Friday, July 17, 2020


Part 1 of 2 – the Cascades

We always vacation someplace new.  Never return to the same place.  The west is so vast, so enchanting.  So many things to see.  So much history to discover.  So many roads to explore.

Yet, this would be our fifth trip to the Metolius.

The two-day run afforded us an overnight in lovely McCloud where stayed at the newly acquired McCloud River Bed and Breakfast.

Formerly the main office of the McCloud River Lumber Company, the grand old house – just a block or so from “downtown” –  is undergoing restoration.  

We even got a peek in the old company vault where records for every employee were kept.  It was like walking into history...

Up the road, what would have been an annoying traffic delay was mitigated by this view of the queen of Northern California: Mount Shasta.

Arriving Camp Sherman, we returned to the delightful accommodations of the Metolius River Resort.  Twelve privately held cabins stand just a few manicured yards from the pristine river that slips past.

Trails trace each side of the river – one leading to the fascinating spring about two miles upstream from which the entire river emanates.  (The next day, up at McKenzie Pass, we learn why.)

By mid-July, the spring season is almost a memory, but a few wildflowers dot the meadows, stream sides and even the fallen logs in the river.

The evening lullaby includes the symphony from the river and soughing of the sweet ponderosa pines.

The following day finds us traveling Oregon State Route 242, through several of the west’s more signature scenes – wild land burn scars... 

... to McKenzie Summit, and a stunning display of the area’s volcanic heritage.

A paved trail offers views of the Three Sisters, Mounts Jefferson and Washington...

... leading to an observatory hewn from area basalt.

On a clear day, the views are dramatic...

Perhaps only more dramatic when some cloudscape is added.

The interpretive trail is an easy stroll where the nuances of the landscape are detailed.

We learn that Mt. Jefferson is the newest of the area volcanos by tens of thousands of years and that is why it appears far less jagged and weathered.

The ride back down OR 242 to Sisters is a delight on a bike that handles like Enrico, the Yamaha, but equally pleasant, I’m told by my travelling partner, in the accompanying Subaru.  

When in Sisters, check out the Stitching Post Quilt Shop. We actually planned this trip to correspond with their world-renowned Sisters Quilt Show, an annual July affair which had to be canceled this year due to the pandemic.

Back at the cabin, we enjoy a few more walks and a few more evenings of peaceful rest and, upon departure, figure we’ll break that always-someplace-new rule and return again soon.

In the late 1950s, there was a little old lady that lived down the street from us when I was growing up.  Her name was Mrs. Carah.  Her first name was Rose.  She was the oldest person I think I ever knew when I was seven or eight. She would invite neighborhood kids – mostly boys –  to take a break from our playing in the creek and come to her house for store-bought cookies, Kool-Aid and Bible stories and talk about the old times.  She once told us about coming to California in a covered wagon.  She said they came through Yellowstone before there were automobiles.  Along the way, she met a man named Bill Carah.

Over time, we got to know Mrs. Carah rather well.  It turns out her maiden name was Wild.  She was one of those people you meet when you are growing up that you never forget.  Every time I’m in the woods and I see these, I think of Rose Wild.

(c) 2020
Church of the Open Road Press

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