May 16, 2010

Sunday Stills: Flowers...and...An Oregon Scenic View

This weeks Sunday Stills challenge was "flowers." As slow as this week was, I didn't run into many flowers when I had my camera handy. But Friday evening we had lots of time to kill, a whole 2 1/2 days to travel a little over 700 miles. We drove the first 200 or so, and stopped in Bend, OR so I could do some shopping on Saturday. On the way, we paused at the Peter Skene Ogden State Scenic Viewpoint on US97 near Redmond to take in the view, and there happened to be a few flowers handy. I'm assuming that flowering shrubs count. This part of the country has lots of scraggly evergreens, sage, and other plant life that can thrive in the cool dry climate. Its desert country up here. Not the kind you typically think of when you hear the word desert, but it is a desert none the less, and I think its beautiful!
That small yellowish shrub in the picture below is covered in little yellow flowers. I don't know what it is though. A close up:

And if you look closer here, past the bush in front, you can see a small plant with red flowers clinging to the edge of the cliff. Fragile flowers in a rugged environment.

And of course Dandelions...weed or flower? I think its up to an individuals perspective, and also where they are growing. As long as they are not in my garden or yard, they are a flower to me.To see more Sunday Stills posts from other participants, click here.

On to the rest of the post.
As I mentioned we stopped at the scenic view area. We've crossed the Crooked River numerous times as we go up and down US97 between California and Washington. I've wished to stop and see this gorge every time, but never new we could, thinking there wasn't' parking for a vehicle like ours. But this time, Malcolm asked if I wanted to stop, and had noticed that there was actually a parking area for the scenic view. It actually had truck parking! It always amazes me what we fail to see when we travel, which is, I guess, what makes this job interesting. We can drive the same road a hundred times, and see something new every time.
Anyway, so we parked and got out to take in the sights, and had thought we'd take the girls along as there was no one else there and they would have enjoyed stretching their legs. But the first thing that greets you as you walk towards the park is this sign.
After reading the lower sign, we changed our minds.

Peter Skene Ogden, for whom this overlook is named, was a frontiersman who led men from the Hudson Bay Company into and through this area.

This is the Oregon Trunk Railroad Bridge, completed in 1911. Prior to its completion, the only structure that crossed the gorge was a one lane wooden bridge that existed about a mile upstream where the gorge begins to taper off some.
To build the bridge, workers climbed a rope ladder to reach the construction sight. Also, once the two sides were completed, some scaffolding connected by a board plank were used to go between the two sides to work on the center, and workers joked about "walking the plank." I hope it was a high paying job.

There is something very artistic about bridges, particularly the older ones. To think that they built it in the early 1900's and it is still in use today. They don't build things like that anymore, to last like that, you know?

I was going to leave this tidbit out, but Malcolm thinks I should include it. Looking down from this vantage point, there was a ledge before it continued to drop to the river. And sadly, there was indeed a dog lying there that had apparently crossed the barrier wall and fallen.

A small waterfall drops over the edge of the gorge and trickles over the rocks to join the river at the bottom. The moisture is just enough to encourage plant life to cling to the rocky edges. The gorge was also full of birds flying from one side to the other. It was like looking down into a world in its own little bubble.

There are three bridges at this location now. The railroad bridge is the furthest to the west.

A few yards to the east are the other two bridges.The bridge in front is the old highway bridge, the Crooked River "High" Bridge. It was constructed in 1926, and at 295 feet above the river it was the highest single arch span bridge in the nation at that time. It was the only automobile crossing of the Crooked River Gorge for more than 70 years, until the traffic on US97 became more than the bridge could accommodate. In the early 1990's a new bridge was constructed, and the High Bridge was turned into a walking bridge.The new bridge, was constructed in the 1990's. The engineers tryed to stay true to the design of the other two bridges.These river gorges are amazing to see. Its a long way down there. The Crooked River Gorge is, in appearance as you drive by, very similar to the Snake River Gorge over in Idaho. We've driven by and along its edge many times as well, but have yet to be able to stop. It is on my list, an ever lengthening list, of places to stop and explore. We are loaded with meat and bone meal coming out of the Pasco, WA area once again. We'll deliver in Turlock, CA in the morning and I am keeping my fingers crossed and sending up a couple of quick prayers as well that from there we'll be heading to Ogden, UT instead of south for more onions or something similar. We are supposed to be heading home and we often get there by way of Ogden when we're coming out of California. We need to be back before next Saturday because Malcolm's baby sister is graduating high school and we promised we'd be there to share in her moment of glory (plus after 8 weeks on the road we simply need some home time). Keep your fingers crossed with me. I feel like we're kind of cutting it close, and I still have to get to town and finish up her graduation gift. But first I have to figure out what that's going to be. Any ideas?


Anonymous said...

Wonderful shots - I always love to see wildflowers from other parts of the country, but I must say that this time they must take second place to the photos of the bridges. They are magnificent! I'm glad you decided to not take the walk-lol.

Brenda said...

oh, I had to get past those bridges fast! I don't mind looking out, I can't look down! back to flowers - now I forgot what I was going to say! lol Was the one honeysuckle?

SciFiChick said...

Beautiful pictures. The bridge shots are amazing.
I've got my fingers crossed that you guys will be headed home soon. As for gift ideas.... I totally suck. LOL I wish I could help you out with that one.

J9 said...

love the dandelion shot!

Ed said...

Great shots, I need to get back out there one day..:-)

small farm girl said...

Wow! Those are some amazing pictures of the gorge! I can't believe you actually seen a dog on the ledge. What's the odds. lol.

Shirley said...

Lovely old bridges, very scenic spot (except for the dog). Hope you make it home in time for the graduation.