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Thread: Road to Mordor (or Bend OR)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    The Gorge Area, Oregon

    Road to Mordor (or Bend OR)

    Went through some interesting Oregon territory I hadn't been through before earlier this week. Got back to town just in time for the thermometer to hit 100F

    Fort on the way to Mordor, or the observatory at Mackenzie Pass between the Willamette Valley and Sisters/Bend OR. Its a "mountain observatory" not a sky observatory and was built as part of the CCC's "keep the young unemployed men busy so they don't cause trouble" projects in the 30's. Pretty neat spot to stop and hike around though. The pass is a bit over 5000 feet and only open from early summer through fall due to the heavy snow.

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    From here you can see a good dozen peaks in various directions. The observatory has "mountain identification" windows through the wall that basically highlight each peak - otherwise they're so close together its hard to ID them unless you're really familiar with the area. There is quite a bit of blasted wasteland through here from various eruptions in the past - amazing they built a wagon road (built on an indian trail) through here the 1860's - I can't even imagine what an adventure that would have been. If you look closely when driving though there are a couple of spots of what I think are remnants of the wagon trail alongside the new road.

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    The bear grass was in full bloom. Its a rather funny looking stuff with a rather peculiar (and not especially pleasant) odor. Apparently its related to Agave but has a much finer/grassier leaf and seems to bloom even more prolifically. Parts of the forest were completely covered in it.

    Around here we were also able to pick a couple of garbage bags full of Lichen that loml uses for wool dying (we know the one will give us a bright yellow, the other is as yet a mystery but we're hoping it gives something other than mud brown )

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    Also stopped in at a few waterfalls along the way

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    Which makes the pups happy. This is the waterfall at the exit Paulina Lake which is one of the twin crater lakes in Newberry Crater. Driving up to the top of Paulina peak was also worth the extra time (the hike would be .. a lot of work ) as you can see the whole cascade range in front of you. One of the lava flows at Newberry is all obsidian which glistens like thousands of shards of glass when the sun hits it (unsurprising since it basically is thousands of shards of glass). Didn't go there very far because we had to carry the pups to keep them from cutting their paws on the obsidian glass shards which are everywhere (and even a 20lb dogs gets heavy pretty fast).

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    On the way back we stopped at "Smith Rock" state park which is really neat and a must stop along the way if you're into old westerns as quite a few were shot here. It has a sort of epic "western" feel to it with out really being identifiable as a specific place very easily (could be anywhere from canada to parts of southern az and spots inbetween if you don't look to close). Also one of the few places in Oregon with decent rock climbing (although most of the pitches are more than I'd have tackled even when I was still doing that sort of thing, but fun to look at).

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Reno NV
    Great pictures! Starting to feel the need to do some exploring myself here...
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" Ogden Nash

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    Road to Mordor (or Bend OR)

    Thanks for the post Ryan. It brought back memories of climbing at Smith Rock.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    “When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.” - John Ruskin
    “Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” - Oscar Wilde

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    East Freeetown, Massachusetts
    That is quite awesome Ryan.

    Love that observatory pic

    Love the waterfalls too.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    S E Washington State
    Very interesting, may have to go there sometime.
    "We the People ......"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Spitting distance north of Detroit Michigan
    Great Pix, probably as close as I'll ever get to seeing them...Thanks for sharing
    The perception of perfection is perfectly clear to everyone else

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Yorktown, Virginia
    Great pics, Ryan. Thanks for taking us along. There are a pretty good number of old CCC projects still in service around the US. A very scenic drive I used to take to work is the Colonial Parkway here in Yorktown, built by the CCC and having some very attractive brick bridges that have held up amazingly well all these years.

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