After the beach we headed over the Cascade Mountains to the high desert of Bend, Oregon where my mother and sister live. Marijuana is legal in Oregon now and dispensaries abound. In Bend alone there are 32 of them and only 4 liquor stores (which are state sanctioned). Delightful names: Dr. Jolly’s, Bloomwell, Hempies…..
I spent a lot of time with my mother listening to stories she wanted to share and we ventured out into the wild for dinner one night at the Cowboy Dinner Tree. A few days later we drove southwest toward Crater Lake which was closed due to forest fires but ended up for a few day at Lemolo Lake for fishing and hiking.
We also visited Lava Tube Cave (2 miles long), Lava Butte and Pilot Butte near Bend. The geological wonders of this area fascinate me. The Cascade Mountains are all volcanoes and the range was created by their activity thousands of years ago. Last year this area received lots of snow and natives hoped that would limit wildfires this summer, but spring rains encouraged tall grass to grow and then dry providing tinder for lightening strikes. There were 32 wildfires burning while I was there. This is quite natural and many are simply allowed to burn themselves out unless humans are threatened. We drove through the remains of a wildfire near Sisters that was being contained, fire crew dealing with flames and smoldering, alongside the highway when we crossed the Cascades. in September.
The High Desert Museum south of Bend shows the history of Native Americans who first inhabited this land, the settlers who came for gold and stayed for timber and introduces the animal inhabitants also. Very well done.