Monday, November 30, 2009

It's all downhill from here

This is my third view of Mt Bachelor ski resort near Bend, Oregon. It is late afternoon on an overcast day, so this photo doesn't really bring out the energy and color which is typical when the place is hopping. In the background is the Pine Martin lift, which takes skiers and snowboarders up to a lodge which is hidden from view and over the bluff and at mid-mountain. From this angle the slopes don't look like they have much pitch and are, in fact, categorized as intermediate "blue'' runs. The difficulty of ski slopes really depends on weather conditions as well as its slope. I have come down by this lift countless times in deep powder or in fog or a snowstorm and have been mightily challenged. I thank my children for having encouraged me to overcome my fear and to take up downhill skiing which I did at age 46. I love this Winter activity so much and look forward to snapping some pictures for you from above.

Friday, November 27, 2009

pray for.....

Late in the afternoon, the ticket windows are closed at Mt Bachelor Ski Resort near Bend, Oregon. Earlier in the day this spot was filled with excited skiers and snowboarders, planning day-filled adventure with much bravado. Now the crowds have gone, and a strange peace descends on the mountain and its surroundings, reminiscent of an empty playground without children. In the above photo with its sparse, and random collection of snowboards, skis and poles, we see the leftovers of the morning celebration. Under the equipment racks the snow is packed down hard from the trampling of colorful boots . The morning prayer includes thoughts that tomorrow there will be new snow. A new caravan of novitiates will then caravan to this white world to be infused by its glory. Please note my newest post on Lee's Amizade Adventure.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

On High

One month ago, I posted a Fall picture of Mt Bachelor almost completely barren of snow. Some of you wanted me to post some Winter shots, when the time came. Last week Bend, Oregon, experienced a surprisingly early snowstorm, which produced over 30 inches of snow in the mountains. This gave skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts a pleasant surprise, an early opening to the resort. I drove up the road day before yesterday and took a series of pictures which I will show over the next several days. The summit of this long dormant volcano is around 9600 feet and is about 3 miles from top to base with a vertical drop of about 3000 feet. On this day my focus was to display its stately beauty. Like a sweet vanilla ice cream sundae without the cherry, this majestic beauty stands like an appealing treat for the cooled Northwest sky.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Day for Darwin

This morning I read in the Bend, Oregon, Bulletin that today commemorated the 150th anniversary of the the publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species. in which Darwin concluded that natural selection was the key factor in an evolutionary process which has been going on for millions of years, a position which has been vastly strengthened through the study of genetics and the discovery of DNA which show how traits are passed on.
Today, according to a Gallup poll, 44% of Americans believe God created man in his present form within the last 10,000 years and 42% of Americans believe all life on earth has existed in its present form since the beginning of time. This attitude not only reflects the well-documented fact that average American adult lacks even basic scientific literacy, but like primitive peoples, he chooses religious answers for questions he fails to understand. This dependence on supernatural explanations retards human growth and has been unproductive in advancing civilization with respect to gathering knowledge and understanding nature.
Darwin's contribution was to take the explanation of life down a different path and to look at it not from the perspective developed by severely limited, ancient desert people, but through honest, measurable inquiry.
I know that much scientific theory today will be modified or debunked tomorrow. I still feel the mystery of nature and am amazed by it. I don't know what to think about the prima causa or about magical coincidences. Yet, there is one thing of which I am certain: namely, I am frightened by those who may come to power who wish to de-legitimize science in order to preserve ignorance and superstition. Darwin may have set in motion serious investigation into the origin of life, but it is up to us to protect and foster the process he eloquently endorsed.

Monday, November 23, 2009

open to it all

Late this afternoon, on a walk across a high meadow on the outskirts of Bend, Oregon, I spied a series of lenticular clouds hanging over the mountains. These unusually-shaped formations are among my favorites, sometimes appearing as silky caps on mountain peaks or as UFO impostors hovering overhead. The air today is cool, fresh and highly scented by pine trees. There is a new thick layer of snow on the trail which appears before me like the sheet music of some modern piece, a staccato of notes formed by rabbit prints and other assorted small scurrying things. I breathe deeply and feel my legs taking me further into the interior. I tug at the hood of my sweatshirt and draw the strings tighter to stave the chill. Like a monk on a mission, I am off into God's country, so to speak, to enjoy its splendor.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

going full circle

Although I took this photo last summer after I completed an arduous hike on a dusty trail near Bend, Oregon, I decided I would use it as my first entry on my new blog, Lee's Amizade Adventure. I hope you will be able to bookmark this new blog as well. I intend to keep posting on Bend Daily Photo until I leave on January 3rd, but thought I would begin to share my thoughts tonight about my upcoming adventure in a new location. For a cursory description of my itinerary please see yesterday's post.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

going down the line

Late this afternoon, before it began to snow, I snapped a picture of the old train station in Bend, Oregon. It is now the home to an art collective called Art Station, which offers community sponsored art classes to children and adults. I looked carefully along the roadway to see the vestige of old railroad tracks, but could find none and know, if I go by the historical museum, I'll probably find old photos and learn its history. In an earlier post I related how I became infatuated with trains as a child and this thrill has never left me. I went to a railroad museum in San Diego recently and bought caps of the now defunct Southern Line and the Southern Pacific. I don't think I'll ever wear these odd-looking engineer's caps nor hang them on hooks. I am still puzzled by my impulse. The emblems on them were beautifully embroidered and reminded me how exciting it was to see these lines' colorful freight cars whizzing by.

Yesterday I mentioned that I will be taking a hiatus from Bend Daily Photo starting in January and will be starting a new blog. Briefly, through strange circumstances, I decided to volunteer for what was to be a short while with an international service organization called Amizade. Upon learning of my blogging experience and liking my writing skills, the director asked me almost jokingly if I would be interested in doing a blog and a cohesive narrative of a number of their sites. Anyway, I am leaving first for northern Brazil to take pictures, write and help out at a medical facility and school in a small city on the Amazon. After that I fly to Cochabamba, Bolivia and do the same at an orphanage. After several weeks I leave for Tanzania via England where I will be in the "bush" near the Uganda and Rwanda border where volunteers are putting in water systems for villagers. I then cross Tanzania on my own and will be able to go on a safari through the Serenghetti. I then fly East through Hong Kong and New York to Jamaica and spend two weeks at a school up in the mountains. Finally I return to America and go to Arizona to the Navajo Nation for two weeks and help at an Indian school. At the end of April, I'll be back in Oregon and wonder whether it was all a dream or whether it was real. That's it. How does it feel? without a home a complete a rolling stone! Thanks Bob D.

Rise and Shine

I have been remiss in posting this week and hope to be able to show scenes of Bend, Oregon for the next several days until Thanksgiving plans take me elsewhere. Then my posting may be spotty again, until I return home after the first week in December. I have been waking early and seeing remarkable sunrises on the high desert and felt compelled to share this view taken from my front porch. My head is bursting with new ideas and thoughts predicated by a great upcoming adventure which will take me to many amazing places. I will be leaving Bend, Oregon for 4 months and will be creating a new blog which I hope you will be interested in following. I will include details in upcoming posts. A new morning to all of you!

Monday, November 16, 2009

resting place

I am not sure what caused this ponderosa pine node to fall. I saw it and similar new growth lying on the duff along the Benham Falls trail last week near Bend, Oregon. I so often have questions about natural phenomena I see on my hikes especially in the fields of geology or botany and never learn the answers. I shift my focus onto the aesthetic aspect of the object at hand and let it take my thoughts.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Yesterday I spied three mule deer not far from my house in Bend, Oregon. This isn't unusual here the since urban growth boundary has been pushed increasingly into wildlife habitat which contain scent trails that have been used for centuries. I am not here to debate whether the deer population has increased or decreased over the past years. The subject becomes unpleasant especially when talking to hunting enthusiasts or local farmers who allege their crops are almost purposefully munched. In any case, having originally been raised in the heart of the city of Chicago and then transplanted to the suburbs of Southern California in my youth, meant that seeing deer was an awe-inspiring event. Only after moving to Oregon in my early twenties and living in rural areas did this experience become almost commonplace. Nonetheless, there is still something so special about these innocent ungulates. I observed their behavior for hours when I worked on fire lookouts many years ago and learned much of their gentle personality. Seeing these few still brings me joy and reminds me of a world that once existed before there were so many of us.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Good Morning

I have been away from Bend, Oregon, for over a week and returned late last night from visiting San Diego, Chicago and Pittsburgh. I took many photographs of these locales and may enjoy posting them at a later date in another venue but for now I want to stick to my resolve of showing pictures specific to my community.
As I arose this morning, I watched the sun rise over the high desert sky and was gladdened to be back home in Oregon, a place to live that offers its residents such a myriad of diverse climactic zones and open spaces.
This state has, of course, its share of the blight of tasteless suburban sprawl which is so sadly common throughout America, but it is relatively sparse, geographically limited, and easily es- capable. Today in a matter of moments, I can step outside and see the jagged, now snow-white mountains, the thick pine forests or the open plains and be awestruck by the glitter of pulsating luminescent sparks bouncing off these vistas of grandeur. Lingering are the memories of airports, hotels, towns and distant people, but these are fading. In the light of this brilliant morning of this new day, I am recreated and home again.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

In the Badlands

It is early in the morning at the airport in Portland, Oregon, and have some time between flights to post for Bend, Oregon, Daily Photo. As promised, I wanted to show some of the landscape of the recently established Badlands Wilderness Area which is 17 miles east of Bend, Oregon. One of several hiking trails lead to Flatiron Rock, a peculiar geologic formation of cooled molten lava piled high off the desert floor. Here I found many natural treasures. Along the path there are numerous caves and fissures to explore. I sought to find drawings from early natives but came up empty-handed. Instead I was treated to seeing unusual crystal formations created from dripping water, colorful green and orange lichen, and, of course, in the process disturbed lots of small scurrying things, primarily lizards and voles. In the above photo, I shot a picture of the many windows and arches that adorn this remarkable place. It is an easy flat walk of about an hour to this spot but, oddly enough, is sparsely visited. I have a new place to bring guests who love the outdoors. It is a place that will be remembered, I assure you.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Home on the range?

On several previous posts I have mentioned that Bend, Oregon, is located in Central Oregon on the high desert. The above photo, taken this weekend on a hike to the Badlands Wilderness area 17 miles East of Bend, gives a fairly good representation of the countryside lying in the rain shadow of the Cascade Mountain range. The trees that flourish in this semi-arid environment are junipers. They are generally short, with tough gnarly bark, rough light green needle-like or scale-like leaves and aromatic inedible blue berries. The soil is composed of pumice, lava and igneous rock and is the remnants of the huge explosion and fiery flow from the remains of Mt. Mazama 90 miles away, which is the site of present day Crater Lake.
There are many fascinating rock formations and caves in this location, which I hope to show in a subsequent post. I may be able to share one tomorrow, but if not, I will not be back in town until a week from Wednesday.