Day 3 of our trip was mainly a drive from Portland down to Sunriver Oregon through Oregon's high desert along highway 97. There's an amazing and dramatic difference once you cross over the Cascade Mountains. What was lush rain forest quickly turns into desert grass. I've done this drive twice with the previous being a trip to the Bend Film Festival for a screening of the documentary I worked on many years ago. I remembered the drop into the canyon around Madras and the seemingly endless section of desert with mountain views to the west. The picture below will give you a feel for the visual experience along the drive.
Before we crossed over the mountains we made a few quick stops along the way to see what the local national forests had to offer. After stopping at a ranger station the lady behind the counter recommended seeing Zigzag. It's a very short and easy hike that starts at the remnants of the old highway. If you look closely you'll see the old highway bridge at the trail head, but nature has taken the highway back and only the low concrete guard rails that are left. The Zigzag hike in itself leads up to Little Zigzag Falls.
The first picture in the series below talks about the power of negative ions. Negative ions are produced as the surface tension of water is broken by the falls and they're been proven to decrease stress and improve mood. I personally think a nice rain forest hike is sufficient to do both. In the last photo of this series I used the panorama feature of my new camera for the first time ever. My mom did a yoga pose and I decided to capture the entire view from trail in to trail out. It's a stress relieving picture representing the quiet calm of undisturbed nature.
Our second stop was at the well known Timberline Lodge. This hotel and ski resort was built at part of the Works Progress Administration projects by FDR. The plaque shows the dedication date in 1937. Walking inside takes you back to a much earlier era. The wood and stone seem primitive by today's modern luxury hotel standards, but having LED lighting and modern glass panels everywhere would be a bit off-putting, given the experience most people want from a place like this. The hotel has been preserved as a national historic landmark, and they've even gone so far as to preserve the room that FDR stayed in.
The distance and elevation sign below reminds you that you're truly in the mountains. That was the case in our experience as well. When we arrived at the parking lot you could see all of the surrounding mountains and just an hour later we were shrouded in cold fog. My mom was still determined to get on the Pacific Crest Trail, freezing temperatures be damned, if only to be trail tourists.
After surviving the car ride with nary a butt cheek gone numb, we arrived at our little rental home base in Sunriver. Almost the entire community was made up of small cabins like these. Instead of traffic lights and stop signs the local streets almost exclusively use traffic circles. In the rental instructions we had to follow circle 4 to circle 10 to....whatever, I can't remember all the circles. After a few days we relied on landmarks rather than numbers, which became a challenge after dark.
It was common for the local honey badger deer (because they just don't care if you're around) to walk around the property in the morning and evening looking for food. You also had to watch out for them while driving because they would just start walking across the road. I tried capturing "good" pictures of the deer, but they either moved along too fast or showed up when there wasn't enough light to take a decent picture. Note to self; next time bring along a stuffed deer and pose it for a (faked) photo.
Our dinner that evening came from Glen's Funny Farm in Morton (see previous entry): Spaghetti squash with pesto, pine nuts, and Parmesan - required fuel for our adventures that began the next day.