"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Driving the McKenzie/Santiam Pass, Sisters - OR

Sisters, Oregon
Sister's Creekside Park Campground

The town of Sister's sits at just over 3000 ft elevation with a growing population of 2000.  Hiking, biking and horse back riding are very popular here.  Today we'll be doing none of that though. 
It's just a few days before 4th of July and the entire town is decorated Red, White and Blue.

This is a popular tourist stop also so there are many shops to venture through.

I think Sister's gets the award for most and prettiest flowers.  It's also a very RV friendly town.  It may be small, but there is ample parking all around.  If you simply drive around the backside of some of the businesses there are RV parking areas all around.
This town reminds me of Placerville.  Ya know, people casually walking or riding their horses through town. 
Have you seen a 5th wheel towing set-up like this before?
 We stopped in at Cascade Street Distillery for some sampling.  I went on Groupon and got a great deal for the 4 of us!  55% Off!

We each got a sampling of our own choices and a cocktail after.  The guys loved it, Diane and I were, eh.  We're not hard liquor fans, but it was fun.  The pear and berry flavored were our favorites.  The guys like the potato vodka.
Salute' !!
They even have one of the cutest movie theaters here.  It's privately owned.  It looks small from the outside but inside there are 4 nice theaters.  They even have a pretty good menu of food and drink items.
Back at camp we enjoyed a nice fire in these large fire bases. They ere decorated with a wolf theme.
 Tomorrow we'll get up early for a drive on the McKenzie Santiam Pass Scenic Byway Loop.
It took us most of the day with the stops and we still didn't get to see all the waterfalls.  Steve and I will come back to see them after my brother heads out.
First up was the Belknap Viewpoint.  From here you can see across the lava fields to Mt. Washington.  The lava stops just in front of the road.

The Dee Wright Observatory was not at all what I thought it would be.  I was thinking a bit more modern.  It sits at the 5325 foot summit of McKenzie Pass in the Cascade Mountains.  The structure is an open shelter made with lava stone. It sits in the middle of a large lava flow, and offers an amazing view of numerous mountains.
Yet another structure built by the CCC during the Depression and completed in 1935.  Learn more about the CCC, HERE.

The views from up here go on forever.  There is a plaque inside explaining the area.

There are different sized windows around the structure showing you the different mountains.
Each one shows you one peak and tells you the name of it.  Really cool.

Up on the roof is a bronze plaque pointing out the direction of all the peaks as well.
There are a couple of trails that meander through the lava fields showcasing some of the different types of lava and the effects on the area.


It's hard to tell in the photo above, but the depression is the lava gutter.

The black lava, bright blue sky and the green of the trees really popped.

Lava wall.
Taking a short break.  My brother Steve, and sister-in-law, Diane.
My favorite thing I learned was the Kipuka.  I noticed it right when we arrived and wondered how strange that it was not touched by the lava.  Then there was this sign about it on the trail.

There were lots of "ghost" trees too.  Their bleached bodies again making a start contrast of color.
View back towards the observatory from the trail.
As we were pulling out there was a bike parked alongside of us.  We had seen him riding up the summit.  It always amazes me to see bikers on these steep grades.  What great shape they are in.  Good for them!
The peaks of the Three Sisters.  They are nicknamed Faith (North); Hope (Middle); and Charity (South).
Scott's Lake sits back off a dirt road and has some primitive tent camping.  If you're lucky enough to get out on a kayak in the middle of the lake you can get a gorgeous reflections of the Sisters on the lake when it's very calm.
As we wound about 3/4's of the way around the loop we hiked the Proxy Falls Trail.  It was a fairly easy 2 mile trail.  Hiking is neither my brother or Diane's favorite thing but they were troopers. 

It was a nice trail and pretty shady most of the way.  Just a little humid.
The falls first greet you from a distance where you get a peak at them.  Then you climb down a bit of steep area to get to the base.
At first Diane was going to wait for us at the top, but we all talked her into it.  In the end she was glad she came.

How pretty is this?  Oregon has some of the prettiest waterfalls!
Proxy Falls
On our way back out we came across this Bassett Hound.  He was doing great on his own but needed a little help over some of the large logs.
Some ducking and climbing involved.  Gotta be careful on these roots too.
On the way home you pass by a large area where these old trees still stand, bleached by time of fires long ago.
It was a long day.  Time for some wings, burgers and beer tasting at Three Creeks Brewery.

 Steve and Diane will leave us tomorrow and head towards the Columbia River and the Washington Coast before joining back up with us and more friends in Hoodsport, WA in August.
See ya guys later.  It's been a fun 2 months!!