A Weekend in Redmond, Oregon

My weekend opened up, so I decided on a spontaneous motorcycle trip to visit family in Vancouver, WA, and a continuation to Redmond, Oregon, to see Bill and Marty, friends from Navy days.

Redmond is located in Central Oregon, with Central Oregon being more than just an approximate location, but rather the name for an area of high desert, located on the eastern alluvial plain of Oregon's Cascade Mountains. It is an area that is over 3,000 feet in elevation, hot in the summer, cold in the winter, and receiving relatively little rain after the storms dump their moisture on their passage over the mountains. However, much of Central Oregon is well irrigated and productive. The runoff of the eastern side of the mountains eventually finds its way into the Deschutes River, which meanders, often in deep channels, northbound and finally empties into the mighty Columbia River.

On its way to the Columbia, the Deschutes River feeds a network of irrigation canals, smaller channels and finally ditches with good quality water. The water rights are well defined, and the ranches in Central Oregon have two or three days each week when they can insert a temporary dam into their ditch and allow the water to flood their fields. At the end of the day, a field will have an inch or two of standing water, which makes for very green and productive pasture land. Most of the land is used for the ranching of cattle, horses, sheep and goats. However, some fields produce crops, making the area a productive bread basket.

With mostly clear skies and sensational views, Central Oregon is becoming a popular retirement destination. Small ranches afford a high degree of privacy and the fun of raising a few horses and cattle for recreation and sustinance. Traffic is not a factor in one's lifestyle, and the cost of living is affordable.


Deschutes River

As I traveled south from Mt. Hood, I dropped into the Deschutes river valley on one of several crossings of this meandering river.


Looking bach up the Deschutes Valley

Looking back up the Deschutes Valley.


With Marty and Bill

I enjoy visiting Marty and Bill after not seeing them for a number of years.



Bill feeds his cattle grain once a day to supplement their grass diet.

Juniper Tree

Juniper trees were not native to the area, but are now prolific and the most common tree in the plateau area.


A large pond

A large pond teems with wildlife. In the mornings and evenings, we could watch young Canadian Geese being taught how to takeoff and land on the water. A doe raised her young on the island to the left. Feral cats, adopted by Marty and Bill, stalk the grass for vicious shrews and other critters. Coyotes visit occasionally, and even mountain lions are know to be in the area.


A pair of fawns.

These fawns spend their time on the property while their mother spends the day foraging. On my second evening, the mother did not return and the fawns started mewing much like a kitten. It was too early to know if she will return.

Title_lava lands

Don in the lava field.

The Cascade Mountains are volcanic, and the Lava Lands Visitor Center is a U.S. Forest Service educational project to allow tourists to see various examples of volcanic terrain formation.


Lava cinder cone.

This lava cinder cone has a road to the top and is in well preserved condition.


Lava to the horizon.

This lava field extends for miles, and is something I used to puzzle over on my flights from San Francisco to Seattle.

Title- Smith Rock State Park

Looking at one of the faces of Smith Rock, which is what remain of only a corner of a gigantic volcanic caldera.


In northern Deschutes County lies Smith Rock, which is actually fragments of a huge volcanic caldera representing just one corner of the cone. Much of the rock is called, "tuff," which is volcanic ash that was frozen into hard rock through heat and pressure. Tuff provides a smooth surface, and as the face of the tuff is vertical, has been a favorite and challenging surface for rock climbers. Indeed, Smith Rock is often considered the birthplace of modern technical climbing. Over 500 climbing routes are documented on the various faces of Smith Rock

The Crooked River flows through Smith Rock and has played a role in creating the scenic quality of the park. A great many tourists visit the park, some for technical climbing, but many more to hike its various trails. Bill and I felt compelled purge our minds and bodies of all human pleasure by taking on the aptly named, "Misery Ridge Trail." Our early start migrated into a 10:30 commencement on a day that would reach 95 degrees Fahrenheit.


Climbing face of Smith Rock

The start of the Misery Ridge Trail starts by switching to the top of the scree, from which some of the technical climbing routes begin. The smooth surface is welded ash, called Tuff.


Bill looks at the Misery Ridge Trail

Bill assesses the Misery Ridge Trail.


A ranger shows a gopher snake

A park ranger introduces guests to a gopher snake.


A young man bouldering.

A young man hones his skills by bouldering.

Working up Misery Ridge

Moving up the Misery Ridge Trail.


Looking down from the Misery Ridge Trail

Climbers catch their breath and enjoy the green of the Crooked River.


A family celebrates the summit.

A family celebrates their summit climb.


View from the summit.

We spent time on the summit drinking water and enjoying a spacious view in all directions.


It was a great weekend, seeing friends, motorcycling, and taking in some fine scenery.

Don Webster

The End