Category Archives: Oregon

Black and White on the Oregon Coast

When it’s November on the Oregon coast and gales are ripping in from the southwest, almost everything turns black and white. These are from Cape Lookout State Park, near Tillamook
 

 

Also posted in black & white, Pacific Coast, Pacific Northwest Tagged |

Painted Hills #2

Even without the spectacle of a total solar eclipse, the Painted Hills of Oregon’s John Day Fossil Beds National Monument are a striking piece of high desert. Scroll down for photos of the total solar eclipse. Click here for a total Painted Hills/eclipse gallery.

Also posted in high desert, Pacific Northwest, solar eclipse, Solar eclipse 2017

Painted Hills: Eclipse 2017

Finally getting back to the eclipse, August 21: On the Path of Totality, total solar eclipse, Painted Hills, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Oregon. The top two photos are when the eclipse was total, but there was a lot more to see: the sudden gathering over a few days (and especially the night before) of an instant village of a few thousand people camped out on the arid, sage-brush land around the Painted Hills; the drop in temperatures as the moon began to cross in front of the sun; the sudden cool twilight at totality; cheers, applause, whistles, and then the return of light and warmth. Click here for a Painted Hills and eclipse gallery.

Also posted in high desert, Pacific Northwest, solar eclipse, Solar eclipse 2017

Bad Day at Crater Lake

Ash from forest fires was falling on Bend, OR, a few weeks ago and smoke from more fires shrouded Crater Lake National Park, an hour and half’s drive south. The usual view of Crater Lake is of its clear, blue water, sparkling in the giant hole left when a volcano collapsed on itself about 6000 BC. We went to the park anyway, which proved again that what seems like a bad day for photography can turn out to be good, precisely because it’s different from the usual day and the usual pictures. If you don’t mind breathing smoke.

Also posted in Crater Lake National Park, forest fires, Pacific Northwest Tagged |

Black and Blue

DSC_1986WSHcopyMountains above the North Santiam River, late afternoon light, Cascades, western Oregon.

Also posted in mountains, silhouette

Wet But Dry

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The mountains of the Pacific Northwest can usually depend on snow melt and summer rains to keep things wet, but this year lack of snow and summer drought have driven water levels down. Above, Detroit Lake, in the mountains east of Salem, OR, is a dam-controlled reservoir that is drained in the winter, but it’s supposed to fill during the summer. This year it’s far below normal. Even rainy Seattle is drier than normal, though you could hardly tell from the old Dodge pick-up truck, below, parked in the city’s Green Lake section. Puget Sound natives like to say they grow up in a climate so wet that they grow moss between their toes. The pick-up, which looks like it was last moved in about 1985, is working on it, despite the drought.

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Also posted in climate, Pacific Northwest Tagged |

Smoke Sight

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How smokey is it in the Pacific Northwest? Very, depending on the day and the place, as windblown smoke from nearly 40 wildfires sweeps across the region. This was last week in the Columbia River Gorge of Washington and Oregon between Hood River and the Bonneville Dam. Video and info from a Portland TV station are here.

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Also posted in Columbia River Gorge, forest fires Tagged |

Bend, OR

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People in Bend, Oregon, are pretty insistent about Bend being sunny, as in more than 300 days a year that are either sunny or mostly sunny. I was there last week and there was only one sunny day out of seven (above, at Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort). The rest of the time was taken up with rain, snow, sleet and freezing rain in varying amounts, coating the sage and juniper of the high desert. It was November though.

Mt. Bachelor is at the end of a roughly 20-mile road that climbs the long, easy grade from Bend into the mountains. Easy by Vermont standards, but an interesting Oregon folkway is that they do not apply salt to the roads. A good idea, no doubt, but it makes for some cautious and interesting driving, even when the snow is light. Highway crews dump red lava rock on everything that looks like a road, and that helps.

The population of Bend in 1990 was about 20,500. Today it is more than 80,000. As soon as you get out of the relatively small core of the downtown, you can see the explosion of growth on both sides of the Deschutes River: acres and acres of apartment and condo complexes, malls, mini malls, and new houses perched on the hills, all connected by newish roads and a lot of nice roundabouts.  Plus 19 breweries (Count ’em by clicking here.) Bend has grown so fast in the last few decades that it has its own Growth Management Department. And the city council just approved a $28 million sewer expansion.

If you climb the roughly 500 feet to the top of Pilot Butte, you can see not only highways and the roofs of relatively new buildings in all directions, but also the sage, the juniper and the ring of volcanoes and volcanic debris that surround the town. Pilot Butte itself is an extinct volcano, a cinder cone — unlike the Newberry volcano, about 20 miles away, which is considered “potentially active.”

Everybody in Bend is active too. It’s an outdoor town, full of cyclists, runners, snowboarders, skiers, kayakers, climbers. Interesting place. Don’t know whether it’s done growing or not.

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Also posted in Bend, Skiing Tagged , |

Cool Oregon

DSC_3218copyWSHIt was hot and dry when I was in Portland in August, but it’s still extremely cool in Oregon. The Pacific currents that sweep down from Alaska make the water along the coast freezing — in the low 50s — although that doesn’t seem to hamper anybody’s enjoyment of the beach. Above, Cape Lookout State Park. Although the air temperature in Portland is 10 or more degrees warmer than it is on the coast, it’s still an exceedingly cool city, from the ubiquitous bicycles to the hip bungalows and the overflowing produce stands of the downtown farmers market. Below, a night cyclist in the Clinton section of southeast Portland and the Columbia River Gorge at Hood River. Click here for a slideshow of Portland and some of the coast and the Coast Range.DSC_2873copyW

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Also posted in Pacific Coast, Portland