Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Land of unique geography

Well, we have now been in Central Oregon for almost 2 weeks. What a cool place to be!!! I am very intrigued with the unique geography of the region. We have been on several trail runs since arriving and not one is similar or even close to looking the same. Having lived in 3 different areas of this beautiful country I have a great appreciation for the unique beauty here. So I will share with you all what it is like to step out the door in Central Oregon.

First of all Bend is at the start of the high desert. Walking out the door reminds me of the New Jersey Pine Barrens, only with huge beautiful orange barked Ponderosa Pine trees. Some of the trails in this area are sand covered and littered with pine needles and pine cones. Only the sand is a dark grey/black from volcanic activity many years ago. There are also fields of lava rock just out in the middle of the forest. You also come to large rocky areas like Eagle Rock near Sisters, Oregon. The trail winds around this rock until coming to the top. At the top there is a 360 degree view of all the mountains. And yes the mountains received snow and the view of the snow covered peaks is amazing. Yet when you run down the other side and return to the Pines you almost forget that you are surrounded by mountains as this landscape has a few rolling hills, but is otherwise flat and sandy. There are also hundreds of Chipmunks all over and the biggest one's I've ever seen!!This area is the beginning of the high desert. We will move on and discover other parts of the region.

The next region to explore is the Cascade Mountain Range. You can find yourself among snow covered peaks at 9,000+ft only a short drive from town. We ran up there last week and will most likely now have to wait until spring due to snow. It was an absolutely perfect day in town today. But, up in the mountains a winter wonderland was in the making!! You will find yourself in a more Alpine environment while up in the mountains. Full of snow covered peaks, glaciers, glacial ponds and dormant volcanoes. The trails become more dirt filled and rocky with the occasional root system to hold your attention when trail running. There are rivers, creeks, streams and of course waterfalls to be found. There are plenty of steep mountains to climb and views that make you feel as though you are on top of the world. When the snow falls this place becomes a winter wonderland with opportunities to cross country ski and snow shoe and for the very daring back country skiing and snowboarding down steep trails. There is so much to explore in the Cascades that I will be snowshoeing this winter and look forward to lots of exploring next spring/summer :-).

The last part of my recent exploration is the canyons!! Yes, there are canyons that make you think you are on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Most are along rushing rivers with large rocks throughout and  are turquoise in color. Running on these trails affords views of the rocky canyon walls that make a climber drool. Smith Rock State Park is a fine example of this. The park has a trail system that runs around and over the large rocky canyon that was created by a blown volcano long ago. The beautiful Crooked River runs at the bottom of the canyon. The canyon is huge towering above the plains below. Smith Rock is a paradise for climbers, trail runners, hikers and the everyday outdoor adventurer. The Deschutes River Canyon is another beautiful place to be. You can follow the trail from downtown along the river. Before you know it the canyon walls are reaching up next to you. At the same time you are running along a fast moving river flowing from high up in the mountains into the high desert. Quite a unique experience!!!

I'm sure I will have much more to share over the next few weeks, months, etc. Feel privileged to have grown up in the Northeast, and then lived in the Southeast. And now living in the Northwest. It sure gives me an appreciation for the spectacular geography in which I now live. Excited to explore everything!!!!

More to come soon :-)

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