things could be worse, so I try not to be a total grump about the whole business – after all, it is Easter and I am not an emigrant on the Oregon Trail. However, looking at the Pony and the lack of conventional modern conveniences, I can imagine being an emigrant. I do empathize with them, especially the women.

Deschutes 044
Beauty in the barrenness

Monday April 6, 2015: We go to The Dalles for breakfast and then on out to the Discovery Center. This is a well- designed center that covers the geology of the areas as well as the history, including the Lewis & Clark Expedition and the Oregon Trail. It was very interesting and informative, and we both felt it was well worth the time spent there.

Deschutes 049
What remains from early settlers

Deschutes 048
Could he be an early settler looking at his wagon?

In the evening I begin editing photos of our time here at Deschutes Oregon State Park. It has been a pleasant place to stay, but I am eager to move on to more remote camping in the forest around Bend, Oregon, our destination for tomorrow.

Deschutes 036
A pleasant place to stay

Road Trip – Deschutes 1 – April 2015


Palouse to Deschutes 237
Pasco tulips

Wednesday, April 1 and Thursday April 2: After leaving Palouse Falls, we travel to Pasco, Washington, to spend the night with good friends. They provide a delicious dinner, a fun outing to a local brewery, and a comfortable bed for the night. After a tasty breakfast the next morning,  we say our good-bye’s before heading south to Oregon and then west on I 84 along the Columbia River to Deschutes Oregon State Park, which is located on the bank of the Deschutes River at its confluence with the mighty Columbia. As we travel I notice how rugged and barren the landscape is on both sides of the river – not very hospitable at all, it seems to me.

Palouse to Deschutes 242
Barren landscape, but great clouds

When we arrive at the park, I am pleased to see that it is a huge lovely lawn with a variety of handsome trees. There are not many campers here this time of year, especially as we are arriving mid-week. We choose a spot on the corner of a loop near the river.

Palouse to Deschutes 359
Lovely big lawn and handsome trees

Initial set-up is easy, as the parking spot is paved and level. Once the Pony is set up, I realize there is more mildew than what I could see when we did the modified set-up at Palouse Falls. I tackle the inside with cleaning products from Melaleuca until the Pony smells clean, though I can still see some discoloration from the mildew. It takes quite awhile longer to get things in place because of this extra cleaning, but once that is done we have a good dinner and relax a bit before heading to bed.

Friday April 3: I didn’t sleep well, as the traffic noise from I 84 is non-stop and trains rumble by every couple of hours. On the plus side of things, this is an attractive park, there are flush toilets and showers, the Deschutes River is near at hand, and the trees are quite wonderful. A row of Lombardy poplars line the river bank, a huge golden willow stands tall and solid in the center of the park grounds, and there are other trees the likes of which I have never seen.

Palouse to Deschutes 322
A row of Lombardy poplars line the bank of the river

Palouse to Deschutes 259
A weeping willow tall and sturdy

Palouse to Deschutes 340
Trees the likes of which I have never seen

We are quite comfortable here and, except for the traffic and trains, which are easy to ignore in the daytime, this is a lovely peaceful place to spend a few days.

Saturday April 4: After breakfast I make a picnic and then we head west to Hood River, which we find to be an attractive little town, and then south on state highway 35 toward Mount Hood. Even though the road begins to climb right away, we see many orchards in bloom for several miles. As we get nearer Mount Hood, the landscape becomes more forested, obscuring the view of the great mountain. We take the road up to Timberline Lodge, as Clifford was here as a teenager and is interested in seeing it again after the passage of so many years. For me, it is the first time I have been in the area and I am thrilled to see Mount Hood up close.

Palouse to Deschutes 307
Mount Hood behind clouds

Palouse to Deschutes 300
Mount Hood from Timberline Lodge

After we have our picnic sitting in the Blazer at Government Camp at the base of the mountain, being too chilly to sit outside, we head back down the road and arrive at our campsite in the late afternoon. I take a few more photos of the river before going inside to make dinner, followed by the evening activities of studying (Clifford) and looking at the day’s photos (me).

Palouse to Deschutes 318
Deschutes River seen from the bridge

Palouse to Deschutes 349
Deschutes River at evening light

Palouse to Deschutes 336
Last light on the river

We have decided to stay another couple of days, as we would like to learn more about the history of the region before we travel on. This area is significant both in terms of the emigrants on the Oregon Trail in the mid 1800’s as well as the Lewis and Clark Expedition before them in the early 1800’s. We plan to catch up on emails and needed downloads for research tomorrow while we have cell service (our means of accessing the internet), and visit the Discovery Center outside of The Dalles, just a few miles to the west, on Monday. For tonight, I will listen to the river and try to ignore the traffic and the trains as I sleep.

Palouse to Deschutes 281
Time for bed