Sunday, February 24, 2013

Geo 365: Feb. 24, Day 55: Oregon Outback Scenic Byway

Cheating a bit on this one: no actual rocks and/or landscapes. However, this was new to me- they (whoever "they" are) have designated a stretch of US Route 395 and OR Route 31 from Lakeview to La Pine as the Oregon Outback Scenic Byway. Now personally, I consider Oregon's "Outback," named after Australia's Outback in terms of it's dessication, remoteness, and relative lack of residents, as east from Abert Rim to the Oregon-Idaho border. So, in a way, this drive skirts the western edge. The problem with the interior is that the roads are rarely paved, and often not much more than tracks. As noted, there are few residents and towns, and it's dry. So it's probably wise to not lure naive tourists out into a remote area that's going to kill off a portion of them. This route is not "busy" or "heavily traveled," but the road is in good shape, the traffic is moderate but frequent and steady, and there are frequent communities where one can gas up or get supplies. Engine problems will not kill you, just inconvenience you.

And the geology *is* quite wonderful.

The above photo was taken at the Summer Lake Rest Area, and is signage at the same stop from which I took yesterday's photo of Winter Rim. Dana and I were both very amused that a previous visitor had struck out "pushed together" and written in "pulled apart," to correct the mistake on the regional geology. Despite the mistake, I was pretty impressed with the number and quality of the interpretive signs scattered around the rest area. Of the various stops along the Byway, we stopped at only this one and at Fort Rock. I think it would be fun to systematically stop at each of the locations marked on the sign below. I'm often less than impressed by these sorts of interpretive efforts, but by and large, I was quite happy with what I saw here.
Rather than following 31, then back-tracking to Fort Rock, we took the marked but unlabeled road between Christmas Valley and Silver Lake, which allowed a stop at Table Rock. Table Rock will be the subject for at least the beginning of the upcoming week.

Photo unmodified. August 20, 2011. FlashEarth location.

1 comment:

Lyle said...

I found a coffee table type book with lots of pictures of the Owhee region of Oregon, ID, That is the Oregon outbacks outback. Magnificent exposures of lava and nice river canyons. Of course you need an atv or 4 wheel drive to see the sights out here. Jordan Valley, Or is the big town on US 95 which is about the only paved road in the area. But once again magnificent geology well exposed due to no annoying trees and the like.