Leaving the Central Oregon KOA, in Culver, just north of Redmond, my itinerary for the day was Bend and Crater Lake, with an overnight stop somewhere in the Rogue River Valley. I did not figure on three of Oregon’s best kept secrets. Ogden Memorial Park, on the south edge of Culver, captures Crooked River Canyon. It is named for Peter Ogden, the hero of the Whitman Massacre and founder of Ogden, Utah.
Also memorialized here is Navy Lieutenant Rex Barber, a native of Culver, who shot down the airplane carrying Admiral Yamamoto, in World War II. Smith Rock overlooks the town of Terrebonne, just north of Redmond and Bend. Here is the middle of Volcano Alley (my term for central Oregon), with Mt. Jefferson and the Three Sisters winking back, from the west.
At Smith Rock State Park, hundreds of Oregonians and visitors busied themselves with hiking, jogging, rock-climbing and just plain gawking, in an environment not unlike several in central or western Arizona.
I hiked down to the river and along its banks for a while, before heading to Bend, central Oregon’s burgeoning hub.
Bend has a fine reputation as an interesting recreation center. Stopping for lunch at Sidelines Sports Bar & Grill, I was not disappointed. Yes, they have great lemonade, as well as superb food. I learned something new about Oregon- there are lots of Arizona Cardinals fans here.
I soon found myself in another unexpected treasure: Newberry Volcano National Monument. This is one of a few national monuments run by the US Forest Service, rather than by NPS. I took the road to the top of a cinder cone, in the North Unit of the Monument, and spent a little time near the Visitor’s Center, afterward. This volcano exploded some 7,000 years ago.
The Middle Sister comes into view, from the top of the North Cinder Cone at Newberry.
On my way to the car, a little park resident was busy with its supper.
The day drew to a close, with a near-perfect sunset, at chilly and gorgeous Crater Lake, Mount Mazama’s gift to posterity.
The only drawback of being on the north side of this quiet gem at sunset is- the lake is not in the foreground. It is still a thing of beauty, though.
These days, one after another, have been amazing. Next up: The Rogue River Valley and northern California’s own Volcano Highway.