Friday, October 11, 2013

Travels Resumed

First glimpse of Crooked River
Down out of the Painted Hills we drove, following a curving road through towering cliffs of basalt. We turned a corner and there below us was our first glimpse of the Crooked River, 155 miles of twisty-turny water that eventually empties into the Deschutes River. We stopped to walk along the near shore. The river was speckled with fishermen in waders; the cliffs were speckled with rock wrens. The air was still and warm. Except for the occasional car or motorcycle, no sounds but the calling birds and the music of the water broke the sleepy silence.

Castle Rock looks like an imposing fortress.

Back in the van, we drove past rock outcroppings with names like Castle Rock and Chimney Rock, crossed the Bowman Dam built in 1956 for irrigation and flood control, and headed for  the Lava Cast Forest where we hoped to camp for the night.

6,000 years ago, the Newberry Volcano erupted, spewing lava through the forest that lay at its feet. The lava began to cool and harden before the trees had been completely burned, creating casts of stone where trees had stood. We walked the interpretive trail as the sun was setting. Never have I been in a place so quiet, so eerie.

Camping was no longer allowed there so we headed to LaPine State Forest where we found a place to spend the night. The next morning we headed for Paulina Lake, one of the two lakes formed in the Newberry Crater from 500,000 years of volcanic activity. Here we set up camp for an extended two day stay.

Paulina Lake
With a mug of steaming tea in one hand and a book in another, I settled into a camp chair while Bren went for a swim. He ducked under and came up sputtering. "Colder than I thought!" he exclaimed clambering out onto the rocks along the shore, and then, "Hey Mom! Come look!"

Imbedded fossils
 Imbedded in the long flat rocks were bones, fossils of some long dead animal. We walked along the shore looking for more. Little striped chipmunks scampered all around us, chittering and sending up puffs of dust on the hardscrabble path.

We eat well when we camp. Supper was a splendid soup made from leftover vegetables and grilled cheese sandwiches made over the fire in a square pie iron. We sat with mugs of tea and s'mores, watching the sun set over the lake. The air cooled, the birds called goodnight, and we slept the sleep of the just, knowing tomorrow would bring another adventure.

Sunset on Paulina Lake


Out on the prairie said...

Very beautiful finds, I loved the fossils and always am amused with chipmunks

Michael Manning said...

Beautiful sunset photo! Have a nice weekend!!

Brian Miller said...

wow...pretty cool finding the embedded bones...ha...i bet it was cold as well....sounds peaceful to me.....