Newberry National Volcanic Monument

The gray circle on this map represents the rim of the crater, or caldera, of the Newberry Volcano.  Within the rim are two big lakes, Paulina and East, plus several areas of obsidian flows, or places where lava flowed out and hardened to form shiny black rock.  The Big Obsidian Flow (see post above) covers more than 700 acres and is shown as the lowest gray area at the bottom of the caldera so that gives you an idea how big the entire crater is.

High Desert Museum

I spent half the day doing laundry and getting the oil changed in my car (this isn’t all fun and games, folks, I still have some responsibilities… Ok, so not very many… But still…).  During the afternoon I stayed close to Bend and made a big, lazy clockwise loop starting to the south.

First stop, just off Route 97, was the High Desert Museum.  This is a beautiful new museum built as a tribute to the High Desert, a huge area shown on the map you see above.  Bend is at the western edge of this desert, as indicated by the red dot.

Next I went to two locations within the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, a huge area which straddles Route 97 on both sides.  Trump would love it out here.  Seems like everything is huge.

Finally, I drove the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway west of Route 97 and worked my way back north to Bend.  The Cascade Lakes is a big area made up of many relatively small lakes which separate the desert to the east from the big mountains to the west.

Photos from all of those areas appear in the posts above.

Suicidal butterflies

This is a California Tortoiseshell butterfly.  It is about the size of a half-dollar coin.  There were hundreds, maybe even thousands of them fluttering around as I descended McKenzie Pass from the Dee Wright Observatory south towards the little town of Westfir (a considerable distance).  I have never seen so many butterflies in the “wild” in my life.  It was absolutely amazing.  I call them suicidal because so many of them seemed to want to fly right in front of my car.

One of these years I need to go up to the Blue Ridge Parkway back home in North Carolina to see the annual migration of Monarch butterflies.  Kathy, we need to put that on our bucket lists.

UPDATE: I’ve posted a second picture. Unfortunately, his willingness to pose is due to the fact that he’s deceased. 

Two out of three ain’t bad


These are two of the “Three Sisters”, a range of mountains located west of Bend, Oregon.  You are seeing North Sister and Middle Sister.  South Sister is a little shy and is hiding behind Middle Sister from this vantage point. The locals have nicknamed the three mountain peaks Faith, Hope and Charity.

This photo was taken from the parking lot of the Dee Wright Observatory, located along the McKenzie Pass Scenic Highway.  To get here I traveled through the little town of Sisters (go figure), a real cute little town which hosts lots of music festivals and a huge annual quilting event.

Dee Wright Observatory

This structure is located at the highest point of the McKenzie Pass Scenic Highway which travels through Willamette National Forest and the surrounding area.  It is constructed entirely of volcanic lava rock and sits in the middle of a huge area (hundred of acres, probably) of the same, black rock.  It was built in 1935 by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

The round building has an open area on top which affords the viewer an unobstructed 360 degree panorama of the area.  The room below it has several large windows, as well as two “viewfinder” windows which point towards the mountains (see post below).

Viewfinder windows


If you are looking at posts from the bottom up, read the post above first so this makes a little more sense.

There were two of these pane-less windows in the wall of the Observatory, made by merely leaving (and/or cutting) a gap in the rock.  They each point at one of the two “Sisters” mountains which can be seen to the east.  Each window has wording etched in the rock below it indicating which mountain you are looking at and how far away it is.  Pretty clever, even for 1935.

The mountain in the lower photo is North Sister.  The window with the sign points to Middle Sister (but that sign was more legible).

Bobbing for apples

This was the first bungee jumper I saw (seen standing in the platform in the post below) bobbing up and down after taking the plunge.  A total of three people jumped in the hour or so that I was there (two visitors and one employee).

And no, JohnBoy didn’t get talked into trying it.  When I was out on the bridge checking out the setup a young lady asked “Are you ready to jump, sir?”.  I replied “No ma’am, I’m afraid of heights and it is all I can do to be out here talking to you”.

I waited and waited for someone else to jump so I could get a video but finally gave up and left.  I guess I’ll just have to wait until I’m in Colorado in a few weeks to get video of my nephew, Sam, bungee jumping.  (There, Sam, I’ve thrown down the gauntlet….).