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Posted on Apr 16, 2015

Grand Finale in the Cascades

For my mom’s last adventure during her visit, we decided to go all out and show her as much beauty as we could in the Cascades.

After making a quick stop at New Morning Bakery for some necessary edible provisions, we set out on our journey.

Along the way, we paid a visit to another covered bridge – Weddle Bridge in Sweet Home.

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Before we knew it, we were deep in the Willamette National Forest and making our first stop in the mountains – Hackleman Old Growth Grove.

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Since Andrew and I have only been there when it was either raining or several feet deep in snow, I was excited to walk the loop with sunny skies overhead. It is always a humbling experience to stand beneath these ancient giants.

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We even saw a few lingering patches of snow as well as the always fascinating shelf fungi.

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(I’m such a sucker for perfect little water droplets – I was very proud of myself for showing some restraint and only snapping a few photos.)

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Next up, we visited Clear Lake, which – you guessed it – is astoundingly clear. I don’t think I’ve ever seen water so transparent – it is undoubtedly the exact definition of ‘crystal clear.’ We couldn’t get over the rich colors, a result of diverse life underneath and the reflection of a gorgeous sky above.

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Just look at that clarity – I’m still amazed even as I type this!

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From there, we set out for Koosah Falls, where we admired the thunderous sheets of water plummeting down, down, down .

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Less than a mile from the falls, we stopped at Carmen Reservoir and spread our picnic blanket.

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Sheltered from any wind, our little picnic spot proved to be a fantastic place to bask in the sun while we dined on tabbouli and pasta salad from the bakery.

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For dessert, we all shared a pecan sticky bun and an orange walnut butterhorn – basically a giant, delicious pastry slathered in citrus frosting that will become your new favorite treat.

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Sasha was our canine escort for the day and enjoyed a little lunch of dog treats before she too sat back to soak up the sun.

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The local avian residents drifting by in the reservoir made sure to put on an entertaining show for us.

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We managed to pick ourselves up from the sunny little shore and get back in the car so we could check out Sahalie Falls.

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We walked around to the top of the falls to see where the river transforms from a smooth, shiny flow to a gushing torrent.

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After we departed the falls, we ventured from the Willamette National Forest and into the Deschutes National Forest. We drove to Camp Sherman where we saw the headwaters of the Metolius River.

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It was incredible to think that so much water just springs up from the ground (in the photo above) to continue on, providing a source of life to flora and fauna.

To close out our adventure, we drove into the quaint little town of Sisters for a good view of the mountains. Such an amazing site to see!

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The town was beyond charming and I can’t wait to return and properly explore all the adorable little shops and cafes.

It was a very full day and I loved sharing every minute of it with my mom. Now, to get my dad back out here so he can experience it, too!

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