Oregon is such a diverse state. There is the beautiful Oregon Coast, the fertile green Willamette Valley, the rugged snow-capped Cascade mountains, Central Oregon on the edge of the eastern high-desert filled with sagebrush and juniper, and the south lake country-where most of the lakes are ancient, and are now dry lake beds. It also has sand dunes we found. It was to this southeast lake area that we drove on Saturday. We visited the small communities of Silver Lake, Summer Lake and Christmas Valley. This is ranch land, where the wind blows, the clouds are gi-normous, and the cattle range. After meeting up with the rest of the family, we drove to 'crack-in-the-ground' monument for some sight seeing. The photo above shows the entrance, and how big the rock is. The rocks were somehow cracked open, and now you can follow a narrow trail through between both sides.
There are some amazing lava flow remains down there...
This was taken after I had climbed up on a rock and could see the trail ahead.
There is some scrambling to do, as a lot of rock has fallen down and climbing is in order. There are two parts to the 'crack', because in the middle fallen rock and dirt has filled it in...so you climb to the top then cross and start again. It was very interesting. A good time of year to explore, as the rattle snakes are still dormant (there was a still half-frozen small one curled up beside the path), and the nettles are just beginning to come up.
After leaving here, we drove to the sand dunes and a 'lost forest'. We found a lot of bumpy road, wind-blown sand, some 4-wheelers and a forest of juniper and pine partly buried and growing up through the sand. It was an interesting way to see and appreciate some new Oregon territory.
For dinner we drove back to Silver Lake, and to the 'Cowboy Dinner Tree', which is the original cabin on a ranch just to the south. A family cooks up a mighty fine dinner here Thurs-Sunday nights. The insurance man dusted off his cowboy boots for the occasion.
While we waited for our reservation time, we checked out their gift shop. Full of original western items. Dinner turned out to be: green salad course, bean and ham soup course with dutch oven rolls and butter, a giant baked potato with the largest slab of top sirloin steak ever served, and a piece of white cake served with berries and cream. Washed down with a quart of lemonade, iced tea or water. They bring plastic bags at the end so you can take home your left-overs.
When we finished eating, we drove to Summer Lake where we had reservations at the Summer Lake Lodge. We found it to be in a little oasis, beside a small lake named 'Jack's Lake'. There were horses grazing, and lots of birds to watch.
We each had a small cabin for the night, with their decks right on the shore of the lake.
Ours had a little brook flowing down from the mountains right beside it, so we opened our window at night to hear a most pleasant sound to sleep by. The frogs also serenaded us. It was fairly cold (snow on the hill above the cabin) so no deck lounging.