The A-to-Zs of Central Oregon: V is for Volcano

  The Newberry Caldera

The Newberry Caldera

This week we are talking about something that has formed Central Oregon, and the Pacific Northwest in general, into the landscape we see today: Volcanoes! From the peaks of our stunning Cascade Mountains down to the Lava Tubes running under our feet, Volcanic Activity is present almost everywhere you look.

  Wanderlust Tours leading a Volcano Tour in the obsidian flows of the Newberry Caldera

Wanderlust Tours leading a Volcano Tour in the obsidian flows of the Newberry Caldera

FORMATION OF THE CASCADES

The Cascade Mountains are a Volcanic Arc that spans from around Mt. Shasta in California up to British Columbia in Canada along the cost. The range was pushed up by a process called subduction. Just off the coast of Oregon is the Juan De Fuca Tectonic Plate. This plate is being pushed under the North American plate by the forces of Plate Tectonics. As it is pushed into the mantle, the material melts and rises to the surface to create the Cascade Volcanoes. 

Volcanic-Formation-Subduction
  The 1980 eruption of Mount St Helens

The 1980 eruption of Mount St Helens

While this is an ancient process that has been on-going since long before human life could witness, that does not mean we cannot see the effects of it in our Modern Life. A great example would be the Mount Saint Helens eruption of 1980. This explosive piece of history teaches us that these geological processes are still happening, and we still have much to learn.

RECREATION AND VOLCANOES

While Mount Saint Helens was a reminder to take warnings seriously, that does not mean every Volcano is ready to blow at any moment. These giants will give us plenty of warning, and offer some amazing recreation opportunities to explore. Here in Bend, we have our choice of quite of view stunning peaks. From the vistas of South Sister's summit to the glistening waters of No Name Lake on Broken Top, down to the Obsidian Flows of Newberry Caldera.

  Hikers on the Summit of South Sister

Hikers on the Summit of South Sister

  Volcanic glass, or obsidian, in Newberry Caldera

Volcanic glass, or obsidian, in Newberry Caldera

The Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway is a great way to experience the Volcanic Peaks. Drive up the mountains, past countless mountain lakes, and through the great peaks of Central Oregon. Take your kayak, paddleboard, or canoe and hit the water. Those who get on the water will enjoy the clear lakes, stunning views, and abundance of wildlife. Better yet, join Wanderlust on a Brews, Views, and Canoes Tour. You will get to enjoy the beauty of the Cascade Lakes, learn about the Volcanoes, and experience a beer tasting all in the same afternoon.

A more Volcano-centric tour we offer is our Volcano Tour. This tour focuses on Newberry Caldera, the center of the Newberry Volcanic System. Check out our Volcano Tour Page for more information!

Fall Activities in Central Oregon

With the newfound chill in the air and the slight turn of the leaves, it's clear: Autumn is nearly upon us! It's time for getting outside in the last days of the warm weather and making seasonal plans.

While it may seem like Central Oregon isn't the most obvious autumnal destination (let's face it: we're no New England when it comes to leaf-peeping), you'd be surprised at how many delightful, quintessentially "autumn" activities there are around here! To celebrate the coming season, we've come up with some great suggestions of how to take advantage of autumn in Central Oregon.

1. Fall Foliage Photography Tours

  Photo by  Mike Putnam .

Photo by Mike Putnam.

Okay, yes, Central Oregon is a relatively arid climate, more suited to twisted junipers than the iconic deciduous trees that give those stunning autumn colors. However, if you know where to look, there are plenty of great spots for admiring the fall leaves! Join Mike Putnam, one of Bend's most celebrated photographers, in seeking out the most fantastic fall foliage in the area to capture on camera


2. Pumpkin Picking & Corn Maze at Smith Rock Ranch

  Photo from  Smith Rock Ranch .

Photo from Smith Rock Ranch.

What's more autumnal than a pumpkin patch? Well, a pumpkin patch next to a corn maze, of course! Smith Rock Ranch is situated right next to the gorgeous, iconic Smith Rock State Park. Pick pumpkins in style, with a magnificent view of this breathtaking geological site! Afterward, take a crack at their corn maze. This is a great activity for the whole family! 


3. Fall Festival in Bend, Oct 5-7, 2018

  Photos from  Bend Fall Fest .

Photos from Bend Fall Fest.

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This year, downtown Bend, Oregon will be a Fiesta of Fall! Chomp on locally-grown apples, get your face painted, carve pumpkins, and take a gander at all the amazing goods for sale from talented locals! Later in the evening, there will be music on a few separate stages, and delicious beer from local breweries will be available throughout all three days. 


4. Sipping Delicious, Locally-Crafted Warm Beverages

Coffee-Bend-Oregon-Autumn

Coffee? Hot Cider? Hot chocolate (with a little Crater Lake Hazelnut Espresso Vodka)? YES PLEASE! Check out Thump Coffee for delicious coffee in downtown Bend. Stop by the Crater Lake Spirits Tasting Room downtown, and pick up some of their delicious spirits for your warm drinks! 


5. Canoeing? Canoeing! 

Deschutes-River-Canoe-Tours-Fall

Did you know we run our canoe tours well into October? We head up to the Cascade Lakes as long into the season as we can, but in the autumn we run our canoe tours out on the gorgeous Deschutes River! Join us out on the water for the last of the good paddling in the season. Call our office for more information about the River Canoe Tour! 


The A-to-Zs of Central Oregon: U is for UMPQUA

  Umpqua National Forest. Photo by Justin Hartney.

Umpqua National Forest. Photo by Justin Hartney.

If you live in Oregon, there's no doubt you've seen the name: Umpqua! According to The Oregon Encyclopedia, the name "Umpqua" derives from the Native American term for "place along the river." Other theories are that Umpqua may mean "thundering water," "dancing water," or to "bring across the river."

THE PEOPLE

In the early 1800s, fur traders working for the still-existent Hudson's Bay Company were the first non-natives encountered by the Umpqua and other Oregon native peoples. 

Tragically, the Umpqua suffered greatly from a smallpox epidemic in 1838, which wiped out huge numbers of their population. 

The Umpqua people are a combination of several different tribes inhabiting the present-day Oregon area. Today, the Umpqua people are comprised of the Cow Creek Tribe, the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua Tribe, and the Siuslaw Indians.

  Drawing of an Umpqua man, by  Alred Thomas Agate .

Drawing of an Umpqua man, by Alred Thomas Agate.

  North Umpqua River. Photo by Renee Seeker. 

North Umpqua River. Photo by Renee Seeker. 

The Umpqua has two main tributaries, aptly named the North Umpqua River and the South Umpqua River.

Both forks rise in the Southern Oregon Cascades, and flow generally west for over 100 miles to join together near the city of Roseburg.

  Toketee Falls in Umpqua National Forest, by  Sights Better Seen . 

Toketee Falls in Umpqua National Forest, by Sights Better Seen

The North Umpqua (pictured above) is famous for its emerald hue. 

The North Umpqua is derived from the year's snowmelt. The melting snow is trapped in volcanic soil and pumice, and released during the summer months, resulting in consistently cooler temperatures.

During the summer the flow of the river is approximately 20 times that of the nearby South Umpqua.

THE RIVER

A British explorer named the river "Umpqua" in 1825 after hearing the term used among the local tribes in the region. 

Today, the Umpqua River is known to have some of the world's best fly-fishing, salmon fishing, and sturgeon fishing. The river is famous for its small-mouth bass, striped bass, and shad population. 

  The Umpqua River. Photo from  Fishing the Klamath . 

The Umpqua River. Photo from Fishing the Klamath

There are many other attractions along the river, like the Umpqua Hot Springs, and Toketee Falls within the National Forest. 

  Umpqua Hot Springs, by  The Outdoor Project .

Umpqua Hot Springs, by The Outdoor Project.

  Umpqua National Forest. Photo from the  USDA website .

Umpqua National Forest. Photo from the USDA website.

THE NATIONAL FOREST

There's the 983,129-acre national forest just southeast of Central Oregon. It shares a border with our beloved Crater Lake National Park! This national forest has tons of great attractions within its borders, and is home to over 250 wildlife species! 

  Pine Marten in Umpqua National Forest. Photo by  Armchair Explorer . 

Pine Marten in Umpqua National Forest. Photo by Armchair Explorer

The Umpqua National Forest has three different Wilderness areas: Boulder Creek Wilderness, Mount Thielsen Wilderness, and the Rogue Umpqua Divide Wilderness. 

  Photo from  Ashland Daily Photo . 

MOUNT THIELSEN

Mount Thielsen Wilderness is 26, 593 acres, was carved by glaciers, and contains the 9,182-foot-tall Mount Thielsen. The pointy jagged summit is commonly referred to as the "Lightning Rod of the Cascades” due to frequent lighting strikes.

The frequent lighting strikes have resulted in a mass of fulgurites (glassy rock) to form on the top 10 feet of Mount Thielsen's peak. The lighting literally melts the surface of the rock to leave a glassy sheen! 

  Soda Springs, in the Boulder Creek Wilderness of the Umpqua National Forest. Photo from the  USFS . 

Soda Springs, in the Boulder Creek Wilderness of the Umpqua National Forest. Photo from the USFS

The name "Umpqua" can be found all throughout Oregon, but perhaps the tastiest namesake is the delicious local ice cream!