With some wonderful autumn weather presenting itself, I drove about 80 miles north of Bend to check on foliage on the eastern slopes of the Cascades. While traveling south on Route 126 towards Belknap I happened to stop to check out a couple of waterfalls along the way, Koosah Falls and Sahalie Falls.
Unfortunately, instead of my camera gear, I only took Sam along with me for a longer than expected, though still short, walk along the trail to Koosah Falls. I did take the camera gear down the trail to Sahalie Falls and will be going back to revisit both falls on a better day for water shots, less in the way of perfect blue skies.
Mostly coniferous forests here in Oregon, so fall foliage is certainly not the same as back in New Hampshire, but if you search long enough, there are some stretches of mixed forest here and there, and that is the case along Route 126.
The one thing here that is unavailable in New Hampshire is a shot of fall foliage in a lava field. Throughout the Cascades there are many large lava fields and the pioneer plants that take hold in these fields do tend to be deciduous shrubs and trees.
Yesterday I completed round 5 of 6 of my chemo treatments at the Bend Memorial Clinic. One more three treatment round and I will be swapped over to a Revlimid maintenance treatment and taken off the steroids and other chemo drugs. Might take a couple more weeks here in Bend to get the new maintenance dosage adjusted since my oncologist plans on starting off with some pretty low dosages. So it is looking like early November before making my escape from Bend for warmer climes.
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Discouraged by yesterday’s trip into the Bear River NWR, I decided to avoid all the weekend duck hunters there and venture up into the mountains to catch what is left of the autumn foliage.
So, I headed out mid-morning on the route shown on the map above. As always, just click on any image for a larger, sharper version.
Route 101 east actually ends at the Hardware Ranch WMA visitors Center ( not open this time of year ) and you turn right there on an unnamed gravel road that heads south and connects with Route 39.
Dramatic skies and bright colors greeted me as soon as I started down the east side of the mountain pass on Route 89.
Without a doubt, the dramatic skies enhanced the experience. Watching the shadows race over the colorful mountainside, waiting for just the right moment to snap the shutter, pretty exciting, almost as good as shooting wildlife.
I was very pleasantly surprised by the amount of reds and oranges in these scenes as I expected to see only the yellows and golds of the last remnants of the aspens fall show.
This is one of my favorite shots of the trip along Route 89 with the midday moon looking down on the beautiful rugged mountains just south of Logan.
The last of the mountain foliage shots along Route 89, and then I turned east on Route 101 and traveled through the small town of Hyrum, then entered the Hardware Ranch Wildlife Management Area.
There were several nice boon docking sites along this section of road and one large area with many designated sites, as well as a picnic area with a small bridge over the beautiful little stream that runs alongside the road. At the end of Route 101 is the Hardware Ranch WMA Visitors Center, open during the winter when they apparently feed a herd of 500 elk in the fields across the road.
Just before the Visitor’s center, there is an unmarked gravel road to the right that I took and that eventually connected me to Route 39. On Google Maps this road is named Ant Flats and I believe I saw a mileage post somewhere along the road that said 1106 ( NF road ? ). This road is a well travelled washboardy, gravel road that runs directly along one of the clearest streams I have ever seen. Unfortunately, there are very threatening No Trespassing signs all along the road at this point.
These mule deer were clearly ignoring all the signs. I include these two images only because I happened to just catch this doe in midair ( with my short landscape lens, no less ) as she effortlessly leaped over the 4′ plus fence to rejoin her friends. I am always amazed at how little effort it takes for them to jump some pretty astounding heights. She slowly approached the fence, no running start, then just casually leaped over from a standstill start.
After my little wildlife adventure, the gravel road climbed a bit until it came to a long flat plateau with several grand houses scattered along the mountainside. In this area, all the color was gone with the exception of a few groves of aspen still displaying their bright golds, made all the more brilliant by the cloudy skies that only allowed brief shafts of sunlight through.
The gravel road went for about 15 miles and then joined paved Route 39, where I turned west toward Ogden.
This road quickly began descending back down to the valley, following yet another stream as it went. The lower elevation brought some more unexpected bright colors along this stream.
Route 39 continued on west past the Pineview Reservoir and down through the Ogden Canyon, before emerging in Ogden and then rejoining I-84, where I turned north and headed home.
I’m guessing that I probably missed the best of the fall foliage here by a couple of weeks, but this trip through the mountains, admittedly made more spectacular by today’s dramatic skies, revealed some wonderful late color and I am making a note to try and get back here in late September one day.
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