Great Solar Eclipse 2017: Central Oregon at Center Stage

Great Solar Eclipse 2017: Central Oregon at Center Stage

Here in Central Oregon, we’re used to visitors, and lots of them — especially during the prime vacationing months of May through September. Typically, we expect the largest crowds of the year (in the thousands) during Bend’s Summer Fest and Art in the High Desert, Sisters’ Quilt Show, Sisters Rodeo or the Deschutes County Fair in Redmond. This year, though, it’s the third week in August that has captured the attention of the world. That’s when a once-in-a-lifetime solar eclipse will pass directly over Central Oregon on its way across the country. So if you’re planning a house-hunting trip to Central Oregon this summer, Aug. 22 is a date you’ll want to be aware of. That’s when Crook and Jefferson counties are expecting throngs — anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 visitors -– to venture here to witness the highly anticipated “Great American Eclipse of 2017.” No doubt, we’ll feel the repercussions of that event throughout Central Oregon. What makes this eclipse so noteworthy? Most solar eclipses are of the partial variety, in which the moon appears to take a bite out of the sun’s disk. But this will be a total solar eclipse (TSE), which occurs when the moon, sun and Earth are perfectly aligned to allow the moon to cast a shadow on the Earth’s surface. Usually, much of the eclipse takes place over ocean territories; having a TSE that occurs over populated areas is quite rare. In fact, this will be the first TSE in the continental U.S. since 1979. Another thing that sets this eclipse apart: It will be visible from only one country: the United States. The last time...
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...
Community Redefined: Connecting (or not) in a Digital World

Community Redefined: Connecting (or not) in a Digital World

This morning Jack and I splurged on breakfast at one of our favorite Bend haunts, Jackson’s Corner. A harrowing windstorm had blown through Tumalo the previous night and, in addition to wreaking havoc throughout Tumalo, had left us without power. Before our breakfast arrived, we were sipping our coffee  and counting our blessings (only one tree down, and it fell away from the house) when my eye settled on a young family at the table next to ours. A husband, wife and their young daughter were in the midst of breakfast and yet…they weren’t. Mom’s eyes were glued to the laptop stationed on the table in front of her (her plateful of eggs and bacon had been relegated to a spot beside her computer, and she took bite after absent-minded bite as her eyes scoured her computer screen). Similarly, Dad’s eyes were glued to the laptop stationed on the table before him (ditto his breakfast plate). Daughter’s eyes were glued to the ballerina she was coloring on the sheet of paper before her (her sliced apple and toast remained untouched — definitely second-fiddle to that increasingly pink ballerina). Here at Jackson’s Corner — a former neighborhood grocery store located on the edges of downtown and a favorite hangout among locals — the scene seemed a particularly sad commentary. This is, after all, a restaurant founded on a sense of community. First and foremost, Jackson’s Corner is all about the shared experience. Inevitably, when Jack and I come here, we sit at one of the oversize family-style tables, which we gladly share with other diners. This morning, our tablemates were a friendly 20-something...
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...
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