a desolate mountain remains of the setting sun
the storm breaks
On coming down from Santiam Pass yesterday the character of the land had changed back to at dry scrubland with its sage, ponderosa pine and spares undergrowth. The ride from Sisters to Bend was all through land like that with, here and there, evidence of recent fires. It was pretty easy going even as it warmed up with excellent views of a least five major mountain peaks – the Three Sisters, Mt. Washington and way in the distance Mt. Hood. These mountains all receded in to the distance and as I climbed the valley walls above Bend all but disappeared. The route skirts Bend but I dropped in town to replenish supplies and go to the original Deschutes Pub – couldn’t skip that.
While there isn’t a mountain pass proper on today’s travels the route climbs up to Mt. Bachelor and gains as much elevation as some of the passes I’ve crossed. It also was over 6000 feet at the top which is the highest I’ve climbed so far. The sun really beat down on me on the first half of is ascent but ahead I could see this band of black clouds and I began to hear the rumble of thunder. Once I passed into it things cooled down dramatically, especially as big drops of rain began to (occasionally) fall.
thunder surrounds me –
I keep climbing
Near the summit the rain picked up enough I stopped to but on my rain covers. The thunder was coming from both sides of the front each on a different side of the arm I was climbing up and it’d rumble and echo in these valleys. Mt Bachelor itself is just right off the road and on rounding a curve it suddenly is just there impressively towering right over everything. From the top of the climb where you turn off to the ski area you can see that the lifts run right to the summit which seems a little sacrilegious.
It was a fast descent down from Mt. bachelor and once it flattened out I was now in the Cascade Lakes region which is all volcanic soil with sparse flora and myriad shallow lakes. There are campground all over this area but very few have water. I was making for one pretty far up the chain of lakes when I passed Elk Lake Campground. It had a sign out that it was full, but the camp host saw me and asked if I was looking to camp. He said I could stay in this open area next to his site and he’d only charge me the extra vehicle fee of $7. They had water so I went for it. Minutes later the storm broke.
On this tour there have been several times I’ve heard thunder and expected the deluge of rain. Each time it only sprinkled and then blew away. Well not this time, the skies open up and it just poured for over an hour with hail even at times. I had no time to setup my tent so I put on my rain gear and wandered around. In my wandering I discovered that right next door was Elk Lake Resort with a restaurant: the ideal,place to wait out the rain. Alas it was packed, so I retuned to camp and set up my tent during a break in the rain. The rain did eventually stop, after the storm rolled right over ahead and it began to clear up. I put on dry clothes and retuned to the Lodge thinking that not cooking tonight would be okay. I got there at 7:10 and the kitchen closed at 7. Cooking it was.
alpine lakes reflecting the darkening sky
– lighting flash behind the mountain