Sunday, December 30, 2007

Ochocos-Lookout Mountain

Winter backpacking is really the best. Animal tracks are abundant. Solitude is easy to find as is water.
On this trip I headed out for an overnight to the Ochoco Mountains above Prineville. My goal was to complete a 17 mile loop from the Ochoco Ranger Station circling thru' Lookout Mountain and passing by some abandon mining camps and mines.
About a foot of snow was on the ground so I strapped on the snowshoes only to realize that the going was easier without them. In this video, I have discovered some tracks I believed to be Bobcat in the video. In hindsight, I pretty sure they were fox or coyote. I did later see a bunch of mountain lion tracks which were very distinctive-about the size of your hand!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Cascades-Street Creek

Taking the boys out for a winter overnight near Lake Billy Chinook. We hiked up the little known Street Creek, a tributary to the Metolius River.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Dry River Canyon

An ancient river cut the canyon in which now "flows" the Dry River. Once draining ancient Lake Millican, the Dry River's course can now be traced through the Oregon Badlands Wilderness north to the Crooked River. The drainage area of Dry River extends eastward to Hampton Butte and southward to the east flank of Newberry Volcano and all of Pine Mountain. During ice ages, Newberry Volcano hosted large glaciers. Runoff from these glaciers contributed to the flow of Dry River.

A hike up the Dry River Canyon trail reveals hints of the energetic river which once flowed here. Rounded boulders, or grounded holes in bedrock caused by churning rock and water, and gravel at the bottom of the canyon show evidence of its watery past. Geological evidence is not the only clue to the canyon's past environment: several large Ponderosa pine trees linger on the canyon bottom, relics of a past ecosystem which prevailed during cooler times. (BLM website)

Dry River? That's like a quiet hurricane. Well, it exists and it's about 20 minutes east of Bend, Oregon in the Badlands Wilderness area. Makes a great hike with the kids in late fall (area closed in winter to protect habitat).

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Triangulation Peak-Mt. Jefferson Wilderness

A crisp November day meant a sweet and easy day hike up 5,000+ foot Triangulation Peak to enjoy the BEST views of the magnificent Mt. Jefferson, the second highest peak in Oregon.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Cascades - Tumalo Mountain

A great day hike from Bend, Oregon. Definitely easy and fun for little kids. Spectacular views of Mt. Bachelor, the Three Sisters and Broken Top.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Meadow Picnic Area - Deschutes River

The Deschutes River south of Bend, Oregon flows beautifully. It is said that the porous lava rock drains one million gallons of water out of the river and into the groundwater table every day. See the vid' below to get the vibe on the water in this area.

Shane and Drake on the river

Drake on the Deschutes River

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Strawberry Mountain-Grant County

Oregon 36 Project
Hiking the highest peaks in Oregon's 36 Counties
#14-Strawberry Mountain-Central/Eastern Oregon-9,038 feet

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Cascades-Mt. Bachelor

The launch of summer. It's always fun for the kids to get that juxtaposition of heat and snow. We headed up to Mt. Bachelor for a day hike. Shane, Drake and Isaiah.
hiking up Mt. Bachelor
the climbs begins

finding the snow line

sledding down

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Black Butte-Sisters, Oregon

Black Butte is a good hike for folks with young kids. Drake and I did a winter overnight that was very fun.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Redwoods (not Oregon)

Family trip down to the coast of California. The redwoods are incredible.
We stopped by the stormy coast before checking out the giant trees.

Flying sea foam glides along

Kris trying to stay warm on the beach

Drake pushes a tree apart

Inland to the lush forest

The scale of these trees is incredible

The fam' riding up a gondola to view the trees. So cute.

The view. Seems like they would have called this area the Smokies if the name hadn't already been taken.


Monday, February 19, 2007

Ochoco Mountains-Mill Creek Wilderness-Crook County

It was mid-February and I wanted to get my young boys to appreciate winter camping. So we headed into Mill Creek Wilderness in the Ochoco Mountains above Prineville, Oregon.

View of Steins Pillar from the valley of Mill Creek. This is an 350 foot tall stone that is comprised of volcanic ash produced by of the ancient volcanic eruptions of ash that settled in the ancient inland sea and compacted into stone. The stone all washed away except the pillar!

Drake hikes past a burn area from long ago.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Cascades-Black Butte w/ the boys

If there's anything I've learned about going into the wild with the boys it's that having some overall goal has nothing to do with it. The kids want celebrate the little things on the trail along the way. A tree stump, a bug, a rock, moss and so on. Appreciate the journey. I'm convinced I learn more from them than them from me.
We started off this day expedition shooting to investigate the Metolius and Black Butte. Now as of this trip, Shane (left) is 3 and Drake is 5 so the goal is just check stuff out, not bag peaks.

The trip began with a stop near Camp Sherman. This is a remarkable place where the kids are standing that looks anything but. This spot is about a 1/4 mile walk in from the road and is known by locals, but not much beyond that. So-what is it?

Well, the green you see in the background is algae of course, but it's not a muck filled pond. This spot is the beginning of the Metolius River. It's not a trickle on a mountain side, but a flow blown river that erupts out of the ground at this spot.
You can get a little more perspective on that when I turn the camera to the right with Drake standing in the same spot. The water in the background is the Metolius in all is full glory. Amazing. The river was buried at the base of Black Butte when it erupted recently, (geologically) about 20,000 years ago. The eruption built a cone about 3,000 feet above the surrounding landscape making it one of the tallest such cones in Oregon.

It was time to climb the Butte. Now this being February, it was a challenge getting up to the trailhead in the Prius, but with some chains and gumption we made it.

Unfortunately, I don't own any pictures of Black Butte at the moment, but you gotta see this amazing cinder cone. Google "Black Butte photos" if you haven't seen it. Here the boys huff it up the trail on the southwest side. You see Ponderosas which on the east face, only a mile or so up the trail change to an entire different species of plants-manzanitas and fir trees flourish.
A mile in or so, you see a few ancient ponderosas like the one I'm standing next to. The tree to the left is about 300 years old. I love how they show deep wrinkles of age as the fissures in the bark layers get deeper. Ponderosas get a distinctive orange tint on their trunks around 100 years that stays with them. Their color seems to relfect their wisdom of all they've seen.
These trees are beautiful, but also darn smart. The bark has dozens of layers which are sacrificial by design. When fire comes thru' they can have those outer layers of bark burn while the cambium layer (the tree tissue which acts like a blood vessel) stays protected.
Here Drake investigates a younger ponderosa-counting the rings to determine the age. At this moment he is showing me the distance between rings which varies depending on the amount of rainfall and then subsequent growth that year. When you look at the rings of an old tree like this (this one was about 200 years old) you are seeing a climatic record of the area. When the dry spells hit, wet periods and other stresses to the tree over many decades.
Our little 3 year old is getting spent after a short jaunt in.
Time for lunch and a recharge!
We didn't make it far up the trail that day, but the trip got Drake charged up and we summitted the Butte (6,436 feet) and camped out up there a month later.