July 11, 2015 – Mt Bachelor

With a busy schedule in the month of July and not much snow in the mountains, I took advantage of an open weekend to head out for a couple days of fishing, camping and riding in central Oregon.  I left work early on Friday afternoon, and headed east on Highway 58 with my camera and fishing gear, not knowing exactly what I wanted to do before I met Todd for the evening to camp along Cascade Lakes Highway.  The weather was overcast, and it had actually rained a bit, and after waiting at the tunnel due to road construction I was ready for a break, and decided to shoot a few pictures of the 286 foot Salt Creek Falls.

Salt Creek Falls

Salt Creek Falls

The weather was so nice that I decided to change out of my flip flops and drag my camera gear through the wet brush to a lower vantage point for a different view of the falls.  On the way down, a tributary stream running over a rock slick made for a nice photo opportunity….

Tributary stream to Salt Creek

Tributary stream to Salt Creek

A few minutes after shooting the tributary stream, I found myself positioning my camera and tripod at a suitable spot to shoot a few photos of the falls again.  Even at a distance, the spray from the falls still misted my lens, so it was necessary to wipe the lens a few times to finally get a decent shot…..

Lower view of the falls

Lower view of the falls

With my appetite for taking photos satisfied, I hiked back to the car, changed out of my wet shoes, and headed up the highway to try some fishing.  The upper Deschutes is one of my favorite streams in Oregon, and I figured a few hungry brook trout were probably pushing up from Crane Prairie and I had my sights set on catching a few.  Fly fishing proved difficult, but when I finally switched to a panther martin lure I hooked a few fish, including the one below….

Upper Deschutes Brookie

Upper Deschutes Brookie

A bit further downstream, I hooked into a really nice fish.  As luck would have it, I got him to the bank, but when I reached for the camera he spit the hook before I had a chance to get him on film.  Not to worry, there were plenty of flowers along the river bank worth shooting…..

Isolated flower along the bank

Isolated flower along the bank

Summer lupine

Summer lupine

While I was snapping photos, Todd showed up and tried his hand with the fly.  We fished for another hour or so before calling it a day and heading back to a nice campsite at Hosmer Lake, which Todd had secured earlier.  Before we left, I snapped a few more pictures of the river, including the shot of the summer color along the bank below….

Summer color along the river bank

Summer color along the river bank

Sitting at camp that evening and enjoying a beer and the campfire, Todd and I discussed plans for the following day’s mission.  Our plan was to climb and ride the little remaining snow in the Cirque bowl of Mt Bachelor.  The mountain was shrouded in clouds for most of the day, but we hoped the forecast for tomorrow, which showed partly sunny, would hold.  I thought we’d be in luck when I woke around 3:00 am and saw nothing but stars out, but things weren’t looking so good around 6:00 am for bluebird skies on the mountain.

After a quick breakfast, we headed up to the mountain and found the lower mountain was sunny and nice, but the upper mountain where we planned to ride socked in.  Oh well, what would be would be, so we headed off hiking up the Coffee run.

Looking up Coffee runn

Looking up Coffee

The clouds started to get thicker as we headed up, and by the time we reached mid-mountain it reminded me of a typical winter day on Bachelor —- cloudy, limited visibility, and some wind.  It actually felt quite refreshing after the long hot summer we’ve endured so far….

Hiking near mid-mountain

Hiking below mid-mountain

Into the fog

Into the fog

Visibility was a hundred feet or so as we worked our way up the snowfield below the old rope tow.  The contrast between the rock and snow actually made the hiking quite easy even though we couldn’t see too far, and soon we reached the lower Cirque bowl snow.  We decided to climb up to below where the usual big cornice is along the ridge and drop in from there, given the visibility.  I dropped first and then snapped a few pics of Todd.  The snow was quite nice — pretty much perfect corn.

Todd skiing the lower Cirque Bowl

Todd skiing the lower Cirque Bowl

Dropping a knee in the fog

Dropping a knee in the fog

We were able to link turns back down to the rope tow, and had to work our way through a small rock patch to get back to the rope tow patch.  At this point, Todd grabbed my camera and snapped some shots of me riding down through the foggy corn….

July turns below the rope tow

July turns below the rope tow

Riding the rope tow patch

Riding the rope tow patch

We were able to link turns down to a hundred vertical feet or so of the mid-mountain road.  From mid-mountain, it was a slow hike back down through the ski area to the car, where it was again sunny and nice.  Although the riding wasn’t epic or all time, it was a fun day on the hill and will be a day I won’t soon forget given the uniqueness of riding through the cold fog during one of the hottest summers on record.

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