high desert

Behind the Rifters Series: Unveiling the Real-Life Inspiration for the Paleo Institute! #fantasy #steampunk #paleontology

 

A beacon for those hungry for knowledge and adventure.

popular fantasy steampunk series, the rifters, paleo institute

The Oregon Paleo Lands Institute Center in Fossil, Oregon, serves as the muse behind the Rifters’ Paleo Institute. Much like its real-world counterpart, the Paleo Institute in the series fosters exploration of the past and present landscapes. Inspired by the Center’s offerings—trips, classes, and adventures throughout the region—the Rifters’ Paleo Institute echoes the spirit of discovery, inviting readers to delve into history, fine-tune skills, and embrace the vast ecosystem of their world.

 

 

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The Wonder of Winter: Bend Oregon #LandscapePhotography #NaturePhotography #NatureBeauty

A View of Pilot Butte

Weird and wild Oregon

In the hush of winter’s breath, whispers of celestial wonder descend from the heavens above. Snowflakes, delicate and pure, pirouette in the crisp air, each a crystalline masterpiece crafted by nature’s artistry.

They blanket the world in a soft embrace, draping landscapes in a quilt of glistening white. With each gentle touch, they weave a tapestry of serenity, adorning branches and rooftops alike, transforming the mundane into a scene of ethereal enchantment.

Silent and serene, they dance their way to the earth, creating a symphony of tranquility as they settle, painting a portrait of silent elegance across the horizon. A tranquil stillness envelops the world, as if time itself pauses to marvel at this breathtaking spectacle.

The snow, a tender reminder of nature’s grace, bestows upon the world a quiet magic, inviting us to see beauty in simplicity and find solace in the peaceful embrace of winter’s embrace.

 

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Discovering the Charm of Antelope, Oregon #NaturePhotography Photography #ghosttown

It’s Spooktober! Let’s visit a ghost town. How about Antelope?

off the beaten path Oregon

Amidst the rolling hills and rugged landscapes of central Oregon, Antelope has a big story to tell. This quaint town is a hidden gem, offering a unique blend of history, natural beauty, and a sense of timelessness.

A Glimpse into Antelope’s History

In the mid-19th century, Antelope began as a station along the wagon road connecting The Dalles on the Columbia River with gold mines near Canyon City. After about 1870, the wagon road became known as The Dalles Military Road. When the highway was moved, Antelope became a quiet town of ranchers.

Is most notorious chapter came in the early 1980s when it briefly became the home of the Rajneeshpuram commune led by Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. A circle of leading members of the Rajneeshpuram Oregon commune were arrested for crimes including an attempted assassination plot to murder U.S. Attorney Charles H. Turner as part of the United States’s first recorded bio-terror attack calculated to influence the outcome of a local election in their favour; the effort ultimately failed. Salmonella bacteria were deployed to infect salad products in local restaurants and shops, which poisoned several hundred people.

hidden gem of Oregon, Antelope

Remnants of the Past

Antelope has many old building.

Oregon ghost towns, Antelope

 

weird and wild Oregon

 

hidden gems of Oregon

 

Antelope offers breathtaking vistas…

exploring Oregon, Antelope

 

And creepy ones… I envisioned this school when writing the second book in the Rifters series.

off the beaten path, Antelope, Oregon

Antelop was an awesome place to visit!

 

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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

 

 

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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.

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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.

 

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