We drive to the eastern part of the state every summer. Oregon is a beautiful state. In a day you can drive from the cool coast, through grasslands into the mountains, and through the mountains into the high prairie, and down into the desert. Every year we drive by beautiful sights and say, "We should stop there sometime." This year we stopped. We went to a few old favorite sites, and saw a few new sights. It was a lovely trip.
Ten Places We Visited (You should visit them too!)
1. Sahalie and Koosah Falls
Sahalie Falls has been our favorite rest stop on our trip over the mountains. The McKenzie River is icy blue as it cascades over the fall.
Who knew there was another waterfall within a hop, skip and a jump of Sahalie? Instead of using the restroom, taking a picture of the Sahalie waterfall, and going on our merry way down the road, our merry way took us on down the trail along the McKenzie River to the top of Koosah Falls. From the viewpoint on the trail, you can look almost straight down as the falls go over the cliff, then down the path to a shady viewing spot with benches from which you can see the falls.
2. The Metolius River and Camp Sherman
An old favorite. The Metolius River is one of the most beautiful spots in the entire world.
The river is gorgeous, the land is beautiful. We picnicked at Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery, then walked around the fish pond and fed the fish.
We stopped for ice cream at the Camp Sherman store.
Just like in the old days.
3. I'm cheating a little. The High Desert Museum and Lava Lands Visitor Center are two separate places. But they're not far from one another, and we went to them on the same day, so I'm counting them as one. The High Desert Museum has a raptor exhibit (a favorite for the fine young gents!) complete with bald eagles, a golden eagle, tiny burrowing owls, and more. It's got a living history pioneer home and more historical exhibits, gorgeous bronze sculptures, and both an indoor and an outdoor play area.
Lava Lands has a self-guided hike through (what else?) lava, up to a viewpoint from which you can see the mountains all around, and the land covered with rock left by a volcanic eruption over 7,000 years ago.
4. The Painted Hills
Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. Sometimes....you just need to see it for yourself.
5. John Day Fossil Beds, Sheep Rock Unit
We hiked back into the hills, a short hike. It was like walking into an alien world. Our Earth is marvelous and strange.
6. Anthony Lake
Fishing with Grandpa Dennis and Great-Grandpa Ed. A hike around the lake. Could there be a better way to spend the afternoon?
7. Oregon Trail Regional Museum
This is a really cool museum. There's an entire room full of old wagons and cars and big stuff. There's a huge rock collection that had the fine young gents oooh-ing and aaahing. Upstairs, a schoolroom display, a doctor's office, a grocery, a kitchen.
8. Cracker Creek
There's gold in them thar hills! Folks are still mining out there. We stopped at the Cracker Creek Mining Company, drove up to a tiny community called Bourne, then stopped and splashed in Cracker Creek.
9.Sumpter Valley Railway
We rode the train up the valley. It's a beautiful ride through miles of piles of rock dredged up during the gold mining heyday. You can see the Elkhorns in the distance on one side, pools of water among the rock on the other.
10. Grandpa's Store, York's Park Grocery
Early mornings one or another of the kids dragged out of bed to go to Grandpa's store. They'd bag ice and pressure wash the sidewalk for a while, then get treated to maple bars and hot chocolate. How cool is that?