Monday, May 06, 2013


Our journeys this weekend took  us to the high desert of central Oregon, to the resort community of Sunriver. While I have visited the famous Village Mall of Sunriver, and while our high school youth group holds an annual winter retreat here, this was the first time I actually stayed in Sunriver. It's like a developed campground, only instead of tents, yurts, and rustic cabins, there are very nice one and two story houses within the tall pines and brush. I don't know what the base population of the town is, but it likely balloons during peak vacation times.

Not that we spent a whole lot of time indoors.  Our daughter, who celebrates her birthday this week, set the agenda for our travels. So after a power brunch at IHOP in Bend, we stopped by an incredible Christian bookstore, then the local Walmart so I could buy a cap (necessary equipment for long walks in the outdoors). And then came our first tour of the day:
The High Desert Museum is an expansive, indoor-outdoor museum featuring wildlife, Native American culture and history, and real life critters of all shapes and sizes.

My amazing photographic skills captured this fish making a jump upstream! Actually, this is a display just outside the doors of the museum.  The water is real, the fish is fake.

On outdoor tours, as in life, this is a good reminder
We attended a talk about Birds of Prey, then we visited the Birds of Prey Center

Thanks to a camera problem, I was only able to capture one bird of prey.  But see the American Bald Eagle that close was exciting.
The next day, with fresh batteries in the camera and another power breakfast to fortify us, we made our way to a local volcano.  Lava Butte is actually part of a whole volcanic system in the area. A narrow road that swirls around the mountain takes you to the top of the cone.

We're here!

It's hard to believe this magnificent vista resulted from such chaos

The gray strip is the highway. According to the literature, an eruption could have devastating effects on transportation.  Ya think?

Who's up for a ski trip?

Looking down the rim.  Lots of evidence of destruction, yet, the trees are still making a comeback.

Parking lot at the top of Lava Butte,  looking up at the lookout tower.

This is the parking lot, taken from the upper deck of the lookout tower.

This is tasteless and crude, but I laughed when I saw it (zoom in if you can't read the sign).

Our next stop of the day was a few miles away.  The Lava Cast Forest is a looping trail that takes you through an actual lava flow.

What makes this an interesting place is not only the sheer magnitude of devastation, but the number of "lava casts" along the way.

In simple terms, lava surrounds a tree and begins to cool.  Over the years, the tree dies and decomposes, leaving a tube like cave.  This one still had snow at the bottom of it.

This one was one of the deeper ones. My pictures don't do the tubes justice..they're actually quite interesting to look at.  And, of course, I get lessons from these "lava casts." First, the tree's ability to endure in spite of being surrounded by lava illustrates our standing in the midst of trials. Second, when the tree is gone, there is something ruggedly beautiful left behind.  What is our legacy when the trials have passed?
There was far more than sight seeing, of course.  Laughter, relaxation, reading (finished an entire book over the weekend!). It was a great weekend.  Thanks to my daughter for inviting us on a wonderful trip.

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