Off the Beaten Path: Ashwood, Oregon #NaturePhotography #NatureBeauty #photography

Ashwood, Oregon: A Haunting Glimpse into Central Oregon’s Past

off the beaten path Oregon, Ashwood

In the heart of Central Oregon, Ashwood stands as a silent sentinel of a bygone era. Once a bustling town, it now lies in ruins, a ghost town echoing with the whispers of history.

A Brief History

Ashwood’s story begins in the late 1800s when it was founded as a homesteading community. Its proximity to the Deschutes River and the promise of fertile land attracted settlers looking to make a new life in the wilderness. By the turn of the 20th century, Ashwood had blossomed into a thriving town with a school, post office, and several businesses.

Oregon ghost town, Ashwood

The Decline

However, Ashwood’s glory days were short-lived. The town’s fortunes waned as the timber industry declined, and the construction of nearby highways diverted traffic away from its once-bustling streets. The closure of the post office in the 1970s marked the symbolic end of an era. Today, Ashwood stands as a shadow of its former self, a place where time has seemingly stopped.

wierd and wild oregon

Exploring Ashwood

Visiting Ashwood is like stepping into a time capsule. The dilapidated buildings that line its streets are a testament to its past, with some structures dating back to the early 1900s. The old schoolhouse, in particular, is a hauntingly beautiful relic, its walls covered in graffiti and its windows long shattered. The eerie silence that envelops Ashwood is broken only by the whispering wind, lending an almost otherworldly quality to the experience.

off the beaten path Oregon, Ashwood

The Legends

Of course, no ghost town is complete without its legends. Ashwood has its fair share of ghost stories, from phantom footsteps echoing in the night to whispers of long-lost settlers still roaming the area. While skeptics may dismiss these tales as mere folklore, they add an extra layer of intrigue to this already enigmatic place.

off the beaten path Oregon, Ashwood

wierd and wild Oregon, Ashwood

abandoned places Ashwood, Oregon



Unraveling the Mysteries of Pictograph Cave #NaturePhotography #NatureBeauty #Petroglyphs

Hidden amidst the breathtaking landscapes of Bend, Oregon, lies the treasure of ancient history and art – the Pictograph Cave. It’s east of Bend between China Hat and Pine Mountain in the lonely plains of the high desert.

explore mysterious petroglyph cave

The Trail

There’s no easy way to get there. It’s a 3.4-mile round-trip trek through the desert, longer as you’re sure to have some issues finding your way there and back. There is no clearly marked trail, and you’re often traipsing through the desert using landmarks and the compass on your phone for help. The day we went, it was very smokey. Boo for forest fires! If you go, be sure to wear socks. The flora have lots of stickers and prickers. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to wear those shoes again. There are still things poking me when I put them on.

discover mysterious petroglyph cave

Protecting the Past

It’s dry and dusty, so bring lots of water.  The reason the cave is pretty well hidden is to protect it from vandals. Some a$$hats defaced a cave that is easier to access and ruined it for everyone. I’m all for protecting this cave. There’s a lot to study and learn.

discover mysterious petroglyph cave

Evidence of Ancient Tool Making

That’s Pine Mountain in the distance. I ‘m usually driving past this part of the desert, not walking through it.  One of the cool things is, there are pieces of obsidian everywhere – remnants of toolmaking. The natives seemed to have used this area quite a bit for there to be so much obsidian lying around. This evidence of the past you can witness without finding the cave.

Watch Your Step!

Besides being on the lookout for snakes and roots trying to trip you, you have to be aware of sudden holes in the earth that want to swallow you up. This drop would have ended the hike in tragedy. And, you’re pretty much out there on your own. We didn’t see anybody else anywhere on the trails or parked on the dirt path leading to the walking path.

explore mysterious petroglyph cave

Closed for Bats

Be aware that the cave, and every cave in the area, is closed for bat hibernation between October 1st and April 30th. You have to respect nature and all its creatures.

And the entrance to the cave is rather treacherous. It involves climbing and is not easy. You should have at least one other person with you for safety. There are some hand and foot holds, but you have to be into rock climbing.

explore mysterious petroglyph cave

Once you make it to the cave, and then down into the cave, you’ll be rewarded with ancient rock art.

The Magnificent Rock Art

The intricate and vibrant pictographs tell stories of a bygone era, capturing the creativity and ingenuity of the early inhabitants. The cave’s walls showcase a diverse array of artwork, including depictions of wildlife, human figures, celestial objects, and abstract symbols. The drawings span over time and are thousands of years old. There isn’t any information on what they mean, but it’s humbling to stand where ancient humans did thousands of years ago and try to figure out what had stirred them to paint the images they did on the cave walls. I monkeyed with the photos to make the drawings more clear.

explore Oregon

discover Oregon

explore Oregon

explore Oregon
A Trek of Discovery

Visiting Pictograph Cave in Bend, Oregon, offers a unique opportunity. Walking in the footsteps of ancient civilizations, you can imagine what life might have been like in prehistoric times. The cave’s aura of mystery and the palpable connection to the past create an unforgettable experience, leaving you with a newfound appreciation for the richness of human history.

Alkalai Lake, Oregon: Discovering Nature’s Resilience Amidst Environmental Challenges #NaturePhotography #NatureBeauty

Alkali Lake is deep within the Great Basin region of Oregon. The Great Basin is the largest area of watersheds with no outlets in North America. Alkali Lake is a natural sink surrounded by stunning landscapes and environmental challenges.

Alkali Lake, discovering Oregon

Geological Formation and Magnificent Landscapes:

Alkali Lake emerged as a geographic sink, showcasing the intricate geological processes that shape our planet. Situated 26 miles east of Christmas Valley, Oregon, and to the northeast of Lake Abert, this remarkable body of water is a testament to the dynamic nature of Earth’s landscapes. The surrounding area, adorned by the majestic Abert Rim and Highway 395, provides a breathtaking backdrop.

Alkali Lake, discovering Oregon

Water Level Variations and Changing Dynamics:

Throughout its existence, Alkali Lake has experienced significant variations in water levels. In the past, it reached a prehistoric maximum depth of approximately 270.7 feet (82.5 meters) and covered an expansive area of around 1,448.4 square miles (3,751 square kilometers). However, over time, a drying trend has become apparent, leading to fluctuations.

Alkali Lake, discovering Oregon

Alkaline Salts and the Natural Composition:

One of the notable characteristics of Alkali Lake is the presence of dissolved alkaline salts within its seasonal waters. On average, these alkaline salts account for approximately 10% of the total brine weight. While this unique composition poses challenges for some forms of life, it also creates a distinctive ecosystem that has adapted to the conditions over time, showcasing nature’s resilience and adaptability.

Alkali Lake, discovering Oregon

The Alkali Lake Chemical Waste Dump:

In close proximity to Alkali Lake lies the Alkali Lake Chemical Waste Dump, which is an unfortunate reminder of past environmental challenges. This site served as a repository for chemical waste, and its presence raises awareness about the importance of responsible waste management and the long-term effects on the surrounding ecosystem. Efforts to address and mitigate the impacts of the waste dump are ongoing, underscoring the significance of environmental stewardship.

Alkali Lake, discovering Oregon

Despite the environmental challenges it faces, Alkali Lake’s natural beauty remains resilient.


Exploring the Enchanting Beauty of Devil’s Punch Bowl on the Oregon Coast: Weird and Wonderful Oregon #NaureBeauty #NaturalPhotography

Nestled along the captivating Oregon Coast, Devil’s Punch Bowl is a natural wonder that beckons adventurers and nature enthusiasts alike. This picturesque coastal formation, located near the charming town of Otter Rock, offers visitors a mesmerizing blend of rugged cliffs, swirling waters, and dramatic sea caves.

Devils Punch Bowl

The Origin of Devil’s Punch Bowl:

Devil’s Punch Bowl owes its intriguing name to the distinctive geological feature it exhibits. This natural wonder was formed thousands of years ago when the relentless ocean waves eroded the softer rock layers, creating a large hollow bowl-shaped depression in the coastal cliffs. As the waves crash into the bowl, water churns and swirls, producing a fascinating spectacle that has captivated visitors for generations.

devils punch bowl

The Spectacular Scenery:

As you approach Devil’s Punch Bowl, the panoramic views of the rugged Oregon Coastline will leave you awe-struck. The dramatic cliffs, adorned with vibrant sea grasses and wildflowers, provide a picturesque backdrop for this mesmerizing natural formation. Whether you visit during sunrise, sunset, or under the warm glow of midday, the scenic beauty of Devil’s Punch Bowl is sure to leave an indelible mark on your memories.

devils punch bowl


Tide Pools and Marine Life:

Exploring the tide pools around Devil’s Punch Bowl unveils an enchanting world of marine life. During low tide, the exposed rocks and pools teem with colorful sea anemones, starfish, crabs, and a plethora of other captivating creatures. It’s a paradise for nature lovers and provides a unique opportunity to observe these fascinating organisms up close. Remember to tread carefully and respect the fragile ecosystems when exploring these delicate tide pool habitats.

tide pools

tide pools

tide pools

A trip to Devil’s Punch Bowl on the Oregon Coast is a truly remarkable experience that combines natural beauty, geological wonder, and a sense of awe-inspiring adventure. Whether you’re an avid hiker, a lover of marine life, or simply someone seeking solace amidst the wonders of nature, this captivating coastal destination has something for everyone. The rugged cliffs, swirling waters, and enchanting sea caves all weave together to create an unforgettable tapestry of Oregon’s coastal charm. So, plan your visit to Devil’s Punch Bowl, and prepare to be swept away by the majesty of this natural treasure.

devils punch bowl

Sahalie Falls, A Natural Wonder: Weird and Wonderful Oregon #NatureBeauty #NaturalPhotography

An impressive natural wonder to explore!

Located in the Willamette National Forest, Sahalie Falls is a stunning waterfall that drops 100 feet over a rocky cliff.

Sahalie Falls

A Short Hike

To get to Sahalie Falls, you’ll need to take a short hike on a paved trail that leads directly to the waterfall. The hike is relatively easy and suitable for all ages and fitness levels, making it a great destination for families or those who simply want to enjoy a leisurely walk in the great outdoors.

As you make your way along the trail, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the forest and the McKenzie River. When you reach the falls, you’ll be rewarded with a truly breathtaking sight. The water plunges down over the rocks, creating a misty spray that adds to the beauty of the scene.

Sahalie Falls


If you’re feeling adventurous, you can climb down to the base of the falls for an even closer look. Just be sure to wear appropriate footwear, as the rocks can be slippery.

Be sure to bring a camera to capture the beauty of this natural wonder. And don’t forget to take some time to simply enjoy the serenity of the forest and the sound of the rushing water. It’s the perfect place to relax and recharge your batteries.

Sahalie Falls is the perfect place to relax and recharge your batteries. With its stunning waterfall and beautiful forest surroundings, you won’t be disappointed!

Sahalie Falls



Exploring Fremont Point: Weird and Wonderful Oregon #NaturePhotography #NatureBeauty #photography

Oregon is famous for its scenic beauty, and Fremont Point is no exception. Located near Summer Lake, this hidden gem offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. The destination was originally Summer Lake in the Great Basin. The lake dries up the farther from spring it is. So, it was pretty dry. The vistas are still stunning and worth a visit, however.

A sign pointed up a dirt road to Fremont Point, and we decided to go see what was there. It was a pretty steep climb, so we figured it’d be a great viewpoint. It was, but the best part was the drive up. The hillsides were covered with this fairytale landscape of dead trees and flowers. It was incredibly beautiful and surreal. Rarely are we disappointed by exploring a road by chance and seeing where it goes. This one was certainly worthwhile.

The landscapes were stunning and it was so still and quiet. There were a lot of places to pull over and go exploring. There were vast vistas and smaller copses to discover, and all worth the time.

exploring Fremont Point, Oregon

You can see a wee bit of water through the trees, which what was left of Summer Lake.


exploring Fremont Point, Oregon

exploring Fremont Point, Oregon

exploring Fremont Point, Oregon

exploring Fremont Point, Oregon

It’s always splendid to find a hidden gem when exploring the lesser-traveled places in Oregon. Oregon certainly has a lot of beauty to offer. Hope you find some spectacular places to explore where you are.


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