Friday, September 5, 2008

Beauty All Around

The State of Oregon is made up of several different climates and terrains. On the west she is bordered by the Pacific Ocean which brings wind and rain directly off of the sea. That area is lush, green and beautiful. Between the Coast Mountain Range and the Cascade Mountains range lies a fertile, green, beautiful valley. Most of the larger cities and population live in the valley. Acres and acres of agricultural properties produce all types of food for human and animal consumption. High in the Cascade Mountains another world of beauty is seen. Bend, Oregon is the hub of activity from which year-round enjoyment begins. Our Labor Day weekend camping and fishing trip with my sweetheart's family was in the Cascade Lakes region near Bend. At Crane Prairie. We loved every minute of our time together in the beauty found there. We arrived late Friday afternoon and set up camp before dark. Our family had arrived a day or two earlier and had chosen the perfect spot for us.With a view! My sweetheart kept his little boat 'docked' at the beach near our site.There was time to eat supper and then an evening around the campfire with our family. I woke early the next morning to see light coming through the blinds of the trailer. I didn't waste time. I quickly got up, peeked through the blinds, got dressed as fast as I could, grabbed my camera and went outside. There was a chill in the air and clouds in the sky but I was excited to explore and capture the world around me to share with you.Very soon daylight began to break through the clouds a bit. Looking the other direction across the lake I could only see the base of the mountains.I could hardly wait until the sun came through and the clouds were gone. I knew the view would be more than I had imagined in this world away from the crowds and noise of the city. A brief walk took me to the nearby dock area and a bench that had been placed in the perfect spot for quiet thoughts.As I sat quietly contemplating the joys of being outdoors - suddenly - I realized I wasn't alone. I had been joined nearby by two early morning 'friends'. This was their world. I was the guest! At first they didn't see me. I sat very still so I wouldn't frighten them away. The click of my camera turning on alerted them that someone was there. For several minutes they watched me, as if to study and determine if I was a threat. Then they were gone.After a warm breakfast with my sweetheart, we launched the boat for an exploratory mission. With fishing gear on board just in case we should decide to drop our lines in the water. The wind had picked up on the water, causing enough waves to make it choppy. And chilly. No, it was cold! But the beauty was worth it. Just around the bend from the dock area I saw what my sweetheart had described to me. Trees sticking up out of the water. Dead trees. Millions of trees. This area was once a forested marsh area with some major rivers crossing through it. At some time it had been dammed up to create the lake. A reservoir. In the process many trees had been logged. Many had not. They stood above the water. And even more still stood under the water. Boaters must watch and be cautious in these areas of the lake. Pathways through the trees are clearly marked. Buoys guide the boater. But caution is always advised. I was assigned the task to look for logs, shallow trees or anything that could cause harm to our little boat.My sweetheart was looking for signs of fish. Jumping. I was enjoying the scenery. And I spied a bit of a rainbow! The end was nearby. Where was the pot at the end of the rainbow? Most likely in the lake! Or at the tops of the tall trees on the opposite shore.My sweetheart explained that the fish like to 'hide' in the areas underwater where the trees stand. And in the thousands of old trees that lie on the bottom of the lake. Because of that it's not unusual to see boats tied to a tree stump as the boaters try to catch the fish. We recognized one of those boats. My sweetheart's brother. And two of his grandchildren. And our brother-in-law.We motored close enough to talk to them before we moved on. The wind was picking up and the chill was beginning to cut through my warm jacket. But I didn't want to leave yet. There were things to see. And photos to take! Not far away birds were sitting on old trees. Watching. And resting. And waiting. For something. Probably a fish to catch.One couple was diligently guarding a nest.As we continued to motor back in the direction we had come I spied this. I recognized it. I knew what it was.An osprey nest! This is a common site in many places around our state. At the tops of trees. On top of tall poles. One nest is on top of a tall, old, unused crane parked not far from my home. This nest was in an area where a nearby sign indicated an interpretive trail and study area that are open to the public. A mesh 'platform' was placed on the top of this tree to provide a safe nesting place. Moving closer I zoomed in for a better view.As the wind picked up and the chill became invasive my sweetheart offered to take me back to our campsite. I decided it was a good plan. But thanks to my captain - my sweetheart - I had learned a lot about the lake, its history and the habitat that calls it home. He was a good guide for this journey. I would trust him to take me on another excursion again. Before the weekend was over.The three mountains that were almost constantly in our sight were familiar mountains to me. Part of my history. From my childhood days. I spent many of my growing up years in Bend and I remembered much about the area. It has changed much through the years but some things have stayed the same. Dependable. Familiar. Comforting. Like coming home again. The three big mountains near the lake had that effect on me. Mount Bachelor, the closest to us, is well-known for its ski slopes. Winter brings people from around the world to ski there. Our USA Olympic Ski Teams train there.My favorite mountain in the Central Cascade Range was in the middle. Broken Top. A volcano that erupted long ago.When I was a little girl I asked my mother, 'Why did he broke his top?' I called him 'Brokey-Top' when I was very young. Now, at this point in my life, I'm still fascinated by the sight of ol' Brokey-Top. Although I usually call him by his proper name!Sitting next to Broken Top is one of The Three Sisters. They can be seen together from other vantage points in Central Oregon. This one, The South Sister, was like magic above the water. Ever changing. Always enchanting. Capturing my imagination as the clouds and sun brought changes through the day. The Three Sisters were named by early pioneers. Faith, Hope and Charity. I don't know whether the names start from the north or from the south. This could be Faith. Or, she could be Charity. Whatever her name, she's a beauty!The combination of these three mountains gave us a lot of enjoyment through the weekend. It was hard to look at anything else. I was constantly checking the mountains. So I wouldn't miss anything. Saturday night was very cold! Around thirty degrees. We turned on the furnace in the trailer and snuggled into our warm covers. I was awake early again the next morning and anxious to get outside to see what the morning was like on this new day. The sun was just rising above the mountains. And peeking through the clouds. The world around was still and calm.A bit later the sky had changed enough to see the mountains. The sounds of nature waking around the lake were incredible. Geese called, birds sang. Real music. Natural music. Not a human creation.A light dusting of snow was on Mt. Bachelor.And even more on the South Sister. Because she is a higher mountain.Later that day the winds would pick up again, making boating and fishing difficult. And cold. Time with family through the day found us sitting near a roaring fire or huddled inside each other's trailers for conversation and laughter. At times some ventured out to check the temperature. And the wind. And the waves. Near evening my sweetheart decided to try some Bass fishing in the lagoon near our campsite. The water seemed calm enough there.The wind picked up again and soon he headed for shore. And the warmth of the trailer. And dinner. Evening time with family was filled with much laughter and sharing memories. Good times past. And now. Early Monday morning I peeked out to see the most amazing sight. Once again I quickly dressed, grabbed my camera and headed for the shore.Serious fishermen began to appear in the mist.I wandered toward the dock once again to check the view. Spectacular!Our family was leaving that day. Soon they would return to the world of home, work and the first days of school. My sweetheart and I had chosen to stay for one more day. There was time for one more fishing trip before they left. My sweetheart's brother and two of his grandchildren went with my sweetheart for one last try. There must be fish out there somewhere!They returned later. Empty handed. No fish. But they had fun together. Soon it was time for them to go and our days together were just a memory. Other campers left and my sweetheart and I found ourselves alone in our area of the campground. It was too quiet! I felt sad when I looked across at the campsites where our family had been. I missed them desperately and wished they could have stayed. Not long afterward we decided to drive to nearby Crane Prairie Resort and visit the Lodge. What a beautiful place to go on a warm, sunny day.

The lodge is made of logs. The little store has basic groceries and supplies, fishing supplies and lots of information. I couldn't wait to wander through the yard outside to see the view and enjoy this place just above the lake.Benches made of logs and placed in just the right spots in the grass on the side and at the back of the lodge make a lovely place to sit and enjoy the view. I was delighted to see wooden barrels of flowers adding to the rustic setting around the building.Another one was just around the corner. I loved the view!After a long drive around the area to visit another lake or two and some other campgrounds, we headed back to camp to take one more trip on the water before dark. This year I bought my first ever fishing license. I hadn't fished since I was young enough that a license was not required. But I had not fished yet this year. My sweetheart asked if I would like to fish for awhile. 'No', I replied. 'I think I'll just take my camera. And my book!'But once we were 'docked' - tied to a big stump in the water - I changed my mind. Soon my line was in the water. I was now officially a fisherwoman! Now, I must tell you that I really didn't expect to catch anything. No one in our family had caught a thing all weekend. Fishing wasn't very good for anyone. Or so we heard. But it was worth a try. My sweetheart was happy that I joined him. He is a good coach. Soon fish began to jump nearby. Not long afterwards I caught a fish! A fairly small Brook Trout. I was elated. I had accomplished what the experienced fishermen in the family had not been able to do! I could go home satisfied. My line went back in again and in just a few minutes - a bit bigger fish was on my line. Two. Almost enough for supper for the two of us. We really needed one more. I could tell you about the one who got away. Really. He ate the worm off my hook but avoided my attempts to add him to the dinner menu. I like to think he was big! The sun began to set and our time on the water was nearing the end. Just before heading back to camp I couldn't resist trading my fishing pole for my camera.Tuesday morning was gorgeous. Much warmer than the days before.My sweetheart decided to go fishing one more time before we packed up and headed home. I wanted to stay at camp. We had two-way radios so we could keep in touch with each other. Soon he was underway. (See the ducks flying above the water just behind him?)I quickly headed for the dock so I could watch him go through the mist and around the bend. And take more photos. He saw me and waved.

While my sweetheart was fishing on the lake I spent time reading, walking and getting the trailer ready to travel. The weather was wonderful. Warm and just perfect. The fog on the lake began to lift, the skies were clear and there was no wind.I enjoyed some time down by the dock. Just savoring the world around the lake one more time before we had to leave.The water was calm. It was the first day since we had arrived that the water was still enough to reflect its surroundings.The sun shining on the mountains gave them a beauty we had not yet seen. I loved the way they were reflected in the water.After awhile my sweetheart called me on the radio to tell me that he had caught a fish. Not large but it was just what we needed. It would be added to the two I caught the evening before. It would be perfect on the grill for supper at home. As I finished getting things in the trailer ready for the trip home he soon called again to say that he was heading in and would be at camp in just a few minutes. I quickly grabbed the camera and walked to the dock to welcome him back one more time. Everything was perfectly quiet and then I heard the distant sound of a motor. Just minutes later he rounded the bend and there he was. My sweetheart. In the reflection of the mountain.As we were packing up to leave our spot by the lake we were greeted by a couple who was out for a walk. I think they were the camp hosts for the summer. We visited for a bit. As they began to walk on they asked if we had seen the Eagle in a tree nearby. I followed them to see. There he was. They said he sits there most of the day, high above the other trees where he has a perfect view of the lake and forest below. I couldn't resist adding his picture to those that would always be part of the wonderful memories of our weekend away.Soon we were ready and it was time to go. Time to come back to the world of everyday living at home. Plans have been tentatively made for our reunion next year. We are looking forward to it. So is my sweetheart's family. We loved being together for a few days. We all enjoyed the beauty around us. Most of all we treasured every minute together. Reliving memories and making new ones. Memories that will last forever.

11 comments:

  1. Oh, I am glad that you brought that camera!

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  2. So beautiful I can only dream of a life like this. I wonder why when a heart desires a life of beauty to sit and just enjoy such wonderful places the answer never comes.
    Brian got me so excited about us a RV and now he is backing out. I have always wanted to do this and spend time together. My life feels like all work and no peace. Im really getting tired.My heart feels so unhappy. Oh woman of such grace maybe you can help answer that for me.=)

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  3. Oh, what gorgeous pictures!! I've never been to Oregon, but certainly want to go there one day! You really captures the beauty.
    Well, I guess I am a Fallen woman, but in a good way!!
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

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  4. Beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing your trip with us! The pictures of the mountains reflected in the lake are lovely, so peaceful.

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  5. I lived in Washington for a short time when I was in my early twenties. That part of the country is so beautiful. It's so different from New England where I grew up. Your pictures are such a treat to look at.

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  6. Those are such gorgeous pictures, Adrienne. I can tell you are so much in love with your husband and your new camera. :o) I'm glad you had a wonderful time with your family.

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  7. Beautiful country, and a beautiful story! You should print this story and photos out and put it in a photo album as a gift to your husband!

    Neat that you had beginner's luck fishing! I would be better with a camera than a fishing pole too!

    Thanks for the nice story and great pictures!

    Katherine

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  8. Adrienne, those pictures are beautiful!! Absolutely stunning. Most of them do look like it was cold, very cold!!

    Good for you to catch the most fish. 2 for you 1 for your sweetheart. I'm sure you enjoyed a great fish dinner when you arrived home.

    Blessings,

    Sher

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  9. Hi Adrienne, you've just reminded me what a beautiful place Oregon is, Mount Hood is my favourite mountain xx

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  10. Thank you so much for visiting me during the Enchanted Window party! I must say, the photos you took on your getaway are spectacular!! Oh my gosh, what a wonderful escape! Being a nature lover, I really enjoyed the photos of the water, mountains, the deer, osprey, and the eagle!! It was so much fun looking through all of your beautiful photos!!!...Donna

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