Monday, October 17, 2011

Paulina Lake - Newberry Crater, OR

Last weekend I jumped at the chance to take a road trip around Central Oregon. My first proposed stop was a visit to The Newberry Crater Volcanic Monument just south of Bend, OR. The crater is actually a 17 mile wide caldera of a 500sq mile super volcano that once covered a large chunk of Central Oregon.

It was dark and as we drove up the crater to get to Paulina Lake in search of somewhere to camp we realized that the landscape around us was changing and before we knew it there was frost and snow to greet us. It was COLD! Thank god for 0 degree down sleeping bags! The weather was calm though so there was no chill breeze freezing us while we took night photos.

Paulina Peak over Paulina Lake at Sunrise
Paulina Lake at Sunrise
At sunrise the next morning we were talking with a few fishermen who said that East Lake (Paulina Lake's sister lake within the crater) was stocked with Atlantic Salmon, it seems odd to me, but it might be the sort of fact that a fisherman might like ot know before they head up.

We went in October and didn't see anyone aside from a couple of guys with little fishing boats. The bathrooms and dumpsters were locked, as was the gate to the top of Paulina Peak.Plan accordingly for seasonal closures.








If you're in the area and the roads are free from snow it is definitely worth seeing. Also don't miss the obsidian flow, it's a 50ft thick glassy patch of lava that covers nearly a square mile in the crater. There are also hot springs, ice caves, several camping areas and a waterfall all nearby.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Autumn Adventure

There's a chill in the air that motivates me to put on my hiking boots a brightly colored scarf and venture out into the mountains. The warm inviting colors in the trees and the smell of the damp earth call to me almost more urgently than the first signs of summer do. Right now I'm sitting chained to a desk, working my butt off but in the next two weeks I am determined to show you some fall colors and drip my aching bones into a nice warm soak.
The change in seasons comes and goes quickly in the northwest and winter will be here soon so these few weeks while the autumn shaded leaves are still on the tress is a magical time.
Get out and enjoy it if you can, it will be gone before you know it!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Hello Milkyway

Saturday night I went out to Dee Wright Observatory which is the highest point on Mackenzie Pass to watch the meteor shower and shoot the milkyway. It was cold and breezy and I was beat from a day of hiking around Clear Lake & Proxy Falls. I snapped a few shots and came up with one I liked:It's definitely best viewed on black.
If your monitor is calibrated properly you should be able to see the Sisters in the foreground. Here at work I'm not able to make them out unfortunately.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Kirkham Hot Spring - Lowman Idaho

Kirkham Hot Spring is located just outside of Lowman, ID on the scenic South Fork of the Payette River. The pools and waterfalls are visible from Highway 21. There is a campground at the spring that is usually packed. Expect to be sharing your soak!


The campground does have picnic tables and pit toilets. It opens officially on May 20th and has a camp host on site, so behave yourselves! There is a small camping fee and a $5 parking fee during peak seasons.

This is a high visibility soak and swimsuits are required. If you aren't looking to get into the pools or stand under one of the many hot waterfalls cascading down the hillside there is also a short interpretive trail about the eco-system.
Please be respectful of the area and pack out any trash that you find. Leave the springs looking better than when you arrived to ensure their beauty for the next visitors.















Monday, June 13, 2011

Mudslide Leavenworth - It Happened Again


Mother Nature strikes again, Icicle Creek in Leavenworth again is her target.

I had been planning to post a blog for about a week announcing that they had cleared the massive early spring mudslide on Upper Icicle Road. They accomplished this feat in a single work day back in May and were just waiting to repave the road. Unfortunately I waited too long and it has happened again.

On June 11th yet another slide came down from the saturated hills and blocked the road, this time trapping about 30 campers and recreational users above the slide. The slide remained unstable through the night and the campers, hikers, and climbers were forced to wait until the next day when crews were able to bring in heavy machinery and create a narrow path for cars to drive out through.

Icicle Road remains closed at 8 Mile Road until further notice. Officials expect more slide activity before the area dries out for the summer. Keep checking back here as I will post updates as they become available to me.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

At-Vantage; subtitle: Fail Trip.

Vantage (aka Frenchman's Coulee) is a great poor weather destination located in the middle of Washington state. It's almost equidistant from Spokane (140mi) and Seattle (145mi) so it's also a good place to meet up with my west side friends. The winter are mild, and it is usually dry when Seattle or Spokane are being dumped on.

Initially I was going to post a trip report on my visit a few weeks ago but due to a cold, a bad hangover and a sand storm I really have nothing interesting to share aside from a couple of short routes and a visit to Blustery's for their famous Logger Burger (oh and shakes that are to die for!). So in lieu of a complete trip report I figured I'd take my standard approach and just show you some pretty pictures.

(As always, clicking on the photos will take you to a variety of different and interesting outside links)



Sunshine Wall







Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Mudslide - Leavenworth, WA












Generally when you think Leavenworth, WA you think of one of two things. Either the gaudy Bavarian theme that the entire town prides itself on, or the world class granite boulders, sport climbing, and trad Leavenworth has to offer.









Unfortunately if you are planning on climbing in Icicle Canyon this year be prepared to be stopped short of several popular areas. This is the scene that greeted us this weekend after a landslide covered a 1/4 mile stretch of Forest Road 76 (Best known as Icicle Creek Road) just upstream from 8 mile campground. Several campgrounds, trailheads (Stuart Lake & The Enchantments) and the upper put-ins for kayaking the icicle are all effected.








Mother Nature has greatly reshaped the landscape by adding some extra trees, giant boulders and tons of mud to the crucial road. For the foreseeable future plan on only having access to climbing and bouldering areas south of 8 Mile Campground along the Icicle. (The slide can be crossed by foot which means that the JY boulders and Carnival Crag are still relatively accessible) Mad Meadows and Forestland along with several other small areas are not effected.

Never fear though, the Tumwater side is clear and mostly dry (the trail to The Beach was wet and snowy but the rocks were free of snow in the landing areas) and Mountain Home will be clear enough to drive up to soon, although we were met by a snowy muddy mess that sent us packing.



Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Searching for Sandstone

Every spring I make a pilgrimage to the desert in search of sunshine and warm sandstone to run my fingers across. This is no small undertaking, it usually results in a 10 day trip to visit as much of this beautiful skin pleasing red stone as I can find.

(To see all of the pics from my adventure click on the photos until you see my portfolio show up)

This year our first climbing stop on the spring 2011 Epic Adventure was St. George, Utah. More specifically we stopped out side of St. George near Leeds to camp at the Red cliffs Campground. It's a long standing favorite place of mine that is managed by the BLM and is just gorgeous. Camping costs $8/night but space is super limited. There's also camping down the road at Quail Creek Reservoir. It's not nearly as scenic but there's a lot more space there.

This shot is from the hike that is north of the camping area at Red Cliffs, it follows a seasonal creek up to a slot canyon. It's shady and pretty and has a few nice swimming holes even.

This next shot is the only one to make the blog post cut from the Green Valley Gap. We had a bit of trouble finding a convenient trail to get into the gap itself but the anchors were everywhere so we decided to rappel in and worry about it later. The rock was solid, the sun was super hot and there wasn't a breeze to be found. We knocked a couple of routes out really quickly and found a nice class IV hike to get out on the gap (in hindsight not everyone in your party was as capable of doing that hike as one might hope and we wont be putting ourselves in that situation again.)
Another object of note is that someone had set up a zipline across the gap which was pretty neat to watch.

We also made a stop at the Black Rock which is an easily accessible TR/Sport area just outside of St. George (About a mile north of the parking for Chuckwalla and Turtle Wall). The rock is basalt columns and it seemed to be very clean and strong. We stuck to the sunny side despite the fact that we forgot out sunscreen and we ended up looking like lobsters. Bring your own sunscreen! We paid $13 for a bottle in a grocery store in St. George, it was crazy!

This is a pic of the Shady Side, I didn't catch the names of this group but they are from SLC and actually knew some people that I knew which was kind of neat.
Jessi was a trooper even though we put her on routes way over her head all week. She probably worked twice as hard as anyone else.
I just included this as a beta photo of the sunny side of the Black Rock area. The routes aren't super tall but there is an abundance of different routes at all different grades. The approach is easy and the rock was nice and warm even if it was still winter time.
On our adventure we found what may be the only mud puddle in Southern Utah and felt the need to drive through it, due to this escapade my Xterra is still red. We all got a laugh out of it, especially when we had it valet parked at the Bellagio, but that story is going to have to wait for the next blog when I cover the Red Rock Rendezvous.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Beacon Double Down Hoe Down 2011

It was a long weekend but I decided I needed to leave the house and clear my mind with some fresh air and the promise of bikers hurling themselves through the air so I hopped on my bike and rode down to the Double Down Hoe Down.
I actually missed a significant portion of the racing but there was plenty to see afterward, here are the results.





The rest of the photos can be seen on my portfolio here: DDHD 2011

Also digital files for use on social networking sites are available with watermarks. Shoot me an email and I'll get you a low-res copy.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Oregon Coast - Florence to Newport

This one is a bit late but the adventure is still fresh in my mind. I wanted to post something nice to look at before I head out for 10 days to the Red Rock Rendezvous.

Joe and I left Eugene and headed westward to Florence, OR. There we spent the evening sleeping in the car at Honeyman Campground I can't attest to the quality of the facilities because we arrived very late and escaped with the sunrise into Florence to find some food and comb the beaches and intertidal zones.

Our first stop of the trip was at the overlook for Heceta Head Lighthouse. We snapped a few shots, checked out the sea lions who were chilling on the rocks below us and then headed to the lighthouse to hike around and we took the free tour.




I love me some tide pools. Anemones are pretty much one of the coolest tide pool creatures ever, I love their colors and I love my waterproof camera.

Next up we cruised up the coast until we came to Stonefield Beach (which was unfortunately closed, it appears the parking area had washed away) but I couldn't resist a beach that I'd never been to before so we pulled over and got out to check it out. It was very pretty and empty since the parking area was non-existent.


Also this was the maiden voyage of the new road trip machine. I'd like to introduce all fo you to the Xterra. I haven't named her yet, nothing has really come to me yet. I'm open to suggestions though. It's not as simple as naming the Subarus, as they basically named themselves. Either way she exceeded our expectations and she'll see many more road trips to come!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Shaniko & Painted Hills, OR




I ran out of town like my hair was on fire on a Friday night to cram in a mini-adventure. The result was a couple of days spent in the cold and snowy Oregon high desert.

I met up with a friend and we ventured around Shaniko ghost town and the Painted Hills Area outside of Mitchell, OR.

It was cold and snowy and windy but it was just what I needed. I was out of town with my camera in hand getting in a little adventure between my weekly stints as a responsible adult.

I'm looking forward to a visit in the spring when the grass is green and the snow has melted.


Also I did a more thorough write up on the trip for a friend's blog so you can check out his site to get a little more information:
Eugene Outdoors

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Big Announcement! (And a pretty picture!)

There's been an absence of new adventures on this site for a while now and that's been because I have been working with a friend to create a new website for my professional photography and it has been eating up a lot of my free time.

I'm finally proud to announce the launch of the new LaDukePhoto.com so if you are looking for an fun and adventurous wedding photographer, or someone to get out and take some pictures of you getting out and enjoying the great outdoors go have a look around and send me a message or give me a ring to set things up!

Now that my sales pitch is done here's a preview of my weekend adventure. I went down to Eugene to meet with my awesome web designer Nate (who also runs Eugene Outdoors) so we could get in some outdoor time in some decent weather and he and Laura decided to give us a grand tour of the Eugene area which included a great breakfast, a trip to Sahalie Falls where I took the photo below, a visit to Clear Lake and a soak in Cougar (Terwilliger) Hot Springs.

The lake and waterfall were a bit cold, seeing as it was snowing and all, and the hot water of Cougar Hot Spring was eagerly awaited but apparently we weren't the only people with that idea. The 5 tiered pools were insanely over crowded with people of all shapes and sizes and tons of smoking teenagers. I'd love to go back sometime when the spring isn't attracting the masses. Maybe a weekday morning if I'm ever down that way mid-week.

After our inland adventure we stuffed ourselves at Sushi Domo (which was fantastic) and then headed toward the coast. I'll have pictures from Florence north to Lincoln City coming up next!

If you'd like to purchase a print of this photo or to see the rest of my waterfall gallery click here.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Biking Oregon

Well, I dug into the archives to bring you another post from the past in my attempt to broaden the horizons of the blog. I'll have some new stuff up soon, I just need to find the time to get out and enjoy an adventure or two.
Pretty much this is just bike porn. Enjoy!

Peter Jantz on a ladder drop at Post Canyon in Hood River, OR.
I'm not sure which trail it's on, it's near the top of Family Man.



This is Mike, he's a cool dude but he's insanely accident prone. He managed to wipe out pretty good on this trip and then not long after hurt himself again and was out of the game for a while.


Dread and Terror section on the North Umpqua Trail, this was easily the most pretty stretch that we rode, unfortunately we didn't get to ride the whole thing. It was early in the season though so we had the whole trail to ourselves.


Step-up jump at Post Canyon. My attempts at panning at this point were pretty mediocre. The colors are nice though.


Evan doing some of his very first log rides at Black Rock, he was definitely a natural. He's also a bad ass photographer, you can check him out at www.evanmoodie.com.

Monday, January 17, 2011

New Year, New Direction

I'm working on some big things for my photography website right now with integration being the goal, so in the spirit of having everything all in one place I'm going to steer the direction of my blog toward being more 'all inclusive' as far as my outdoor adventures go. Climbing is my first love, but what do I do the rest of the time? I mountain bike, hike, camp, road trip, soak in hot springs, white water raft, road bike, etc. So with that said, here goes nothing in my attempt to broaden my blogs adventure horizons.

Last fall I decided to kill two birds with one stone by taking my first overnight backpacking trip to my first undeveloped hot spring. The destination: Stanley Hot Spring.

It took us about 4 hours to get down to the trailhead after a long day at work and a long day of driving we parked and slept in the car for a fresh start in the morning. It was cold and miserable andthe car was a bit cramped. We woke up cranky and were super ready to get on the trail.


(Hey look, it's me!)


The hike starts winding through the giant Wilderness Gateway Campground and rises quickly above the Lochsa river.
Up, up, up, the trail is pretty smooth but at least the first 3/4 of it is all uphill.

Eventually you come to a split in the trail and wind your way down a rocky trail to the banks of boulder creek where we were able to pick our way across by rock hopping in late September. Rumor is though that until after spring run off the crossing is too dangerous to attempt. Be careful!


On the banks of Boulder Creek

A small tributary of Boulder Creek, despite the distance from the spring it had a few little warm spots.
Finally! Stanley Hot Spring, 3+ tiered pools from a 120 degree source that issues from a canyon wall. The top pool is REALLY hot, the largest pool is just right and has space for probably 8 people.

The good soaker, nice hot water, sandy bottom, flat rocks to sit on.


The small version of this photo doesn't really do it justice, but c'est la vie. This was a cold wet little tent where we slept like rocks after our nice long hike. The best thing about waking up cold in the morning was hopping out of the tent, stripping down and diving into the hot spring.
I wasn't going to include this but I figure hey, it's educational. When in Rome and all...
The trail description said that swimwear was 'superfluous baggage' but I brought it anyway, but I didn't feel like being the only prude in the pond so I chose to forgo the swimsuit and bathe au natural.