Weekend at Prineville Reservoir Visiting Friends

 

On Saturday morning Maxine and I got up and headed about 150 miles southeast to Prineville Reservoir State Park. Prineville is located east of the Cascade Mountains, which means it is in the high desert environment. My friends Jim and Diana will be working there for the next two months as Interpretive Rangers. You can find their journal posts here. As I’m sure you remember the three of us work together as hosts at Heceta Head Lighthouse during the month of June. We had such a great time working together that I wanted to see them at least once more before I headed back east towards Wisconsin. We arrived just shortly before noon as the temperature were starting to heating up. Unlike the west side of the Cascades, on the east side it has been getting quite hot but cools down considerably at night. We sat outside and visited for a while but then we were in and getting quite warm and decided to move inside the trailer. Maxine made herself right at home as you can tell in this photo.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat Jim and Diane are doing is helping with a bunch of different nature programs and doing astronomy program at night with a large 16 inch telescope. Most of their duties are performed later in the afternoon and through the evening. So we had time to visit before they started working. After visiting for a while we went out and set up the tent right next to their trailer which worked out great. Here’s a photo of their site.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt around five we walked around the campground letting people know about the several programs they were having that evening. And then we went and open the Discovery Center which is like a little Nature Center. Here’s Jim and Diana looking very official in their volunteer uniforms in front of the Discovery Center.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Discovery Center is loaded with all kinds of interesting items. They have a live snake, a couple lizards and an aquarium with a Small Mouth Bass in it.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThey also have a large selection of animal pelts, insects and many rocks and minerals for kids and grown-ups to get familiar with.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere is also have a very nice amphitheater where they run all kinds of interesting programs. The night we were there they brought in a professor that talked about the impact rodents have on re-seeding forest land after there are fires. I learn some new interesting things.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter dark Jim got out the big telescope it has a 16 inch diameter, and is probably about 6 feet long. He set it up and showed all people that were interested many different things. He zoomed in on Saturn and some of its moons. Also you could see Jupiter and see the lines that go across the planet along with many of its moons. He also got lucky and was able to find and focus in on a Ring Nebula, which kind of looks like a donut-shaped light in the heavens, it was really cool looking. This is an area in the universe where stars are supposed to be being formed. I didn’t get any photos of the telescope as it was dark and didn’t want to use the flash, because that would screw which are night vision. The next morning I took a couple photos of the reservoir before we left. It’s a very nice reservoir and quite large and a lot of people come to use the day use area from nearby communities. Here’s a couple photos of the beautiful views from the campground.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn Sunday morning I woke up to the sound of birds singing, which was real nice seeing that in the trailer I very seldom hear them. It cool down at night so I got a very good night’s sleep in the tent, the temperature was just right and I slept very well. We visited over coffee and breakfast and I hung around most of the morning. At around nine Diana, Maxine and I walked around the campground letting people know that the Discovery Center would be open from 10 to 11. So that if anyone wanted to come visit, before heading home, or if the kids had their Junior Ranger books completed they could get them turned in. Most of the campers were leaving on Sunday but some were hanging around for more days. Then at 10 o’clock we open up the center and had a few people come to visit but not too many. At 11 o’clock after closing up the center Maxine and I said our goodbyes, jumped in the car with the top down and started heading back home. Here’s a photo Jim took of us just before we left, thanks for the photo Jim.20046298_1913035422355404_4587096184191874058_n[1]On the way home I stopped at a couple places that Jim and Diana had suggested to do some sightseeing. The first stop was at Smith Rock State Park. This is an internationally famous rock climbing area along the banks of the Crooked River. It’s a nice Park in a desert setting with lots of trails and rocks to climb, with the river running through it.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe didn’t do any hiking because I had twisted my knee earlier in the day and didn’t want to aggravate it anymore, but I stopped and took some great photos and enjoyed the beautiful scenes.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs you drive along through the area you get these beautiful views of the mountain peaks off in the distance. Here’s a photo of the Sisters Mountains still very much snowcapped.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd here’s a photo of Mount Jefferson with the desert type environment in the foreground.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe next place we stopped was Peter Skene Ogden Scenic Viewpoint. This is a cliff top wayside with striking views of the Crooked River Gorge.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are several bridges spanning this 300 foot deep gorge and they were quite a challenge to build when they were constructed. The railroad bridge was the first to conquer this gorge built in 1911.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd it still stands strong and is being use today.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe old Highway 97 Bridge was built in 1926 and remained in use till the late 1990s when it was replaced with the new highway bridge just east of this bridge.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA20170716_133023The bridge is still used as a pedestrian crossing so you can get beautiful views of the gorge. And also from time to time they use it for bungee cord jumping. The day I was there the Oregon Bungee Company was there waiting for people to come and want to jump.20170716_133030While I was there no one jumped, and I didn’t want to wait around too long because it was very hot and sunny. But I did talk to a couple young kids that wanted to convince their parents to let them jump. From there I kept driving slowly back West to get home, it was about a 3 ½ hour drive. And what a difference 50 miles makes from being hot and dry, in the high desert. To warm and shady back in the large trees on the west side of the mountains, it was about 20° cooler. It was a great weekend of catching up with friends and exploring another part of Oregon. It was sure fun to be able to catch up with Jim and Diane again, but sad to say goodbye for now. But there’s a good chance we meet up sometime this winter. That’s it for now take care and best wishes to all, Rick20046298_1913035422355404_4587096184191874058_n[1]

 

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