Last week my husband and I traveled to the West Coast and spent a few days in Oregon. We started in Portland, and we took it easy. Met up with some friends, ate some donuts, wandered Powell’s, rented some bikes and pedaled around in the glorious sunshine. We visited the divine Rose Garden, where I couldn’t help but sniff like every single rose I saw. How delightful–rows and rows of roses!

We drove up to Mt Tabor for some views of the city (though maybe we were in the wrong spot, because everything was at least partially blocked by trees [though I’m not complaining; I love trees!]). I liked this tableau of a woman just kind of hanging out, with a cute bike.


And this stunning view of Mt Hood wasn’t too shabby. (See what I mean about the trees?)


After a couple days, we drove our rental car south and east, into the Cascades, to visit Crater Lake. Which looks like this and literally made my jaw drop.


Crater Lake is famous for its blue, which I didn’t believe until I saw it. It is some serious, serious blue. That blue next to evergreen green has to be one of the happiest nature color combinations out there! This is not enhanced in any way–look at those colors!


Here’s the Phantom Ship. It’s the oldest visible remnant of the mountain; it’s pre-volcanic stuff. It appears tiny in the huge lake, but apparently it’s sixteen stories tall!


We were lucky enough to walk a new trail, opened this summer! It’s called Plaikni Falls, and it’s so adorable! It was a hot day (as they all were while we were in Oregon, 90+ degrees), and turning the final corner to the trail you actually felt the air cool down at least ten degrees. The surrounding forest isn’t terribly lush with undergrowth, but the cascading Sand Creek (fed by a spring, not the lake; no one knows where the lakewater seeps) supports abundant wildflowers, and it’s ridiculously picturesque. Unfortunately we were there too late in the afternoon to get direct sun, but that worked for my favor.  Any brighter and it would have been tougher to get settings that worked for slowing down the water. (This is f/29, 1 second, ISO 125)


The light falling through the trees is always so beautiful, isn’t it?


I’d been looking forward to seeing and enjoying (…and photographing) some crystal clear night skies, devoid of light pollution. Maybe a bit of moon reflecting off the lake. Alas, it clouded over. Happily, it was a storm, with lightning! You know what that means! I set up my gorillapod at one of the turnouts, where we could see the flashes and the lake.


Soon the storms moved away and we were just seeing bright flashes, no bolts. So we drove along the Rim Drive until we had a better view. This was a glorious strike, though you’ll have to forgive the blown section.

This spot overlooked a handful of naturally-occurring forest fires. There were signs everywhere telling people not to report them. We saw several rangers and they told us that they’d been started by lightning, and were being watched carefully. If the fires got too big, they would step in and manage them. But it’s still eerie to see smoke plumes and reddish glows moving slowly.


Here’s a similar view the next day. This blanket of trees as far as the eye can see…it makes me so happy I can’t even tell you. Sometimes I wish I could see the west in the time of the natives, when everything was covered in evergreen forests. Wow.


Later, I started raining in one section of sky while the sun still shone brightly in another. Can you see the falling drops here?


Our last stop was to the Castle Crest Wildflower Trail. Just look at the happy flowers, and all the green!


It was relaxing, and beautiful. I love nature, I love mountains, I love forests, I love water!