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We left the city of Redmond, going north then along Oregon Route 370 and we found ourselves in a really beautiful valley, between plateaus, by a river, the Crooked River that was having a lot of it's water taken for irrigation. I later found out, by not going along the Ochoco highway, as we had started to the day before, we were saving ourselves the climb to 3200 feet elevation to a high desert plateau (and through a militarized area) and instead we were remaining near 2800 feet, amongst cattle land and depleted forest. At the time, I was puzzled as to what name this valley had, as I saw interesting geology, seen from the vantagepoint of the bicycle. After getting home to Sacramento and researching the subject on the internet I found this area was the northwest corner of the area called the Lower Crooked River Basin part of the Deschutes River Valley ecoregion of the Blue Mountain ecoregion. The geology was interesting as I found this area was the beginning remnant northwest edge of the Crooked River caldera.

We were on our way through Crook County to Prineville. We passed the mouth of the Dry River as it emptied into the Crooked River. I recall saying: "Wow ! That is a dry river !" as I was looking at the dwindled flow and the multiple irrigation canals I saw, way before I knew the given name of the river.

The Crooked River caldera was apparently one of the largest known explosive eruptions on Earth that happened 29.5 million years ago and we were now entering at the northwest corner of a vent. Here was apparently, as I am not a geologist, silicic tuff and rhyolite dome complexes, basalt and basaltic andesite, according to OregonGeology.org. For me, specifically, I saw interesting geologic formations as I bicycled along the valley. I was noting and now have identified Deschutes Formation basalt interlayed with Rattlesnake tuff layers as labeled in this image:

Deschutes Formation olivine-phyric basalt flows and the Rattlesnake ash flow tuff exposed in the Crooked River Canyon south of Prineville (credit to OregonGeology.org)

Buttes capped with basalt.

We entered Prineville, passing many signs saying "Welcome Facebook", then camped near the Ochoco Reservoir, on the Ochoco Creek.

I was puzzled by the "Welcome Facebook" signage, and upon being home, I recalled the vaguely familiar sense I had read about Prineville / Facebook from here: "Facebook to run on Coal!? « It’s Getting Hot In Here" from February 2011, received by me as a Rising Tide North America person, as Facebook's new data center was a hot topic. Such a large user of energy really could make a stance on where their electricity is sourced from, and choose not from burning of coal.

The next day we bicycled east via Route 26 into the Mill Creek Wilderness, part of the Ochoco National Forest. As we left camp we experienced a flat tire then further along the road we had another. This is when we met Thirtysixer, as he paused to see if we needed any assistance, then as quietly sped off, after we exchanged CouchSurfing info: Sky Horne

We camped at the Ochoco Summit (el. 4720 ft.) of the Ochoco Mountains.

Here is a recap of various pictures from Panoramio. Here is a picture of the forboding signage at Cougar Hot Springs "No parking sign, I mile from hot springs." but here is a Panoramio picture of a fair rendition of the Cougar Hot Springs as I saw it on the Summer bicycle trip "Rebuilt Cougar Hot Spring, June 2010"

Here is a fair picture from Panoramio of the Rooster Rock fire "Rooster Rock Fire - Sisters, OR August 2010"

and a beautiful picture of "Three Sisters"


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December 2012
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