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

Posts Tagged ‘Crooked River Ranch’

What I did on my Summer Vacation. By Troy McMullin

With the New Year starting, it’s fun to think back over the past few months and reflect on what was another great season of adventure in Central Oregon. This past summer started out a little rough (e.g., watching my camera and tripod tumble off of a 200-foot cliff), but it eventually gave way to a reasonably fruitful year. My efforts did not produce as many pure landscape images as I would have liked, but I tried to keep my options open and find a few good photos on every hike. That typically defaulted to me striking a pose in front of various Central Oregon landmarks–which is not exactly the fine art I would have liked to capture, but then again, I have a tough time passing on an opportunity to add to Pacific Crest Stock’s ever-growing Outdoor Adventure Gallery . . . so, here is a brief summary of some of my favorite hikes from 2010.

 

 

Mount Jefferson Wilderness Area: This was one of those impossibly challenging cross-country (i.e., “no trail”) treks that I planned (rather poorly) using Google Earth and a hefty dose of optimism. Although the approach looked fairly easy online, I quickly realized that I had been deceived and within a half-hour of leaving the Jeep, I was decidedly happy that I had chosen not to invite anyone else along on this little adventure. Anyone else would have surely killed me for dragging them up and down these remote valleys in what turned out to be a failed attempt to reach a never-before-visited viewpoint of Mount Jefferson. I thought for sure I was going to be killed and eaten by bears before making it out of the Wilderness on this day. About mid-way through the hike, I changed course and headed for the safety of the Jefferson Park area. This viewpoint isn’t quite what I planned, but then again, dying in the jowls of a hungry bear wasn’t necessarily part of the plan either.

 

 

Hiking in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness Area.

Hiking in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness Area.

 

 

Fall Color in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness

Fall Color in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness

 

 

Ochoco Mountains: This hike started out as a fairly nice evening stroll up along a wildflower-filled trail in the Ochoco Mountains. There’s a great viewpoint at the top of Lookout Mountain, but if you stay to take sunset pictures (like the one below), you better have a headlamp or be prepared to trail run out in the dark. Guess which one I did. Yep, I found myself sprinting back to the Jeep in total darkness. Real smart.

 

 

Hiking in the Ochoco Mountains near Prineville, Oregon

Hiking in the Ochoco Mountains near Prineville, Oregon

 

Smith Rock:  These photos were taken on a great mountain biking trip to Smith Rock State Park near Terrebonne, Oregon. If you haven’t ridden at Smith Rock, put it on your list of 2011 Resolutions. It’s one of the most surreal places you will ever ride.

 

 

Mountain biking in Smith Rock State Park

Mountain biking in Smith Rock State Park

 

Perched high on the cliffs at Smith Rock State Park

Perched high on the cliffs at Smith Rock State Park

 

Three Sisters Wilderness:  I was fortunate enough to get into the Three Sisters backcountry area on several different occasions in 2010. Each of these trips ranks among my favorites for the year.

 

 

Backpacking in the Three Sisters Wilderness Area

Backpacking in the Three Sisters Wilderness Area

 

Hiking near Central Oregon’s Broken Top Mountain

Hiking near Central Oregon’s Broken Top Mountain

 

Backpacking in the Three Sisters Wilderness Area

Backpacking in the Three Sisters Wilderness Area

 

Crooked River Canyon: Central Oregon has so many great desert scenes, it’s hard to choose where to go first. I spent quite bit of time this past Spring exploring the peaks and valleys surrounding the Deschutes River and Crooked River. Here are a few photos from some of my favorite desert hikes:

 

 

 

 

Hiking in the canyons near Crooked River Ranch

Hiking in the canyons near Crooked River Ranch

 

Sitting on the cliffs above the Crooked River at Smith Rock State Park

Sitting on the cliffs above the Crooked River at Smith Rock State Park

 

Trail running in the Crooked River Canyon near Prineville, Oregon

Trail running in the Crooked River Canyon near Prineville, Oregon

 

 

Other Miscellaneous Trips: There were lots of other great days in the past year where I was lucky enough to get outside and enjoy some fresh air. Here are a few miscellaneous photos from some of those days:

 

 

Backpacking near the Mount Washington Wilderness Area

Backpacking near the Mount Washington Wilderness Area

 

 

Autumn color at Silver Falls near Silverton, Oregon

Autumn color at Silver Falls near Silverton, Oregon

 

Mountain biking above Tumalo Creek Canyon

Mountain biking above Tumalo Creek Canyon

 

Enjoying a sunset (and a beer) at the Oregon coast

Enjoying a sunset (and a beer) at the Oregon coast

 

Snow hiking near Tumalo Falls

Snow hiking near Tumalo Falls

 

I hope that 2011 is as good to me as 2010. Cheers!

 

Posted by Troy McMullin


Troy “Desert Dog” McMullin has added some great new images to our High Desert Gallery!

Please check out the High Desert Gallery at our main Pacific Crest Stock website.  Troy recently uploaded some new images that are ripe for licensing.  He has been hard at work this spring and summer shooting some of the best desert scenery in the inter mountain west.  The following image is just one example of the amazing topography and rock formations that can be found in Oregon’s High Desert.  This particular image was captured in the “Blue Basin” which is located in the John Day Painted Hills area of Eastern Oregon.

Hiker in the "Blue Basin" located in the John Day area of Eastern Oregon

Hiker in the "Blue Basin" located in the John Day area of Eastern Oregon

Oregon's Painted Hills

Oregon's Painted Hills near the John Day Fossil Beds

Hiking into Oregon's Blue Basin

Hiking into Oregon's Blue Basin


Troy has been working particularly hard at capturing images from some of Central Oregon’s newer trails.  In the Crooked River Ranch area there are several great new trails worth checking out.  These new trails can be preview by visiting the following link to our Pacific Crest Stock website.  Pacific Crest Stock.  The following images were captured at a few of these new trails.  There are many more like it viewable at our website!

Mountain biking the Otter Bench Trail near Crooked River Ranch

Mountain biking the Otter Bench Trail near Crooked River Ranch

Cliffs along the Opal Pool Trail near Crooked River Ranch

Cliffs along the Opal Pool Trail near Crooked River Ranch

Hiking at Oregon's Scout Camp Canyon Trail

Hiking at Central Oregon's Scout Camp Trail Canyon

Hiking in Central Oregon's High Desert

Hiking in Central Oregon's High Desert

View from the Pink Trail as it drops into the Crooked River Canyon

View from the Pink Trail as it drops into the Crooked River Canyon

Hiker surrounded by Central Oregon's desert cliffs

Hiker surrounded by Central Oregon's desert cliffs

Troy has also been busy exploring around Smith Rock, which is Central Oregon’s most famous desert destination. We think these images are definitely ripe for licensing.

The Monument at Smith Rock State Park in Terrebonne, Oregon
The Monument at Smith Rock State Park in Terrebonne, Oregon
Hiker high on the cliffs of Oregon's Smith Rock State Park

Hiker high on the cliffs of Oregon's Smith Rock State Park

Dinner high on the cliffs above Central Oregon's Crooked River

Dinner high on the cliffs above Central Oregon's Crooked River

If any of our readers have suggestions as to where Troy should go for his next great High Desert image, please leave a message at the end of this blog entry!

Thanks for Reading,

Mike Putnam


Tragic Loss for Pacific Crest Stock. An Ode to My Dear Departed Friend.

I started a recent blog entry with the words, “I always hike with the hopes that there will be a story to tell.” Well, here’s a story that I was never hoping I would have to tell. It’s one in which my trusty old Canon 5D camera was sent plummeting off of a 200-foot cliff to its death.  

 

The day started off like many other photography mission days. It was a beautiful Spring morning, and my loving wife had given me clearance to spend the entire day hiking, biking, skiing or doing whatever I wanted to do. I noticed some great cloud formations stretching across the northern skyline, so I decided to take my trusty friend into the desert canyons near Crooked River Ranch to take pictures. I had scouted these areas several times earlier in the year and I was calculating that the deserts should be pretty close to reaching their peak (i.e., as green as they get and full of balsom root flowers). Based on the positioning of clouds, I figured my first stop should be Steelhead Falls on the Deschutes River. This deep desert canyon has lots of interesting hoodoo formations and traditionally good flowers about this time of year. Add in a good collection of cumulus clouds overhead, and its pretty hard to beat.  Unfortunately, when I hiked into the waterfall, I found that the balsom root and Indian paintbrush were still on the early side . . . and, there was a fierce wind moving through the valley, which meant that I had virtually no chance of capturing any decent photographs of flowers anyway (because they would all be blowing around like mad).

 

Photo of balsom root near Steelhead Falls on the Deschutes River.  This photo was taken on an earlier trip when there was no wind.

Photo of balsom root near Steelhead Falls on the Deschutes River. This photo was taken on an earlier trip when there was no wind.

I did the best I could with the situation at hand, and then decided to move a few miles farther downstream to the Camp Scout Trail. The Camp Scout Trail is a recently opened section of trail that descends through a steep, rugged canyon to the lushy confluence the Deschutes River and Wychus Creek. I’ve been there a few times since it has opened, and I think it’s one of the best desert hikes in Central Oregon, especially in late-April and early-May. After a level half-mile section, the trail opens up to dramatic, big-Western-style views.

 

 Mike Croxford and I hiking at Camp Scout Trail earlier in the year . . . when my camera was still alive.

Mike Croxford and I hiking at Camp Scout Trail earlier in the year . . . when my camera was still alive.

As I followed the trail downstream from the fork, I was pleased to see that the balsom root flowers were much farther along in this area than at Steelhead Falls. I scouted around and took about a dozen photographs that I was very excited about, but then the wind started gusting again and it became clear that I was not going to get any more good photographs from this area. Rather than hiking the entire 3-mile loop, I decided that I would wait and bring the family back here a different day for a more extensive photographic experience.

 

 

  Deschutes River and cliffs from the Scout Camp Trail.  This photo was taken earlier in the year, before the big balsom root bloom and fatal camera incident.

Deschutes River and cliffs from the Scout Camp Trail. This photo was taken earlier in the year, before the big balsom root bloom and fatal camera incident.

 

 

I hurried back the Jeep, and then drove a few miles down the road to some other new trails along the Crooked River canyon.  The Lone Pine Trail, Otter Bench Trail, and Opal Canyon Loop Trail are located just past Crooked River Ranch. Like Steelhead Falls and Camp Scout Trail, they offer incredibly scenic views, but parallel the Crooked River instead of the Deschutes River. My plan was to hike a short ways up Lone Pine Trail for a few quick photographs and then come back and mountain bike the 7-mile Otter Bench/Opal Canyon Loop network. 

 

Crooked River Canyon from the Lone Pine Trail.  This photo was taken earlier in the year, during happier times for my camera and I.

Crooked River Canyon from the Lone Pine Trail. This photo was taken earlier in the year, during happier times for my camera and I.

 

 

 

I left the Jeep and started up the Lone Pine Trail on foot, oblivious to the tragedy that was about to happen. At the first good viewpoint of the canyon, I dropped my backpack and unloaded my camera and tripod as I have done hundreds of times before. I started to compose the shot through my viewfinder, but then realized that the photograph I really wanted to get was going to require me to move a few more feet to my right . . . which, unfortunately, was going to put me dangerously close to the edge of a 200-foot cliff. I nervously inched toward the edge of the rock knowing that the cliff dropped off immediately behind me and to my right. With barely enough room to turn around on, I leaned over to check my lens and saw a bunch of debris clinging to its center. I carefully maneuvered around the tripod leg and started to reach for my backpack to get a clean lens cloth when a surge of wind came gusting up the canyon. The strong wind caught the lip of my cap and as I reached both hands to my head to keep my cap from blowing away, I saw that the wind had also caught hold of my camera.  I looked back just in time to see my dear old camera and tripod go somersaulting off the cliff.

 

It was like one of those moments you see in the movies where everything is moving in super slow motion.  Imagine a slow frame-by-frame scene with me on top of the cliff lunging for the foot of my tripod as it tumbles out of view and my mouth opening wide to scream “Nooooooooooooooooo!” That’s pretty much how it happened.  After witnessing the unfathomable, I just dropped to my knees in disbelief and hung my head . . . unable to look up. After a few moments of dumbfounded silence, I rolled to my side and then crawled over to the edge to see if I could catch a glimpse of my camera’s corpse on the rocks below. I expected to see it and my tripod in a mangled heap of carnage at the bottom of the cliff, but I didn’t see it anywhere below.

 

Always an optimist, I decided that I would gather up the rest of my gear and then try to find a way down to the bottom of the canyon to re-collect any pieces of my camera gear that were still intact. It didn’t take long for me to locate a game trail that worked its way down a steep rocky outcropping and into the rattlesnake-infested area at the bottom of the cliffs that I had been standing on a few minutes earlier. As I approached the scene of the crime, I noticed a piece of carbon fiber legging that once belonged to my tripod. A few feet from that piece, I found the rest of my tripod. The tripod was no longer usable in any way, but all things considered, it had actually taken the fall quite well. One piece of the leg was missing and the ball head had broken off upon impact, but otherwise, it looked much better than expected.

 

My next task was to try to find the camera. Given that the camera is much heavier than the tripod, I figured that it had probably ricocheted farther down the slope. After a few more minutes of searching, I spotted my camera wedged underneath a twisted section of sage brush about 50-feet below the place where my tripod had come to rest. The entire right side of the camera had split open during the fall, and my $1500 lens had disengaged itself somewhere during the tumble. I knew there was no way that my lens would be salvageable, but in trying to give myself at least one small nugget of hope, I thought that maybe, perhaps, through some small miracle, that I might be able to at least re-use my polarized filter, which was attached to the lens before it fell. I searched high and low, under each and every brush pile looking for my lens, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. Using my best CSI skills, I backtracked and zig-zagged the entire area between where I found the tripod and where I found the camera, trying to cover every imaginable scenario. Just as I was about to give up, I caught a glimpse of that signature “L series” red circle. At nearly the same moment that I spotted my lens, it dawned on me that the lens cap was in my pocket before my camera blew off the cliff, which of course, meant that there was no way the polarized filter was going to survive the tumble. Sure enough, the filter was scratched beyond belief.

 

I then thought about all of the nice photographs that I had taken earlier in the day at Steelhead Falls and Scout Camp Trail, and let out a little smile thinking that since I had found my camera, I would at least be able to get those photographs off of the memory card.  But even that small feeling of relief was short-lived because as I looked closer at my camera, I realized that the memory card had also ejected itself sometime after impact.  I spent another 30 minutes looking for that tiny (but precious) memory card before I finally had to admit that it had been nearly a complete loss.  With one fleeting moment of indescretion, I had lost my camera, lens, filter, memory card, and tripod.

 

And so with that, I packed all of the different pieces into my backpack and started hiking back to the Jeep, thankful that I still had a perfectly good lens cap in my pocket. . . and that it wasn’t me that had blown off the cliff instead.

 

The carcass of my dear old friend.

The carcass of my dear old friend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Troy McMullin