Cascades: East to West
Over four years Â in the northwest and still have only scratched the surface of places to explore. I had a good reminder of that the last couple days with a journey from Portland to Bend. One route took us over Mt. Hood and down through the Warm Springs Reservation to the high desert landscape of Bend.Â
Bend is surrounded by incredible landscapes and scenery. One spot is Tumalo Creek; only twelve miles west of downtown. The drive takes you through larch tree groves blanketing the plateaus. There are a few waterfalls further up the creek, but winter is still in attendance in the area. Without snowshoes or cross country skis the hike isn't a smart choice. In my case it was even less possible since I only had a pair of canvas Etnies on. We did manage to have some fun in the snow for a few minutes.
The idea of the journey was to explore so when it was time to head back to Portland we chose the route over Santium Pass. The landscape changes with every mile, winding through desert plateaus and lodge pole pine forests; rolling around volcanic mountains, and descending into thick doug fir trees and green rivers fed by the snow melt. The east side of the summit was partially scorched by wild fires leaving remanents of charred trees. The contrast between these trees and the deep snow that covered the higher elevations.
Sherry Keith took a moment to photograph the Three Fingered Jack peak engulfed in winter snow and ice. This image speaks volumes of the potential of this area. The journey was short, but I can already say with confidence there will be more trips that way in the near future.