As it happened our move to California was the beginning of a six-year drought in the western states. The skiing was really lousy at Lake Tahoe and only marginally better in Oregon. Some years, such as this one, there was not enough snow for Mt. Bachelor to open for Thanksgiving. Sometimes we skied in the rain. At all times, however, there was something to see and do.



Mt. Bachelor

Read 'em and weep!

At least there was some snow, but not nearly enough to open the mountain. It's possible that the summit had adequate cover, but there was no way to get there but climb, even if it had been open.

At least the ski shop was open and I got a nifty Native American themed vest that I still wear today.

Clearly we had to find others ways to amuse ourselves until we crossed the Cascades later in the week for wine tasting.

High Desert Museum

The High Desert Museum is a wonderful place to visit. They have animal exhibits and interpretive centers describing the experience of the early settlers. We spend an entire morning there and could have spent more, but there was more to see in the area.

We spent a good bit of time watching the otters, but one marvel was watching the docent cuddling and petting a porcupine! Don't try that one at home.

View from the museum

The view from the road near the museum shows the Cascade Volcanoes, none of which are considered to be active. Mt. Bachelor, or technically Bachelor Butte, is the high left-most snow-clad peak in this picture. The peaks include, from south to north, Bachelor, Broken Top, South Sister, North Sister, Mt. Washington & Three-Fingered Jack. I can't point them all out and at least one is behind the tree.

The white blip to the left of Bachelor Butte may be Maiden Peak.

Lava Butte

Our next stop for the day was Lava Lands. Although it isn't "open" in the winter, there is no prohibition against parking in the lot and hiking in. Oregonians do not coddle tourists as much as some other places. The centerpiece of the park is Lava Butte.

We had plenty of time and needed the exercise we weren't getting by skiing, so we hiked up to the caldera.

Lava Field

Unfortunately clouds have moved in so it's not possible to see Bachelor anymore, but this gives a good notion of the extent of the lava field created by the eruption of this volcano an estimated 7000 years ago. Trees are still struggling to gain a foothold.

Lava Butte

We were astonished when we reached the rim to see that the cinders on the inside of the caldera were red rather than black.

I don't believe we climbed all the way to the ranger station.

Fire damage

On another day we drove out to what had been a favorite beauty destination for locals: Tumalo Falls. In 1979, however, a devastating fire had killed all the trees and subsequent removal of the trees had seriously damaged the landscape.

For a number of years, however, local citizens had worked to restore the area by planting many trees. The small young trees can be seen here.

Tumalo Falls

The falls themselves were still impressive although the barrenness of the surroundings was nothing like the pictures we had seen in its heyday. As may be seen at the link above, the area is beginning to recover.

On our recent visit to Oregon we dodged wildfires almost every day.

Deschutes River

I'm not sure what river this is, but it has clearly carved a path through lava flows. The Deschutes River has had its path disrupted by lava, but I think it is a larger river.

Drake Park

Drake Park is along the banks of the Deschutes as it flows through Bend. It is a beautiful and peaceful place in the late fall.


The park has earned its name honestly. There is always a crowd of ducks.

As noted at the beginning of this album, we never did retire to Bend and we're glad of it. Over the years it grew & grew and the character of the town changed. I'm sure its much more hip now, but it isn't the place we fell in love with so many years ago.

Lexington suits us far better.

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