Stock landscape and outdoor adventure photos from Oregon, Washington, and the Pacific Northwest

Photos of Desert Wildflowers at Central Oregon’s proposed Badlands Wilderness Area

This blog entry is more of a public service announcement than an overwhelming show of photographic talent.  My daughter, Emma, and I recently hiked the Flatirons Rock Trail in the proposed Badlands Wilderness area located about 16 miles East of Bend, Oregon and desert wildflowers there are about as good as I’ve ever seen them.  It is a perfect time for a hike in the Badlands so that you can appreciate how beautiful of an area it is.  Local groups, including the good people at ONDA-Oregon Natural Desert Association have done an immense amount of work to establish this wonderful place as a fully protected wilderness area.

Stock Photo of Desert wildflowers glowing in the Badlands area East of Bend, Oregon

Stock Photo of Desert wildflowers glowing in the Badlands area East of Bend, Oregon

It is my opinion that this special area of Central Oregon should be protected as soon as possible.  Lots of good reasons back up my opinion  on this issue, including:  1. It is beautiful and accessible for a huge portion of the year as it’s desert climate usually keeps this area free of snow in the winter when alpine trails are only available to hardcore backcountry skiers.  2. A huge majority of the residents of Bend and Central Oregon support the idea of this area becoming an official Wilderness Area.  3. This area is much better protected now that it is a proposed wilderness area than it probably was previously.  I’ve spent lots of time in many of the desert areas around Bend, Oregon, mostly scouting for stock photos.  Virtually everywhere in the desert areas I’ve been to, with the exception of the Badlands study area, I’ve been shocked by the amount of garbage that has been dumped randomly around these otherwise beautiful areas.  I’m of the opinion that garbage begets more garbage.  When a place becomes downtrodden with debris, a misconception develops that it is OK to litter and otherwise pollute in that area.  I don’t know how the Badlands study area looked 15 years ago, but is virtually free of any sort of debris currently and I do know how non-study desert areas look today, and it’s not good.

 Photo/picture of Old Growth Juniper Tree in the bend Badlands Area
Photo/picture of Old Growth Juniper Tree in the bend Badlands Area

If establishing any desert area as preserves it as well as the Badlands area has been, then I am in favor of the protection.  I won’t go into the nuances of what activities are restricted and which are not in Wilderness areas but I will say that wilderness areas are open to all people but not necessarily all uses, which is more than fair.

Photo of desert flowers blooming in the Badlands area east of Bend , Oregon

Photo of desert flowers blooming in the Badlands area east of Bend , Oregon

The entire sixish mile long loop trail to flatiron rock was decorated with pockets of color like the wildflowers shown above, which I think are some sort of desert aster.  There were also countless old growth juniper trees along the trail.  Their ancient and severe form  exude character and determination.  Their ability to defy time and the harsh high desert climate in the Oregon desert should earn them the respect of any in tune naturalist.  I’ve heard that some of the older juniper trees in this area are over 1,000 years old.  Amazing!

Photo of an old growth juniper snag in the Badlands area near Bend Oregon

Photo of an old growth juniper snag in the Badlands area near Bend Oregon

As the desert is a…..desert, you’ll want to bring sunblock and water and snacks for the family.  As summer is beginning to heat up, I’d also recommend you plan your trips in the morning or evening as your hiking will be a bit more pleasant if you can avoid the mid-day heat.  The following photo is of a wildflower that I believe is called a “phacelia” which has beautiful lavender colored blooms and like many of the desert wildflowers, it has a very short blooms season, so go for a hike soon if you want to see the phacelia in bloom this year.

Picture of a phacelia blooming in the Badlands area east of Bend, Oregon.

Picture of a phacelia blooming in the Badlands area east of Bend, Oregon.

This pretty little flower fades from lavender to a lighter lavender to a light green on the inside of the bloom and it has a pleasing glow about it, making it one of my favorite desert wildflowers.  The following flowers in the foreground of a classic desert scene are desert monkeyflowers.  Their rich pink blooms with yellow centers provide a striking display of color in what would otherwise be an earth-toned palette along the Flatiron trail. This appears to be a great year for monkeyflowers in the Oregon high desert.

Image of monkeyflowers blooming in the high desert area of Central Oregon

Image of monkeyflowers blooming in the high desert area of Central Oregon

In the mid-ground of the above high desert photo are some yellow flowers which are shown in the following photo.

Photo of "Oregon Sunshine" blooming in the Badlands area near Bend Oregon

Photo of "Oregon Sunshine" blooming in the Badlands area near Bend Oregon

The above flowers, “Oregon Sunshine” are some of the happiest flowers anywhere.  In years of high spring precipitation, like this one, they can almost form mats of cheerful yellow flowers.  They are another of the bonuses found along the Flatiron trail if you can get there soon.  The next to last image in this blog entry Taken in the Flatiron rock formation is of my favorite photo model and hiking, partner, Emma, who also happens to be my daughter!  She was a wonderful companion throughout the hike, as she always is.  She was also very patient with my photographic habits.  All these traits plus she makes me smile everyday, make me feel very lucky.

Emma in the Flatiron rock formation east of Bend, Oregon

Emma in the Flatiron rock formation east of Bend, Oregon

I should mention that the brief hike to the top of the Flatiron rock formation is well worth the extra effort as the views of the Central Oregon Cascades over the high desert are stunning.

The take home message from this story is that  if you live in Central Oregon, now is a great time to experience the beauty of the the proposed Badlands Wilderness area east of Bend, Oregon.  The wildflowers won’t last long so get out soon and when you return from your desert adventure, contact your senator and tell them that The Badlands should be permanently protected as a fully designated Wilderness area!  For more info regarding the Badlands, please visit ONDA’s website.

Photo of dwarf monkeyflower in the proposed Badlands Wilderness Area East of Bend, Oregon

Photo of dwarf monkeyflower in the proposed Badlands Wilderness Area East of Bend, Oregon

For more photos of the beautiful desert areas of Central Oregon, please visit our main stock photo website, Pacific Crest Stock by clicking the following link….High Desert photos.

Thanks for visiting,

Mike Putnam

6 Responses Subscribe to comments


  1. Leon

    Very nice collection of flower shots, Mike!

    Jun 30, 2009 @ 2:51 pm


  2. Festival of the Trees – Edition 37 « TGAW

    [...] of Pacific Coast Stock posted about a hike in the proposed Badlands Wilderness Area in Oregon. He shares stunning pictures of old growth juniper trees. Some of the trees have thrived in the desert climate for over 1000 years. When talking about [...]

    Jun 30, 2009 @ 8:51 pm


  3. Vicky

    Mike– these pictures are just lovely! What a great adventure to share with your daughter.

    For the 37th Edition of the Festival of the Trees blog carnival, we tried to focus on Survivor Trees. Those juniper trees you mentioned and photographed fit in well with the theme.

    http://tgaw.wordpress.com/2009/06/30/festival-of-the-trees-edition-37/

    Jun 30, 2009 @ 9:13 pm


  4. admin

    Vicky,
    Thanks so much for the compliments and thanks for the link. I’ve visited your site several times since then and I’m a big fan. Keep up the great work.
    Thanks,
    Mike

    Jul 01, 2009 @ 4:32 pm


  5. Vicky

    Wow, thanks Mike! Will try my best!

    Jul 05, 2009 @ 5:07 pm


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    [...]Photos of Desert Wildflowers at Central Oregon’s proposed Badlands Wilderness Area – Pacific Crest Stock Photography Blog[...]…

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