Following on from A Road Trip Adventure: Portland, Oregon the next part of the journey was from Portland to Bend, Oregon. You may be asking why Bend? You have probably never heard of it but like I said in the last blog post, the entire state of Oregon is filled with natural beauty.
First stop on the way was to Silver Falls State Park because I wanted to see and photograph South Falls. The falls were really pretty and the trees were just starting to change colour due to it being Autumn. You could do a walk right down to the base which only took about 20 minutes and as you can see in the pic you can actually walk behind the falls.
From here we jumped back in the hire car and headed for Tamolitch Pools which took us through Santiam Pass in the Cascade Mountains Range of central Oregon which is a must if you are around this area in Autumn. The autumn trees are the best I have ever seen.
While trying to find Tamolitch Pools and Clear Lake we came across Sahalie Falls so of course we had to stop and explore. I don’t think a lot of people know about this place. I had never even heard of it but it was stunningly beautiful. There was a massively powerful waterfall right at the start of a gorgeous little walking trail along the Mackenzie River. This waterfall was Sahalie Falls. The water in the Mackenzie River was fresh, clear and blue with moss covered rocks everywhere and gorgeous autumn foliage amongst the old growth forest. Unfortunately the sun was shining so bright I was unable to get any decent photos.
So after getting side tracked at Sahalie Falls for a while by the time we found Tamolitch Pools it was getting late into the afternoon and the return hike was 7km so we decided to forego Tamolitch in favour of seeing Proxy Falls on the way to Bend. Afterall that was the main reason for heading to Bend. By the time we got to Proxy Falls it was about 4pm which is great in terms of light for photography. The Proxy Falls loop trail travels through open lava fields and dense forest offering view of two waterfalls.
We only went as far as Upper Proxy Falls. There is a viewing point from the track but its a fair distance from the actual falls. The real fun was getting up close and personal. You can scamper down a steep track just to the right of the view point and climb over some logs to get a close up view. This waterfall would have to be one of the best I have ever been too and I have seen a lot! We spent quite a bit of time exploring the whole area and its back on the list to visit again it was that impressive!
After we had our fun at Proxy Falls it was time to venture on towards Bend. I had planned to do sunset at Sparkes Lake but we didn’t make it in time. The day had gotten away from us so we had to pull over on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere to photograph the sunset. Luckily we found a clearing across a lava field with a view of the Three Sisters Mountains.
We finally made it to Bend quite late that night, so we had a quick dinner then straight to bed because we were planning on an early sunrise at Sparkes Lake the following day which was about 45 minutes from Bend. The skies were clear when we woke up the next morning. It was -1 degree at Sparkes Lake and felt pretty damn cold. Luckily there was a really nice pink haze as the sun was rising behind the mountains and the lake had a beautiful mist on it that you can see in the far distance of the picture below. It was completely calm and still and was really peaceful and serene sitting there watching the sky change colour. The crazy ducks decided to go for a swim over to the right from where this picture was taken. I don’t know how the don’t freeze to death in this water!
Once the sun was up we headed back to Bend for some breakfast. We were starving by this stage and saw a pancake place on the way out. I have a massive weakness for pancakes so off to The Original Pancake House it was. But we forgot that the serving sizes were so much bigger in America than what they are in Australia and probably should have only ordered one plate to share!
They were delicious and kept us full way passed lunch time. After breakfast we spent a little time exploring the town of Bend before heading to Hood River. Bend is a really pretty town and i wished that we had more time to explore it better and stayed a few days longer to be able to do some hikes at all the lakes nearby. We had to push on though and Im sure we will end up back there again one day!
Stay tuned for the next part of our adventure along the Columbia River Gorge!
Have you ever been to Central Oregon? If so, what did you think of it? Leave a comment below and let me know!
P.S. You can read the next part of our adventure here: