Friday, July 11, 2008

Oregon Trip - Part 1 - Bicycle Tour

The June 26th to July 8th trip to Oregon is seperated into four parts. Part 1 is devoted to the 6-day bicycle tour of the Willamette Valley and Cascade Foothills organized and led by Dennis Engblom. In 6 days, we covered 235 miles and climbed nearly 10,000'.

Part 2 is a visit to Silver Falls State Park, a spectaculer gem of a park with 10 magnificient waterfalls pouring over basalt cliffs into a deep canyon.

Part 3 covers a post-bike trip drive over the Cascade Range to Sisters where we spent a couple days hiking along the roaring Metolius River, a spring-fed river, and a short and heady hike up to the top of 6,436' Black Butte, a giant cinder cone offering panoramic views of the Cascade Range.

Part 4 is a trip to Diamond Lake and Crater Lake where we camped for 2 nights watching a spectacular sunset on Mt. Thielsen and a final grinding bike ride from Diamond Lake to the rim of Crater Lake.

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Our bike tour started at the beautiful farm of Bill and Karen Farmer located about 8 miles west of Salem. Bill and Karen are long-time friends of Dennis. They live and restored the Victorian farmhouse of Bill's grandparents. The Farmer family settled in the Willamette Valley 150 years ago so their roots are deeply rooted here.

The view of the beautiful back "40" landscaped with trees, shrubs and flower gardens.

Bill and Karen were gracious hosts and fed us hearty farmer-sized dinner and breakfast.
L-R Dennis, Dick, Bill and Karen

A giant black walnut tree dominates the back "40"

Dick and I camped on the back "40". An old barn and several out-buildings were home to owls.

The first morning and ready to roll. Wagons Hooo!!

Catching a ride on a ferry crossing the lanquid Willamette River

Dennis plotted out a great route on very quiet back country roads. Our three bikes were the only "vehicles" on the ferry.

End of our first day at the Waterloo County Park along the Santium River. A rip-roaring waterfall dropping about 8'.

How to cool off a teardrop on a 100 degree day

A homemade "cowboy" camper from Pendleton

Arriving at the Green Peter Dam on the Santium River and heading into the mountains.

Taking "5" at the Dam

Quartsville Road follows a wild and scenic river

Looking down on rip-roaring Quartsville Creek

Our campground at Yellow Bottom on Quartsville Creek

Dennis leaves a messy table

The fully-loaded Bike Friday worked out quite well. It's quite the little burro.

The Willamette Valley is known for covered bridges

Start of our big climb from the valley to Silver Falls State Park

Beautiful rolling hills of wheat. The fertile volcanic soils of the Willamette Valley yields a diverse variety of crops.

Rows of blueberries bushes nearly ripe for pickin'

On our last day, we swung through Salem and visited the State Capitol

Looking up at the impressive ceiling rotunda

The Capitol Building is very impressive. This newer version replaced the old one which burned down in the 1930's.

Oregon Trip - Part 2 - Silver Falls State Park and Oregon Gardens

Silver Falls State Park lies in the mountains east of Salem. We camped at the park for two nights and took the 7 mile canyon trail which takes you by 10 major waterfalls. The winter/spring in Oregon was very wet so the falls were gushing pretty good.

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South Silver Falls Creek feeds into South Falls and Lower South Falls

First, time to fill up our water bottles

South Falls plunges 177' and the trail takes you behind the falls

The view from behind the falls looking down South Creek

A fine trail takes you through the canyon and by all ten waterfalls

Lower South Falls drops like a curtain 93'

A trail takes you behind this fall too

The curtain of falling water

A nest of fledglings were tucked up in the basalt cave behind the falls

Lower North Falls forms a 30' drop in the north fork of Silver Creek

Several logs are stuck in the falls

North Middle Falls dropping 106' is one of the most dramatic. A separate trail leads you behind the falls.

Upper North Falls drops 65'

North Falls plunging 136' shoot out from a narrow crevice. A huge cavern the size of an amphitheater has been formed behind the falls.

The view of North Falls viewed from behind in the amphitheater carved out of the basalt cliffs. Note the over-hanging cliff at the top of pic. This was one of the most impressive views and a dramatic example of the power of erosion over the ages.

Oregon Gardens, located in the town of Silverton, is a wonderful garden exhibition operated by the association of Oregon nurseries. A dozen beautiful garden plots reflecting different landscape themes are located on 80 acres.

We took a tram which takes you on a 45 minute tour of the gardens. The following pics show a few of the impressive garden themes.

Oregon Trip - Part 3 - Metolius River and Black Butte

After our bike tour, Dick and I drove over the Cascades to Sisters and spent a couple days exploring this area. We hiked the Metolius River which is famous for gushing springs feeding into the river . A fine trail follows the river taking you by several springs.

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The river was rip-roaring

The Metolius is a popular fly-fishing river

A major spring feed into the main river

Great wildflowers line the river - a wild rose

The river is full of beautiful rock gardens

Leopard lillys were in prolific bloom

The shrubs lining the river were in full bloom

More wildflowers lining the river

Black Butte, 6436', is a major landmark north of Sisters. From the top, you get awesome panoramic views of the Cascade range.

Can you tell it's a warm day for a hike?

A moderate 2-mile trail takes you to the top from the parking area

Hungry critters greeted the hikers at the summit

Mt. Washington

Middle and North Sisters

Three Fingered Jack

Blooming mules ears and lupine

Pretty emerging pink pine cones

A very tall fire lookout tower sits atop Black Butte

In front of Mt. Jefferson

In front of the Sisters

Lower Lookout with a tangle of lightning rods on every corner

Log cabin for the fire lookout staff

The 2-mile trail with grand views