I have another travel update ready for the rugged state of Oregon. We’ve visited many regions of the Beaver State in the past and have always been delighted by what we saw. Once again, the regions we chose to explore were very gratifying. We were optimistic for smokeless skies even tho there were many wildfires all over the state. We started out pretty good at our first stop in Silverton ~ just a couple of days with some smoke.
I have wanted to hike the Trail of Ten Falls in Silverton State Park for about 3 years. You can walk behind four of the falls! It’s an absolutely gorgeous hike! Btw…Silverton is Oregon’s largest state park.
Part of the trail went thru a forest with some huge Douglas firs.
We had hoped to tour Oregon’s Capitol in Salem, but knew it wouldn’t be possible due to its closure for renovations. A virtual building and tower tour are available, which we plan to watch this winter. We did take a few photos of the Modernist Art Deco design Capitol and its bronze statue of the Oregon Pioneer. Construction kept us from seeing the entire building, but it looks striking in the photo on their website.
We noticed many of the barns in the Willamette Valley look similar.
There are an abundance of crops grown in Willamette Valley, but for some reason I just took pictures of trees. Anyway, about 99% of the U.S. supply of hazelnuts are produced in the valley, but it only produces about 5% of the world’s hazelnuts. Who knew? Not us!
Our second and last stop in OR was the Bend/Sisters area. We stayed just outside of Sisters, which is about 15 miles from Bend. Sisters is small, very touristy and crowded (at least, when we were there). Bend has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years. It went from a mill town with a population of 20,000 in the early 90’s to 100,000+ today. It’s known for its outdoor recreation, and has so many breweries it even has a Bend Ale Trail. Not only young people are moving to Bend, but retirees as well. Fun fact: Bend is home to the last Blockbuster Video store.
Driving thru Sisters and driving toward Pilot Butte in Bend. It’s known as Bend’s volcano and is one of a few in the U.S. located within city limits. Most of the time, it offers great views of the surrounding area. On the day of this photo we were heading somewhere else. We should have gone up right then and there as the day we planned to visit ended up being very smokey and our views were practically nil. And we never had time to return.
Misery Ridge was our favorite hike in the area located in Smith Rock State Park. The trail went down to the Crooked River then began zig-zagging up. It made a big loop which provided some awesome views.
Smith Rock SP is a world renowned climbing destination, and it claims to be the birthplace of American sport climbing. It offers 1800+ climbing routes with more being added each year. We enjoyed watching climbers as we hiked past them, but few rise to the challenge of Monkey Face. This peculiar rock formation was the highlight of this trail for us! When we first approached it head on, we weren’t that impressed, but as we went down and around it, the side view looked a little more monkey like. Notice the climber in some of the photos.
As we continued around, it was clear that it really does look like a monkey face!
Below are some other unique rock formations in the park. There are some climbers in the left photo, but they are very hard to see.
This is my favorite photo in this update ~ I love the reflections in the river!
This is Balance Rock as we saw it while hiking. We noticed it way in the distance on our way back up to the jeep so we zoomed in and got this serene photo.
Even after the sun set on this side of some rock walls, there were still climbers out doing their thing. I guess they climb until its dark.
Hiking to Blue Pool was an overcast and drizzly day. It was hard planning hikes on clear days as we didn’t have a lot of them due to the smoke and/or rain.
We hear Blue Pool is spectacular when it's bright and sunny out. Even on this particular day we weren’t disappointed. A 1600 year old lava flow buried a 3 mile stretch of the McKenzie River, and it resurfaces at Blue Pool. As the river seeps up through the porous lava, it creates this pristine turquoise blue colored pool. Although it looks shallow, it's actually 30 feet deep. It also looks like something found in Hawaii, but don’t be fooled. Its average temperature is a mere 37 degrees year round! They warn not to jump or fall into this inviting pool as people have perished.