October 1 Cove Palisades & Smith Rock

There was no rain last night but the temperatures went down to below freezing during the night. Our two indoor electric space heaters and our forced air propane furnace were able to keep it cozy inside though. This morning the sun was out and that delighted us since we haven’t seen it for about a week. By about noon, the temperature was up to 46 degrees so we decided to take a spin.

Our first destination was right out the driveway of our campground. We turned left and headed down the road into the gorge that encompasses Lake Billy Chinook. The Lake is mostly fed by the Crooked, Metolius and Deschutes Rivers but there are also quite a few creeks and waterfalls that also dribble in. The gorge walls are predominantly a giant forest of massive, geometric basalt columns and they extend up from the Lake surface to the edge some 500 feet above. They make Devil’s Postpile in California look like a tiny example of this place. The edges are so abrupt and the canyons so narrow that most folks do not even know this place exists because you cannot see it until you drive into it.

We wandered along the shore of the Crooked River portion until we got to a two-lane suspension bridge that got us to the long basalt peninsula between the Crooked and Deschutes. We then drove the other side of the Crooked for a bit before climbing up over the ridge, past a closed campground where numerous deer were dining on the campground’s abundant grass and then on to the Deschutes River Bridge where we turned around and took it all in going the other way. In addition to the deer, we spotted a Golden Eagle, a Bald Eagle, many fat Robins and striking Magpies.

We drove back out of the gorge but turned onto the rim road which we followed for about 10 miles down to the Round Butte Dam and the nightmarish web of rural electrification conductors. As we made our way into Madras for fuel, we noted some large fields of really terrific-looking marijuana growing in nice rows. The odor, easily discernible from the road, was magnificent because entire crops were in full flower. After the fuel stop, we headed down OR-97 to Terrabonne where we hung a left into Smith Rock State Park, another place with stunning scenery and considerable roadside reefer patches. Rock climbers congregate here and we could spot quite a few of them glommed onto the vertical rock faces. They just looked like tiny specks. Many western movies have been filmed here. Maybe it is because of the striking terrain visible in the background like John Ford movies shot in Monument Valley. It seems unlikely folks watched these flicks for the plots.

See pix. Click the link below. https://photos.app.goo.gl/zD99TStbrkCXMFVs9

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