Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Life is a Cascade Lakes Highway……

….and we drove it all afternoon long!!
After an excellent breakfast of homemade cinnamon rolls made by my aunt, it was time to hit the road and head back towards home….eventually. If you have been following this blog long, you know that we never take the shortest and most direct route home from any trip. Another round of everyone’s favorite game “Which mountain is that?” was also destined to begin.
Cascade Lakes Highway, near the beginning of our journey.
The Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway is a 66 mile loop around Mt. Bachelor to downtown Bend. We, however, did not start from the beginning, but near La Pine and the road that leads to Wickiup Junction. Most of the tour guides say to allow for at least 3 hours, which was about the amount of time we took. However, this did not allow for any time to hike, or do much more than jump out of the RV and snap a few pictures. It is definitely an area you can spend days in exploring, and I hope to get back and do this again in the future.
South Sister and Lava Lake
 Our first stop was Lava Lakes. There is a small resort here, with camping, a general store and boat rentals. While my husband, Jon, and our daughters chose to go explore the store (and found some great travel toys for the RV), I headed to the boat dock for the views of both Mount Bachelor and South Sister. While the weather may not have been ideal for capturing reflections of mountains in the water (a little too much wind), the views of both snow capped peaks were no less stunning. 
Mount Bachelor from the boat dock at Lava Lake
After, we headed back out on the highway, making brief stops at Hosmer Lake, Elk Lake, and Devil’s Lake. 
Devil's Lake
One stop of note was at an area just before we arrived at Sparks Lake. Mount Bachelor seemed so close you could touch it, and the wind was still enough here you could just catch a reflection of the peak in what water was visible through the lush, green vegetation. However, this also made for an ideal mosquito habitat. Even though it was the hottest part of the day, they swarmed me immediately as I exited the vehicle, attaching themselves to whatever skin was not protected by my clothing. Final bite total was about 20, but the picture was so worth it.
Mount Bachelor
Our final stop along the byway was Sparks Lake, where we also ate a late lunch. A beautiful lake encased in lava rock, with once again, spectacular mountain views. To the guy trying to take a swim, whom I “nicely” asked to get out of my shot of Broken Top, thank you for being so patient with me. Honestly, I am not always this obnoxious when I have the camera in my hands.
Broken Top and Sparks Lake
From there, we continued to Bend, towards another dilemma to ponder: Should we take the quick route home via Highways 97 and 26 over Mount Hood, Highways 20 and 22 to Salem and up I-5, or the really scenic route over McKenzie Pass? Which one do you think we chose???
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  1. I'd be so interested to hear more about these Sisters. I've heard mention of them before but sounds like there is a deeper story lurking here. As always, I love your photos. Every new photograph brings me a step closer to the Pacific Northwest in my heart

  2. The pictures here are like little postcards from your trip - something for all of us to share and for you to treasure for the memories and experiences you've created for your family.

  3. Very nice! I loved the area when we wandered through... need to go again soon!

  4. Thank you for the great comments everyone!!

    Sarah: I think there is an Indian legend associated with them. I think. I am going to have to do some research on that.