Photo Tour: Oregon

Crater Lake is the most solidly blue body of water I've ever seen. It's like a bowl full of sky.

Crater Lake is the most solidly blue body of water I’ve ever seen. It’s like a bowl full of sky.

These are the generators spinning up the electricity at Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River. I definitely developed a love of hydroelectric dams on this trip.

These are the generators spinning up the electricity at Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River. I developed a love of hydroelectric dams on this trip.

The fantastic Rogue River, cutting its way through the volcanic rock.

The fantastic Rogue River, cutting its way through volcanic rock.

Nothing says "incredibly quaint small town" like an adorable police station. Ashland, OR

Nothing says “incredibly quaint small town” like an adorable police station.
Ashland, OR

The Lighthouse at Bandon, OR.

The Lighthouse at Bandon, OR.

The salmon ladder at Bonneville Dam

The salmon ladder at Bonneville Dam

This was the view just 200 meters from my campsite near Humbug Mountain. I was the only one on the beach.

This was the view just 200 meters from my campsite near Humbug Mountain. I was the only one on the beach.

Our tour guide for a nature walk outside of Ashland. She reminded me of the female camp leader from the film "Addams Family Values." At one point on our tour she saw a bee and referred to it as "a happy little pollinator."

Our tour guide for a nature walk outside of Ashland. She reminded me of the female camp leader from the film “Addams Family Values.” At one point on our tour she saw a bee and referred to it as “a happy little pollinator.”

The people who chose not to go on the nature walk enjoyed a barn full of animal furs.

The people who chose not to go on the nature walk enjoyed a barn full of animal furs.

Crater Lake, as seen by a 27-year-old with her head upside down.

Crater Lake, as seen by a 27-year-old with her head upside down.

I read recently that the historic Benson Bridge at Multnomah Falls was damaged by a falling boulder. While the damage was small and sure to be repaired in time, I'm glad I saw it when I had the chance.

I read recently that the historic Benson Bridge at Multnomah Falls was damaged by a falling boulder. While the damage was small and sure to be repaired, I’m glad I saw it when I had the chance.

The view from the top of Bonneville Dam. It's a lot smaller than the Hoover Dam in Vegas or the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington, but it wins the prize for most interesting and beautiful  in appearance.

The view from the top of Bonneville Dam. It’s a lot smaller than the Hoover Dam in Vegas or the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington, but it wins the prize for most interesting and beautiful in appearance.

I took dozens of photos like this one while at Crater Lake. I loved the way the reflection of the lake created perfectly symmetrical patterns.

I took dozens of photos like this one while at Crater Lake. I loved the way the reflection of the lake created perfectly symmetrical patterns.

I followed a sign that pointed to a garden under a bridge in Ashland. The sign read, "This is The Path to Joy and Unity. Open your heart, and contemplate the magic that you will view." This painting was among many mounted like frescos on the ceiling underneath the bridge.

I followed a sign that pointed to a garden under a bridge in Ashland. The sign read, “This is The Path to Joy and Unity. Open your heart, and contemplate the magic that you will view.” This painting was among many mounted like frescos on the ceiling underneath the bridge.

I did a lot of solo wandering by the little lakes surrounding Mt. Bachelor. It's all volcanic rock, which makes for some really fascinating patterns and formations.

I did a lot of solo wandering by the little lakes surrounding Mt. Bachelor. It’s all volcanic rock, which makes for some really fascinating patterns and formations.

Some sections of The Oregon Vortex were off limits, even to guided tours...

Some sections of The Oregon Vortex were off limits, even to guided tours…

The misty Oregon coast

The misty Oregon coast

It never hurts to get a new perspective on things.

It never hurts to get a new perspective on things.

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Bandon: The Place That Wind Remembered

Bandon, Oregon is the windiest town I’ve ever been to.

Welcome to Old Town BandonI went to Bandon because it had shown up on one of those “Best Beaches in the World” lists. I had talked to a few Ashland locals about what else I should see and do in Bandon, and they suggested going to the old town area, which due to prominent signage is pretty hard to miss.

Old Town is pretty touristy and pretty kitschy, but it has it’s charm. I stolled through candy shops and pet paraphernalia stores. I saw a man playing a harmonica. Not for tips.

However the most distinguishing feature of Bandon is the wind. I had to hold onto my hat when walking along the docks just to keep hold of it. At one point in order to find some refuge from the gale I ducked under the awning of the fish cleaning station, which managed to keep it’s particular scent despite the constant opportunity to be aired out.

kitchI stopped for lunch at Tony’s Crab Shack, and had a sandwich made with “Bandon’s Famous Crab.” I’ve started a policy of always ordering whatever item on the menu includes the word ‘famous,’ and it’s served me well thus far.

I stopped by the visitor information booth, where I received some assistance from fellow travelers in keeping the front door from slamming into my face. A nice old woman behind the counter gave me instructions on how to get to the beach, and asked me three times if I had a windbreaker. I asked her if it was worth it to wear my hat and she shook her head. “That’s Bandon. We can’t keep a hat on and we don’t carry umbrellas,” she said.

Evacuation Route

I parked on the beach and put on my hurricane jacket. I tightened the hood around my face and started to walk along the rocks. The beach I was on sits right across from the old lighthouse, and is home to what I assume is the new hornhouse, based on the noise it made every 24 seconds. I read the Tsunami warning and was suddenly filled with absolute dread and certainty that a deep ocean earthquake was happening at that exact moment, and I would never be able to make it to the evacuation route in time. What a way to go. Oregon’s nice but it would be a real shame to have only made it this far.

The wind was so strong I could barely keep my balance, let alone hold the camera steady. There is a kind of beauty to it though. A kind of very specific, dangerous beauty. The waves and the wind are so high and strong, they crash up against the rocks like scenes from a movie about a storm. The mist blurs all the edges, from the rocks to the horizon. The Oregon Coast is not the kind of place you idle, it’s the kind of place you haunt.crashing waves