Friday, November 25, 2011

The Golden Lining - Crooked River Canyon

"Where would I live if I were a man of golden words or would I live at all?" - Andrew Wood, Mother Love Bone

My youngest daughter, Odessa, and I recently traveled to Central Oregon to both visit family and so I could participate in a craft show with my photography creations. I had set out a full agenda for our travel day over. Some hiking, lunch in Bend, and just doing what I love to do best - playing with my camera.

Mount Hood as seen from one of our stops

Unfortunately, my vehicle had other ideas. My Land Rover - which I affectionately call "The Zombie" because my husband has brought it back from the dead after rebuilding the engine - had some brake issues and we were forced to make several prolonged, unscheduled stops. By the time we reached Madras, to say I was  annoyed and frustrated would be a a gross understatement. The way I saw it, my day had been ruined and I just wanted both the day and the road trip over with.

As we reached Peter Skene Ogden State Scenic Viewpoint near Terrebone, "golden hour" had just started to set in. I decided this was a good time to make an unscheduled stop, this time that I chose, and see what I could capture with the camera.

Anyone who has met Odessa, knows that sometimes she can be a bit "bouncy", and after being cooped up in a sometimes moving vehicle most of the day, she had a lot of energy that needed to be burned off. She was very excited to have a chance to stretch her legs. However, when I saw this sign, I immediately began to rethink my decision to stop here.

The view here was incredible. Once we got to the rock wall, and peered over, I could understand why a warning sign is necessary at the parking lot. I snapped off a few shots, drinking in the last of the sunlight and the smell of sagebrush in the air.

Odessa wanted a turn with the camera as well. I nervously helped her hold it and she grabbed a few shots of her own. Apparently she thought everyone needed to see this image of the wall.

A photo by Odessa

The grounds here were absolutely littered with leaves, over ankle deep in places. Like any other little kid, Odessa could not resist such an opportunity, and ran and jumped in them with a look of pure glee on her face.

She then decided that it would be fun to bury herself in the leaves, kinda like a little crab in the sand.

Can you find Odessa in the leaves?

After I was able to locate my child again, we were back on the road. As we drove down Highway 97, I thought to myself that the day wasn't the complete disaster I had thought it had been. The chance to watch my girl, so completely happy playing in the leaves, and capture those images with my camera was truly the golden lining to the day.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful - 2011 Edition

As I hunker down indoors, taking shelter from what I refer to as Hurricane November, the wind and rain are pelting the Northwest. Soon it will be time to put on the elastic pants and partake of the feast of Thanksgiving, to be followed immediately by the cardiac exercise known as Black Friday. Like many others this time of year, I am also taking a few moments and reflecting on the things I am thankful for this year. They include, but are not limited to:

My two beautiful daughters, whom I have managed to drag from one corner of Oregon to the other, and they have ridden along happily. Okay, maybe not happily the whole time, but, with minimal whining from the back seat. Their pleasant moods may have resulted from some form of bribery on my part. In any event, they are two of the best travel companions I could ever have!!

Two of my favorite pictures of my girls from our travels this year!

My health. Well, most of it at least. Despite the fact I may sample a little bit too much Oregon wine and beer from time to time, and stuff my face with pork at every opportunity, I somehow still manage to make it to the top of hiking trails from time to time to see some magnificent things.

Ramona Falls - My favorite hike this year!

The 25th Birthday of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Act. Not just this year, but every year I am thankful that this natural treasure has been preserved for my children, and their children in the (very, very, very distant) future to come.

There could have been a housing development here.

My favorite camera lens. I would truly be lost without it. While camera bodies have come and gone, it has been my trusty companion. Through it, I have viewed the beauty of the Northwest and my children laughing and playing in the outdoors. With it, I have captured images of memories I have made with my family.

Last, but not least, my great friends and family. You know who you are. You are the ones that constantly support me in all my endeavors. You listen to me complain, or brag a little about that great little adventure I went on. You look at all my images and tell me how beautiful they are, and also throw a little constructive criticism when I need it. You come by my blog, and leave great comments that reassure me someone is actually reading the stuff my brain is spouting out. I am thankful for every single one of you, every single day and don’t you forget it!!

Yes - I am looking at you!!

With that, I will end my once a year, mushy and sappy ramblings. I hope you all have a great holiday in which you fill your belly with tasty treats!

What are you thankful for this year?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Fall's Spectacular Show in the Columbia River Gorge

"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower." - Albert Camus

Fall is when the Columbia River Gorge pulls out all the stops to put on a spectacular show. Red, gold and orange pops from every tree branch in an explosion of color. The leaves hang on for dear life as the east wind attempts to blow them loose to tumble to the ground.

The show is hitting its peak right now. Many branches are already bare, the east wind having done its job, and roads are covered in a blanket of fall color. Like the harvest season that has just ended in Hood River, soon the show will be over, so catch it while you can.

On a mission to Hood River to procure more apples for my famous apple butter on the final weekend most fruit stands are open, my girls and I made a few stops to experience the autumn beauty only the Columbia River Gorge can offer.

Our first stop was Benson Lake State Park along I-84, just before you reach Multnomah Falls. A popular fishing spot, we found it totally devoid of other people. With the wind calm and the sky shining blue, the reflection of fall foliage on the lake surface was surreal.

Nest we stopped at the Eagle Creek Fish Hatchery. My oldest daughter, Sage, recently studied the life cycle of salmon in school.

Here they were easily viewed from the banks for the creek as they swam upstream. As they put on a show of their own, I couldn't be sure if it was in competition with the trees above, or in symphony with them.

Pictures don't do this sight justice. The sounds of the rushing water of Eagle Creek, the salmon as they swam and splashed in the current is just something that should be seen. Therefore, I took a little video to transport you to the banks of the creek with me.

We could have spent hours there. In fact, we very well may have because time seemed to slip away as the girls played in the fallen leaves and I stood mesmerized by the salmon.

We tore ourselves away and continued our journey to Hood River and arrived at the fruit stands just before they closed. It was one last visit to the orchards, and we returned home with another 20 pounds of apples in the trunk destined to become butter.