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

Posts Tagged ‘mountain biking’

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


A Few Photos for Jewel: Paulina Creek Falls, Paulina Lake and the Newberry Crater Area

The Pacific Crest Stock photography team recently received a very special request from one of our biggest fans, Mrs. Jewel Carmody. Jewel is a wonderfully nice 85-year-old lady who used to live in Bend, Oregon many years ago. Although she now lives in Arkansas, she still has a great love and admiration for all of the wilderness areas in Central Oregon and she frequently visits our blog site and main gallery pages in an effort to stay connected to the area. Jewel has sent us several complimentary messages over the last few months, and in a recent correspondence, she mentioned that she would like to see some photos from Paulina Lake and the Newberry Crater area, which was one of her favorite places to visit when she and her husband, Dewey, lived here in the late 1950’s.

For those of you who are not familiar with Central Oregon, Paulina Lake and the Newberry National Volcanic Monument are located just a few miles south of Bend and Sunriver. Although lesser known than nearby Crater Lake National Park, the Newberry Crater area actually shares many similar features with Crater Lake and was also once considered a leading candidate for National Park status. This geological wonderland was formed thousands of years ago when the 500-square-mile Newberry Volcano erupted and collapsed on itself, creating a huge caldera. Today, the caldera contains two incredibly deep and beautiful snow-fed lakes, a scenic creek with dozens of drops and waterfalls, and one of the largest obsidian flows in the North America. Despite its unique characteristics and the fact that I have hiked, biked and camped in the Newberry Crater area many times in the past, I have rarely gone there specifically for photography purposes, and unfortunately, I have a surprisingly small collection of pictures from this area to share with Jewel.

One of the lower waterfalls along Paulina Creek and the Peter Skene Ogden Trail in Central Oregon’s Newberry National Volcanic Monument.

One of the lower waterfalls along Paulina Creek and the Peter Skene Ogden Trail in Central Oregon’s Newberry National Volcanic Monument.

One of my favorite destinations in the Newberry Crater Area is the Peter Skene Ogden Trail. This wonderfully scenic trail is open to hiking, mountain biking (uphill only), and cross-country skiing. It climbs rather steeply for about 8 or 9 miles along the north side of Paulina Creek, passing many small waterfalls and natural rock waterslides (including the famous “Paulina Plunge” slide and swimming hole). The photo above was taken last year on one of the rare occasions that I happened to have my camera with me. In order to capture this photo, I had to take off my boots and wade out across the slippery rocks with bare feet through a thigh-deep, ice-cold creek. I’m not really sure what compelled me to carry my non-waterproof camera out into the middle of the creek, but I can tell you that I definitely second guessed myself—and the general soundness of my decision-making skills—several times as I was standing in the middle of the frigid water, fighting to prevent the current from sweeping me, my tripod, and camera downstream with it. After a handful of awkward and wobbly shots, I quickly decided that it would be wisest for me to take my camera back to the safety of dry land.

The Peter Skene Ogden Trail passes many impressive waterfalls along its path, but none of the others quite compare to Paulina Creek Falls, which is the final waterfall at the top of the trail. Paulina Creek Falls has an impressive 100-foot drop that comes off the ledge in two different spots creating a “double falls.” The photo of Paulina Creek Falls that is posted below was taken the same evening as the lower falls photo above. When photographing, I always like to find new and unique compositions that no one else has shot before. In this case, I happened to arrive while the fireweed was blooming and so I fought my way across the stream and up along the far edge of the waterfall to create this Pacific Crest Stock “original.” I like the composition of this photo a lot, but I’m not entirely happy with the lighting in the scene. Since we always strive to capture the “best possible” images for our Pacific Crest Stock galleries, I’ll probably go back later this year and try to re-capture this scene when the lighting is a little softer.

Fireweed blooming near Paulina Creek Falls in Central Oregon’s Newberry National Volcanic Monument.

Fireweed blooming near Paulina Creek Falls in Central Oregon’s Newberry National Volcanic Monument.

Just past Paulina Creek Falls, the Peter Skene Ogden Trail reaches the outlet from Paulina Lake. From here, hikers can enjoy a nice breakfast or lunch at the rustic Paulina Lake Lodge or continue hiking along the 7.5-mile trail that circles Paulina Lake. The mostly-level Paulina Lake Trail is a popular place for trail running and/or hiking. Despite its popularity, the trail can provide some well-earned solitude in the more remote areas of the lake and it frequently offers great shore-side views of Paulina Peak toward the south. There is also a natural hot springs located half way around the lake, which is the perfect place for a short break or a relaxing soak.

The Paulina Lake Trail is also a great place to take the kids for an easy out-and-back family hike. My wife, Julie, and I took our oldest daughter here for a hike when she was a toddler. Ella fell asleep while she was riding on my back in a Kelty Kid Carrier and when she woke up, we realized that Ella’s pacifier had fallen out of her mouth while she was napping. Ella was very distraught at losing her favorite thing in the entire world, and so we quickly diffused the situation my telling her this long convoluted story about how we saw a mother squirrel pick up something from the trail and climb up to her baby, which was sitting on a high branch in one of the trees overhanging the lake. We thought the mother squirrel had a nut in her mouth, but as she got closer to her baby, we could see that the mother squirrel had actually picked up Ella’s pacifier and was trying to give it to her baby. During the transfer, the baby squirrel dropped the pacifier, which landed in the lake and was then immediately swept up by a huge rainbow trout. The trout sucked the pacifier into his mouth . . . smiled . . . and then swam away with it. To this day, Ella makes us tell her that story every time that we hike at Paulina Lake and she asks every fisherman she sees whether they have caught any fish with a pacifier in its mouth. So far, no one has caught that magical fish, but one day we’ll get Ella’s grandpa to bring his fishing gear out here with him. Ella is absolutely convinced that her Poppa can catch that fish because he is the best fisherman in the whole world.

Photo of a Central Oregon sunset on Paulina Peak and Paulina Lake.

Photo of a Central Oregon sunset on Paulina Peak and Paulina Lake.

Mountain biking is not allowed on the Paulina Lake Trail, but there are also plenty of biking opportunities in the Newberry Crater area. For the more adventurous types, I would recommend biking from the lake up to the top of 8,000-foot Paulina Peak. The views into the 250-foot deep, azure-colored Paulina Lake below and out toward the Three Sisters Mountains can’t be beat. On a clear day, you can see all the way across Oregon and into California to the south and Washington to the north. If you still have lots of energy in your tank after climbing to the top of Paulina Peak, drop back down a few hundred feet and turn left onto the Crater Rim Loop Trail. This 25-mile single-track trail circumnavigates the entire caldera, including Paulina Lake, East Lake, and the Big Obsidian Flow. The Crater Rim Loop Trail can be fairly exhausting (especially if you started at the Peter Skene Ogden trailhead more than 10 miles below), but this trail provides an absolutely epic day of Central Oregon mountain biking and the final descent back to Paulina Lake is one of the best down-hilling experiences in the entire area.

Sunset photo from the top of Paulina Peak, overlooking Paulina Lake, Newberry Caldera, and the Crater Rim Loop Trail.

Sunset photo from the top of Paulina Peak, overlooking Paulina Lake, Newberry Caldera, and the Crater Rim Loop Trail.

Well, that’s just about the extent of my photo collection from Paulina Lake and the Newberry Crater Area. I’m not really sure why I haven’t taken more photos from this area in the past, but thanks to Jewel’s request, I think I will try to focus more on this part of the region in the coming year. I guess that illustrates one of the reasons why Jewel loved living in Central Oregon so much. There’s just so much to do here, it seems like you couldn’t possibly cover everything this area has to offer, even if you had two lifetimes to do it.

Posted by Troy McMullin

NOTE: To really experience Paulina Lake at its best or to learn more about the history and geology of this area, I would highly recommend scheduling a day trip through Wanderlust Tours. Their excellent tour guides provide a wealth of fun information and a unique perspective that will leave you with a much greater appreciation for the area than what you would have been able to otherwise experience on your own. I have heard many families say that the day they spent here with Wanderlust Tours was the best day of their entire vacation.