Monday, 4 June, 2012
I was up and ready to go by about 6:00 this morning, continuing my journey south and east. Highway 26 took me into some familiar ground, cutting through a town called Government Camp that Justine and I had been to on one of our Hood River trips. The drive through that part of the country is beautiful. Old, mature forest and lots of green. And snow. As I got into higher elevations, I started to see that the snow hadn't completely left this part of the world.
I had hoped to make a couple of stops for short hikes on this stretch of the trip, but encountered closed roads and/or parks. This was a theme that was to be repeated many times on this trip. I did manage to make a stop at Little Zigzag Falls. This very short hike was at the end of a Forest Services road, a couple of miles off the main highway. The road was good, and ended at a clearly marked parking area, with good signage. The path followed the river for about 1/2 a mile to the falls. The falls themselves were OK, but the best picture I got was actually of the river itself.
The drive through Oregon is pretty amazing, and there were lots of stops to make and things to see. A couple of hours north of my destination for the day was a State park, and the sight of one of the many really cool old bridges that cross the rivers that snake through the landscape. I stopped to stretch my legs and take some pictures.
I continued south for a couple of hours, eventually getting into Bend. Bend is a really cool little town, and one I'd like to come back to. I ended up making a stop for a few hours just outside of Bend to do some mountain biking. In talking to some of the locals, they pointed me to a series of trails just outside of town that were awesome. True cross country trails, they had lots of gradual climbing, and long, flowing downhills through pines forests and open meadows. I did a set of trails, had some lunch then went out again and did some more. It was so much fun!
Part of my research pointed me to a series of lakes south and west of Bend on this scenic highway. It seems that they only opened the highway the week before, which didn't bode well. There were a few short hikes I had noted I this stretch, but pretty soon it became clear I wouldn't be doing any of them. Every road to the trailheads had a good 4-6' of snow in them still. There would be no hiking it seemed.
The road eventually started working its way back down to the series of lakes. This area was supposed to be good for ospreys, so I pulled into Osprey Point. The trail looked like it might be OK, but as it was getting towards the end of the day, I wanted to get settled in a camp site, so I headed out with the intention to swing back tomorrow. The camp site was about five or six miles down the road, and I pulled in.
It was completely empty - not another person in the place. It was a pretty strong indication that this was not the time of year for camping. I picked a prime spot at the side of the lake, and setup camp. I didn't have any firewood, so I was limited in what I could do as darkness fell. I had a beer, made some dinner and then bundled up in my tent for the night. It was getting cold, and the temperature dropped fast.