La Pine State Park — July 24-August 6, 2018

On July 24 our threesome (TT2, Celilo, and (nee) Dolce Vita) moved up to La Pine State Park, near Bend, OR. There we would be joined in the 2018 version of the “Caribbean cruiser reunion” by Tom & Leslie (Farhaven) and Dave & Belinda and Tom & Amy and eventually Frank & Mary Grace ( nee Let It Be).

The selection of the site was a wise one; the area abounded with interesting things to do and see.

  • On consecutive days various subsets of our group kayaked down a gentle and scenic section of the Deschutes River, renting kayaks from Tumelo Creek Kayak & Canoe in Sunriver.
  • Near the campground, on the bank of the river, the ‘Big Tree’, the largest ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) in the world is located. The tree is over 500 years old, 162 feet tall, and 28.9 feet in circumference.  This Oregon Heritage Tree would be the tallest of its species, except that its crown snapped off in a storm.
  • Some of us visited the High Desert Museum near Bend, whose outdoor exhibits feature river otters, a porcupine, sheep, gray fox, and birds of prey. There is also a Native American encampment, a start-of-the-20th-century sawmill, logging equipment, homesteaders cabin, and a forestry pavilion.  Indoor exhibits included an extensive treatment on Native Americans.  I spent a long time there.  We also attended a birds of prey program, during which I photographed some of the performers.  I had trouble subsequently identifying one of the birds, and after much searching finally learned it was a bird native to Peru:  an Aplomado Falcon.  Why a bird from Peru here in Oregon?  Turns out  the Peruvian Aplomado Falcon is the perfect falcon species to use by contractors protecting fruit crops like grapes, cherries, blueberries, and apples because it likes to chase small- to medium-sized birds—the same sizes that give growers the most problems.
  • Newberry National Volcanic Monument, including
    • Lava Butte
    • Newberry Caldera
    • Big Osidian Flow
  • We took a ski lift up Mount Bachelor,  a stratovolcano atop a shield volcano in the Cascade Volcanic Arc.  Named Mount Bachelor because it “stands apart” from the nearby Three Sisters.

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