Day Tripping: Fall-ing for the Hood River Fruit Loop

Day Tripping: Fall-ing for the Hood River Fruit Loop

Last week, Jack and I headed to Hood River for the first time. With fall colors awash throughout the area, it seemed the perfect time to sneak away for a few days and check out the area’s famous Fruit Loop. Located in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge, the Hood River Valley is the nation’s largest pear-growing region. It’s also known for its numerous vineyards and wineries, and is a great place to stock up on (depending on the season) fresh apples, cherries, blueberries, raspberries and such. We had no real plan other than to meet up with Jack’s sister and her husband and explore the region as time and the weather allowed. Our rendezvous spot was the quaint Hood River Hotel, which proved to be the ideal home base for prowling around downtown Hood River (thanks, Jimmy) and the scenic environs beyond.   Here, in pictures, are a few highlights of our trip:                               About the Author Lisa Broadwater, GRI, CDPE, is a Central Oregon-based real estate professional who specializes in listing and selling homes, especially in Sisters, Tumalo, Bend and...
Daytripping: Reel Fun at East Lake

Daytripping: Reel Fun at East Lake

I was looking for a bit of Oregon history; Jack was in search of Kokanee. We found both recently at East Lake. (What’s more, we invited a cadre of Jack’s family to join us on our five-day escape. Sweet!) Located about 45 minutes southeast of Bend, East Lake is one of several historic spots worth exploring within the fascinating Newberry National Volcanic Monument. The monument’s centerpiece — Newberry Volcano – is the largest volcano in the Cascades volcanic arc and one of the largest shield volcanoes in the lower 48 states. In fact, according to the U.S. Forest Service, it covers an area the size of Rhode Island, extending approximately 75 miles north to south and 27 miles east to west. Unlike the typical cone-shaped volcano, Newberry formed the shape of a broad shield, created by repeated eruptions over the past 400,000 years. It’s commonly referred to as Newberry Crater; however, the “crater” is actually a caldera (which is formed when the top of a volcano collapses after the magma chamber beneath empties out). Established in 1990 and operated by the U.S. Forest Service, Newberry National Volcanic Monument spans more than 56,400 acres and encompasses all of the 17-square-mile Newberry caldera, parts of the upper slopes of the volcano and most of the volcano’s “Northwest Rift Zone.” Its summit can be found at Paulina Peak -– which, at an impressive 7,985 feet, offers expansive views of the Cascade Mountains, Newberry Caldera and the High Desert below. Other sightseeing stops within the caldera include the Big Obsidian Flow, Paulina Falls and a number of hiking trails. The caldera may have...
Day-Tripping: Checking Out the Whychus Canyon Preserve Addition

Day-Tripping: Checking Out the Whychus Canyon Preserve Addition

Yesterday I attended the dedication for the new 480-acre addition to the Whychus Canyon Preserve in Sisters. I had previously hiked the trails within the Preserve and loved them, so this seemed like a great excuse to return. (To digress for a moment, if you’ve never explored the Whychus Canyon Preserve, you’re missing out. It’s a nature-lover’s nirvana, with trails meandering along the rocky, deserty crest of the canyon and diving down into the verdant valley basin below. Then there’s the star of this show: Whychus Creek, which provides its own distinct appeal.) The 480-acre addition to Whychus Canyon Preserve was acquired last fall; it brings the total lands owned and managed by the Deschutes Land Trust to 930 acres. That includes 3.7 miles of Whychus Creek, along with high-quality grasslands and old-growth juniper stands. The goal of the Land Trust is to protect the highest-quality wildlife habitat along Whychus Creek; to ensure the permanent care of those lands for generations to come; and secure important habitat for salmon and steelhead, deer and elk, eagles and songbirds. (Until yesterday, I didn’t know that Whychus Creek was historically the most productive steelhead stream in the upper basin of the Deschutes River.) Protecting and restoring the habitat needed to rebuild the wild steelhead run of the Deschutes River is a key Land Trust component. I was especially glad I attended the Saturday morning ceremony after I learned that, for now anyway, this addition to the Preserve is only open for guided tours (the main Preserve, on the other hand, has an extensive network of trails that are open to the public).   After the...
Daytripping: Scott Lake’s Fabulous Fall Colors

Daytripping: Scott Lake’s Fabulous Fall Colors

It started as a simple Sunday drive — our annual trek along the Santiam Pass-McKenzie Pass Scenic Byway Loop to feast our eyes on some serious fall colors. The previous day we’d made the arduous trek from Tumalo to Camp Sherman (20 whole miles) and had set up our new (old) camper to test-drive it at a remote campsite. Today’s goal was to scout a new spot for me to capture the fall colors with my camera — one of my favorite autumn indulgences. Friends had recommended Scott Lake, in part because it’s not far from another scenic locale: Proxy Falls. When we arrived at our destination via the McKenzie Pass, we realized we had actually pulled into the Scott Lake Campground before — but had turned around without stopping because of what we perceived as a lack of interesting distractions. Just goes to show how much we miss out in life by neglecting to venture into the unknown. Figuring I could at least get one nice shot of the lake, we parked at one of the handful of primitive campsites, quickly found a trail running along the edge of the lake and headed west.   Within no time, we had rounded a bend and…Eureka! We were rewarded with jaw-droopingly gorgeous full-on views of the Three Sisters Mountains, which were even more stunning when framed in the bounteous fall colors surrounding Scott Lake. I could have spent all day perched at one of the strategically placed picnic tables, just gazing at the Three Sisters, with absolutely no perception of the outside world. If only we’d brought a picnic…(and if...
Day Tripping: Clear Lake & Coldwater Cove Campground

Day Tripping: Clear Lake & Coldwater Cove Campground

It’s autumn in Central Oregon, and you know what that means: Time to hit the road. When it comes to spectacular fall colors, the region is an embarrassment of riches, boasting a wide variety of locales where Mother Nature really struts her stuff. Over the years, I’ve written about a number of my fall-color favorites, including Camp Sherman, the McKenzie-Santiam Scenic Loop, McKenzie Bridge — even downtown Redmond. This year, I’m adding Clear Lake to the list.   I’m embarrassed to admit that Jack and I only recently explored Clear Lake, one of the region’s most-popular haunts. And even then it was by accident — one day in mid-September we woke up and faced the fact that taking a two-week summer vacation just wasn’t in the cards this year. So, with autumn nipping at our heels, we scrambled to squeeze in at least one three-day escape ASAP. Given the tight timeframe, staying close to home seemed to make the most sense. We settled on Clear Lake because it offered a variety of outdoor activities within a close proximity: Jack wanted to mountain bike, I wanted to photo hike and we both wanted to take out our canoe. What’s great about Clear Lake is not only is there a nice loop trail around it, but bikers looking for a real challenge can also access the popular McKenzie River Trail from here. Several other scenic spots — Sahalie Falls, Koosah Falls and the eerie Blue Pool (aka Tamolitch Falls) — are also just a stone’s throw away. And they’re all within an hour’s drive from our home in Tumalo. Sold! After...
Day Tripping: Wooden Shoe Tulip Fest

Day Tripping: Wooden Shoe Tulip Fest

During Easter Weekend, my sister-in-law, Denise, and I trekked to the Wooden She Tulip Fest in Woodburn. The festival, which runs from March 28-May 4, celebrates one of spring’s favorite bulbs — and what a celebration it is! More than 40 acres of fields are awash in an array of brilliant colors, with blooming bulbs almost as far as the eye can see. It’s a spectacular sight. The family-run farm has been in operation  since the 1950s; the Wooden Shoe tulip business was formed in 1983 and grew (literally!) from there. The tulip fields were first opened to the public in 1985, during Easter weekend. Nowadays, the festival runs for almost eight weeks and offers much more than just the exploration of the rows and rows (and rows….) of tulips. Granted, at least for me, getting lost among the gorgeous blooms would be enough of a draw; the flowers here run the gamut of shapes, sizes and colors. Before venturing to the Tulip Fest, I had no idea just how many different varieties there are!   For those who need more than just beautiful bulbs to capture their attention, there’s plenty here — a gift shop, a food court, tram rides, duck races, photo ops, planted pots and more. Of course, everything is extremely family-friendly; the festival is designed to bring out the kid in all of us. And it does — I had a smile on my face from start to finish. All the unbridled joy seen on so many young faces was contagious.   In hindsight, I do wish we could’ve gone on a weekday; the crowds can be a bit overwhelming. And,...

Fall in Full View: Exploring the McKenzie-Santiam Scenic Loop

Last weekend, Jack and I headed out on our annual fall-color pilgrimage via the McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway Loop. Each trip, we try to venture to uncharted territory (for us, anyway) and see if we can discover even more beautiful autumn scenery than previous years before. So far, we have yet to be disappointed. That’s because at just about every bend in the road off Highways 242, 126 and 20 between Sisters and McKenzie Bridge along the area’s extensive network of trails, side roads and logging roads can be found some of nature’s most spectacular jewels outfitted in a spectrum of brilliant shades. This year, we wanted to show our friends Bill and Marty one of our favorite secret vista points not far from McKenzie Bridge, so we planned on just revisiting familiar ground. Luckily, we got more than we bargained for. Shortly after brief photo stops at Dee Wright Observatory and Lava Camp Lake, Marty (or was it Bill?) suggested we stop at Proxy Falls. So why hadn’t Jack & I had already explored one of Oregon’s most popular waterfalls? Simple: It’s one of Oregon’s most POPULAR waterfalls (we hate crowds). Left to our own devices, we probably wouldn’t have stopped on this trip, either. But our friends cheerfully insisted. Sure enough, we did indeed encounter quite a few folks along Proxy Falls’ meandering loop trail. However, I have to admit, I hardly noticed anybody who passed me (I made lots of photo stops) because the scenery surrounding me was so gorgeous. The colors were just beginning to make their presence felt among the coal-hued lava beds...

In Search of the Spectacular Fall Colors of Central Oregon

Okay, at the count of three, everybody put down your smartphone, your iPad, your iPod, your Kindle — whatever technological devices you have attached to your fingertips, your hip and/or your earlobe. Now step outside and take a good look around.  It’s autumn in Central Oregon, and it’s gorgeous out there! Everywhere you look, a breathtaking array of incredibly vibrant fall colors awaits — in practically in every direction, from Black Butte to Camp Sherman to Sisters, Redmond, Bend and beyond.   I’ll admit, I do have my favorite spots for experiencing autumn at its finest. For a daylong immersion in color, you can’t beat the the McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway in general and McKenzie Bridge in particular (I’ve made several trips to McKenzie and have been thrilled with the results, including this scenic trip to Tokatee Golf Club). Closer to home, the Metolius River Trail in Camp Sherman is glorious and downtown Redmond is first-rate (with street upon street lined with multicolored canopies of color). No question, the best way to explore your options is on foot, by bike or by horseback. But, heck, you don’t even have to get out of your car to appreciate the show — just drive a few miles and open your eyes. (In fact, I snapped several of the photos shown here from the passenger seat of our F-150.) But whatever you do, don’t wait too long; this show definitely has a limited engagement.   To get an idea of what you’re missing, check out the photos below:             About the Author Lisa Broadwater, GRI, CDPE,...
(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i[\'GoogleAnalyticsObject\']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,\'script\',\'//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js\',\'ga\'); ga(\'create\', \'UA-31206370-1\', \'auto\'); ga(\'send\', \'pageview\');