The drive from Tacoma to Broomfield, Colorado, was a 1500 mile drive covering three days. Most of all, I wanted to see a terminally ill friend in Vancouver before I left on my planned three-week vacation. Since I was that far south, I decided I would also try to make my first "summer" trip to Malheur before visiting my son and his family in Broomfield.
It turned out that was the last time I would ever see my friend, but my drive was haunted by that last visit. I felt from the moment I left him that I would never seem him again, and I couldn't shake that feeling as I sped down the highway of life.
Luckily, nature's beauty can still distract me from morbid thoughts. It was impossible for me to ignore the beauty of Mt Hood
or forget the delightful trails I've hiked in past years.
Driving through the high desert of central Oregon immediately after driving through the lush evergreen forests around Mt Hood has always been somewhat of a shock to me, but I try hard to see the beauty of these area, too. Most of all, I find that beauty in the trees that have managed to survive in this harsh environment.
Judging from the size the twisted trunks I'm sure these trees are much older than trees at lower altitudes that are hundreds of feet taller. They remind me of the trees manage to survive above timberline in the mountains.
I wasn't real happy when I finally got to Malheur just before dark and found myself under the only clouds I'd seen for hours.
I suppose I could have cursed my luck, but instead I decided to photograph it:
Not surprisingly, the next day was a beautiful one, and the wetlands contrasted beautifully with the barren cliffs that surround Malheur.
In the next two days I crossed some of the most barren land I've ever seen as well as some of the most beautiful. Unfortunately, when you'er blasting down a freeway at 85 miles per hour, it's nearly impossible to pull over and take pictures without risking your life.
It wasn't until a rest stop in Northern Utah that I could finally pull over and capture these shots of the pass:
There wasn't much to photograph from there to Broomfield since I wasn't interested in oil wells or natural gas wells. My leisurely return trip through Yellowstone and The Grand Tetons should yield better scenics.