Unfinished Business - Fall/Winter - 2017/8 travel blog

Three Sisters

Mount Washington

Santium River




lava bed

lava bed






When we drove here from Portland, we went through some incredible scenery that we could not appreciate adequately. When you are 65' long and zipping down the road with faster drivers stacked up behind you, it's hard to stop to smell the roses. The prettiest part of the route followed the Santium River, which twisted and turned as rivers do. The driver really had to concentrate.

So we retraced our steps partway today, lingering here and there. Even with the car, today's trip involved plenty of U-turns and long walks back to the prettiest spots. The best fall color was west of Santium Pass, where there is more moisture. Good fall color requires deciduous trees and they require water. By and large the primary forests around here are dark green pine, but on this route there were plenty of spots near the road where colorful bushes wowed us in the bright sunshine, their bright yellows and oranges set off by the dark green behind them. Near the top of the pass fire had thinned or removed many of the trees and the land was being taken over by bright orange, red and yellow plantings. An especially colorful spot was a lava bed, which was gradually being taken over by the bushes. It's been eons since volcanos erupted here and for the most part the lava is covered by soil, but here and there the huge black blobs still predominate, looking like giant clods of earth to our midwestern eyes.

Every so often the winding road revealed one of the many snow covered mountains around here. I counted nine of them in a panorama shortly after we left the campground. Part of today's planned route was closed because of those $%^&* forest fires. The fires have been extinguished for quite a while, but crews are removing the fallen timbers blocking the road. Can't argue with that...

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