I'm going to try and not go overboard with the picture posting. I took so many that it's really amazing, even to me. I got a little carried away.
So these pictures are all taken along the scenic route called the Aufderheide, named for a man who did a lot of forest preservation work and was highly respected in his lifetime. The road starts out on the McKenzie highway and goes south, basically up and over the mountain range following alongside the South Fork of the McKenzie river, and once over the top, you're now driving alongside the Middle South Fork of the Willamette River. The Willamette is the same river that flows (albeit much larger) through our little home valley, appropriately named the Willamette Valley. I'm thinking that the Willamette here, is renowned for fishing because of the many trails leading down to the river, and all the absolutely beautiful pools.
Here and below we are just about at the summit of the Aufderheide pass, in a meadow where we happened upon an old cabin, and below a Forest Service cabin that can be rented. It even has a horse corral out back. There seems to be a lot of trail heads in this area, but I'll just bet the terrain is very, very steep wherever you would go.
Here we are in Box Canyon Horse Camp. We had the entire place to ourselves and this is a free campground. Amazingly enough, there was no evidence of horses having camped here in a long time. There was grass growing in the corrals and there was no tell-tale horse poop anywhere. Quite sad really as this is a beautiful and well-equipped camp ground. Too bad it's so far from home.
Box Canyon is at the summit of the pass and is appropriately named for the ginormous canyon that runs along the south side. I believe this is where the South Fork McKenzie veers into another direction and the road now is following the Middle South Fork Willamette. The dogs and I took a walk alongside the canyon until my fear of heights won out, and we had to turn back. We spent the night here, all alone; and darkness was overwhelming and the silence was deafening. At some point during the night, it began to rain. So peaceful sleeping to the pitter-patter of rainfall on the camper roof.
The rain continued throughout the morning hours as we headed down the mountain, stopping many times to take pictures and check out roadside camping locations. It was just beautiful. I felt more relaxed than I've felt in a very long time...
Driving through an old-growth rain forest on a winding, quiet mountain road in the softly falling rain is very peaceful, and we just loved it.
This is the end of the Aufderheide, in a very small town called Westifir. The old covered bridge is solid and nostalgic and reminiscent of days gone by.
From here, we headed to Oakridge. We needed to find a laundromat and wash the blankets we used on the couches for the dogs. Rain and dogs do not mix...
So while there in Oakridge, while our laundry dried, we went out for lunch. Chinese food, hot tea and a little quiet time were in order. Perfect for a misty, cool Oregon day.
Back on the road, we headed East towards our next destination, Odelle Lake. The rain had picked up somewhat and driving wasn't exactly enjoying, so we decided to book a cabin for the night. I forgot to get any pictures of our adorable little mountain cabin, but it was well-equipped with a bedroom, kitchen, wood stove and best of all...a hot shower. *sigh* Who could ask for anything more? We wiled the afternoon and evening away in our PJ's, reading, dozing, lake-watching and just enjoying the downtime. Just before dark, the dogs and I headed outside for a little walk down by the lake and up into some trails. The lodge has horses there, so we even got in a little horsey schmoozing time. By this time, I was missing our ponies pretty badly!
The next morning we enjoyed breakfast at the lodge, overlooking the lake and taking life easy. The next short leg of our trip would take us further east, up and over the top of the Cascade Range and into Central Oregon - the drier side of our state. We passed Crescent Lake and the Crescent Ski Resort, again climbing to an even higher summit on our journey. Then it was a northerly turn onto the Cascade Lakes Scenic Biway where there are too many lakes to count. A different kind of beauty was in store...
This is the area near where I'd like to move to. This trip did nothing more than to reaffirm my desire to move east of our mountains to this drier climate. This area is home to numerous beautiful high mountain lakes, several gorgeous rivers, great sport fishing, hiking, horseback riding, Mt. Bachelor ski resort, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and so much more. A very active lifestyle is what this area is all about. And when it does rain, there's no mud - the volcanic soil soaks the moisture in and that's it. Some day...
So, last weekend we did get another cord and a half of firewood with the help of our hay-hauling high school boys. They sure do make short work of things! We took down our swimming pool and have it stored for the winter, sniff. My hubby's home today cleaning out the garden shed and reorganizing that, next on the list for purchase and storage is stall bedding. I hope to get 3 tons, which hopefully will take us pretty much through the winter. We've picked out a piece of granite for the re-installation of our pellet stove in the living room. Hopefully we'll get that put back in soon. After that, we'll need to get 1 ton of stove pellets for use during the coldest part of winter. I guess I really have to face it. Summer's over. Autumn is here.
But by our weather this past week you sure wouldn't know it! I miscalculated our recent/current daytime temps when I said lower 70's. What is correct is the low 80's, even the nights are still quite warm, having to leave all the windows open and the ceiling fans going. I'm certainly not complaining! The mornings are a wee bit cooler, and we even had a little fog this morning, but it's fantastic weather!! We're planning on a load of junk to the dump soon...where does this stuff come from!? And I'm still hoping to get some apples for preserving soon...always something to keep a body busy, right?
The leaves are falling and the colors are continuing to emerge as we get further into this glorious season. We're hoping the burn ban is lifted soon so we can fire up the debris pile we've been adding to all year long. That's always a fun Autumn chore. The smell of smoke in the air...aahh, I love it!
Hope you're enjoying the change of seasons as much as we are! If all else fails, we may put all projects on hold and go for a few rides on our horses before the rains come. That is what I really want to do! Work can wait!!