Magic in the Oregon Cascades

With Dad being fairly stable and Mom not needing to go anywhere, I took the car last Saturday and visited my brother.  Mick is a forester who lives near Oakridge, up the slope of the Cascades from Eugene.  And, oh have I found something to dream of besides Ireland.

We had a delightful lunch in Mick’s favorite pub, stopped at the bakery to enjoy the local sculptures and jewelry for sale, and then drove up the road looking for the turn-off to a trail Mick wanted to show me.  There’s not much snow-pack (which bodes ill for Oregon this summer), but January had a good chunk of rain, especially compared to December.  And when you combine rain with a windstorm, you get occasional trees down.  And then you hope that someone has come along and cleared the road.  We were lucky.

We drove by memory – Mick hadn’t checked map for which four digit logging road we needed.  We followed one up, far enough to hit a bit of snow, then finally turned around.  But the next road was the right one.

I’ve hiked in the Oregon forests before, but mostly when I lived here as a teen.  And mostly on horseback, riding down dirt logging roads – we always chose campsites by the availability of a place to tie the horses near the tent.  We’d head for a national or state forest to cut our Christmas tree, but I’m a wimp and I hated freezing and tromping through snow for hours to find the right tree.  And I was too young for either of those two situations to prepare me for the path to Warm Springs.

Lush and verdant, even in winter.  Mick says the only time it’s not green is when it’s snow-covered.  The Douglas firs are 150-200 years old and you have to bend over backwards to see their tops.  Moss and lichen are spring green, offset by darker ferns.  Mick pointed out huckleberries waiting to leaf out, that make August a wonderful time to come.  The river rumbled down to our left, the trees sheltered us from drippy rain.  I kept stopping to take pictures.  Or just to breathe and take it all in.

We reached a small pool between the trail and the river, delightfully warm.  Not hot, but warm enough that I’d go in if it weren’t winter.  And then it started snowing.  Small bits mixed with the light rain, then all snow, then turning to fluffy flakes.  We were mostly sheltered in the trees, but stepped out by the river again and tried to catch them on our tongues.

Mick, who knows many places like this throughout the northwest, says this is what keeps him sane.

For me, it was pure magic.

Where are your magic places?




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14 Responses to Magic in the Oregon Cascades

  1. Ginger Calem says:

    So lush and lovely! I really love this part of the country. Thanks for sharing your pictures.
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  2. Oh my, such wonderful pictures. I lives on the coast of British Columbia for many years. I have spent many days hiking and biking through the Cascades. Thanks so much for sharing.
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  3. Beautiful. There’s no place like Oregon. But things up here in the North Cascades on the Canadian Border come in a close second. ^_^

  4. Jennifer Jensen says:

    Thanks for stopping by, Ginger, Pru & Angelina. There’s another spot Mick wants to take me to when I come back, but I also have to bring my hubby back and camp up there! I’ve never been to British Columbia, but it’s on my list of someday.

  5. Love this! Evey time I venture into the mountains I feel restored in unexplainable ways. But I’d say Costa Rica is probably my #1 magic place. Thank you for sharing your journey with us and taking me away to that magical place, if even just for a moment 😉
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    • Jennifer Jensen says:

      Costa Rica is on my list of places to visit (my brother’s been there several times). It must be very different from the cool green of the Northwest. Thanks for sharing your magic place!

  6. Debra Kristi says:

    Takes my breath away, Jennifer. Your pictures are amazing! What a great place to be. Thank you so much for sharing with us.
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  7. I was born in and grew up in California, but when I visited Seattle for the first time in the mid-80’s, I knew someday I would live here. The PNW is a magical place. Beautiful pics, Oregon is stunning! One day, I’ll have to spend some time traveling through there; I’m not much for flying but I love a good road trip. Hub has a good sized cruising bike, we may have to take some extended rides.
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    • Jennifer Jensen says:

      Hi, Serena. I was actually born near Seattle – at home on Vashon Island, to be exact – but never got back there until a Navy recruiter took us up to the (then) new sub base at Bangor. Gorgeous!

  8. I thrive in the nature, so I try to escape the city as often as I can, even for a little bit. We just came back from Oregon, where we skied on Mount Bachelor in Bend. It is a lovely area, and the drive from Seattle was, despite the length (around 7 hours), really enjoyable, especially in places where we were not on a highway but driving by the woods.

    • Jennifer Jensen says:

      I think crossing the Cascades is the best part of that. Definitely not the Eastern Oregon side. Are the side roads the best?

  9. David Jones says:

    I once wanted to live in that part of the country. Now my knees tell me every time it rains, no you don’t. Lovely place.
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    • Jennifer Jensen says:

      Ah, the knees rule, don’t they. And unfortunately, any place that is lovely and green is that way because it rains a lot. Sigh.

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