Thursday, May 24, 2012

OREGON

Deschutes River running through Bend
Brasada Ranch
Upon leaving California, we headed to Bend, Oregon.  Situated in the center of the state along the Deschutes River, and surrounded by volcanic mountains, Bend is a lovely town that has easily doubled in size since we were here with our motorhome in the late 90s.  


People are drawn to central Oregon's sunny days, dry desert climate and a landscape dramatically punctuated by snow covered mountain peaks. We enjoyed several days in a one bedroom unit at the Seventh Mountain Resort just outside town.  
Athletic center and pool

I wondered what I had gotten us into as we drove through miles of open countryside to our next destination.  The Brasada Ranch in the tiny hamlet of 
Powell Butte is at least 20 miles from a town of any size.   
Mountains to the west
Patio off bedroom with view of...








Fortunately, there was no need to worry and no desire to leave the place during our 4 day stay.   A casual restaurant in the Ranch House and a beautiful restaurant on site had excellent food.  The athletic center housed a top notch gym and indoor pool that opened to  outdoor pools.  Our suite was a beautiful one bedroom apartment with spectacular views of the Cascade Mountain range.  This was one of the most idyllic places we have visited in our journey.

Columbia River - Part of the Lewis & Clark Trail
Having heard about the beauty of the Columbia River Gorge, we made our way to The Dalles and Hood River. Unfortunately, the weather was wet, windy and cold, but the majesty of the area was still apparent.  
Basalt cliffs line Columbia River


40-60 million years ago, this part of the country was covered by a large inland sea. The earth gradually rose only to be covered by volcanic lava some 10 – 15 million years ago.   The volcanoes that formed the Cascade Mountain Range also formed the basalt cliffs of the gorge.
Multnomah Falls
      
Then the land was submerged again as glaciers melted after the last Ice Age and floodwaters  from western Montana broke through ice dams, carving the canyons walls.  Today the Columbia River is the 4th largest in the U.S. and forms the border between Oregon and Washington.   The surrounding mountains include Mount Hood, Oregon’s highest at just over 11,000 feet.  Waterfalls include Multnomah Falls, America’s second highest year-round waterfall dropping 620 feet.