On Day 6 we decided to visit Mt. Bachelor and drive around to the neighboring lakes. No, the picture above isn't of Mt. Bachelor. Unfortunately when we arrived at the Mt. Bachelor parking lot we found that the mountain was shrouded in fog all the way down to the chair lift and the mountain was shut down, which meant no chair lifts to the top. So this translated into no photos of Mt. Bachelor, which turned out to be OK since there are about a dozen or more significant lakes surrounding Mt. Bachelor all with their own characteristics. Weather was highly variable this day between sunny and drizzle, as you would expect in the fall.
The picture above was captured from a hiking trail just north of Mt. Bachelor along the Cascade Lakes National Scenic Byway at Fall Creek Trail. The mountain in the background is called Broken Top. Its sits just southeast of the Three Sisters range. Glaciers have eroded this 100,000 year old volcano, thus the name Broken Top. On a more adventurous day I would have liked to hike to the top, but we weren't adequately equipped or motivated for this long of a hike. Today was more about hitting the tourist highlights.
What I did see from the parking lot was a woman in shorts and a hiking shirt heading up the trail, while we were bundled up in the 40-something-degree weather. It make me feel like I've either lost touch with my Pacific Northwest roots, or I'm not crazy enough for these hardcore nature conquistadors.
Our first stop was at Todd Lake, however the Lake was completely in cloud shadow by the time we arrived. So our first photographic lake stop was at Devils Lake. What you noticed here is crystal clear turquoise water. It was more like something you would see from a tropical tourist destination than a Pacific Northwest lake. Kayakers were out enjoying the day.
We stopped at Elk Lake, however by this time bad weather was rolling in and we decided to just stop and eat lunch in the car, hoping that the weather would roll through. Lava Lake didn't offer anything photographically, so we turned back from that one as well. Heading further south on Highway 46 we came upon Cultus Lake. It was surrounded by golden yellow trees, which I believe was more indicative of the time of year. The wind had blown the rain clouds through, leaving a nice sunny fall afternoon feels to the place. Just look at the photo below and tell me you don't hear the sound of leaves rustling in the wind with the lake gently lapping the shore.
The highly variable weather was back by the time we make it to Crane Prairie Reservoir with quickly approaching drizzle. The general store was shut down, probably for the season, leaving the place with a more abandoned feel. I think the photo of the boat launch below captures how the area felt. When the resort is operating the reservoir is filled with fishing and boating tourists. What I noticed about this area is a difference in the trees. Certain trees have a vibrant red bark (not shown).
We were tired of all the car travel and started heading back on South Century Drive when we spotted a sign for Pringle Falls. Thinking there might be something to see we headed in that direction. As the forest ranger explained to us, Pringle Falls is more of a community than a thing. The picture below was about as much waterfall as Pringle Falls offers. The next day we were heading back to civilization and this was a nice, calm fall afternoon way to end our visit of central Oregon. Next week...back to civilization (and the burden of traffic).