I'll share my photos and more details of our orchestra trip soon, but meanwhile, my friend Todd, who used to live over there, emailed me this list of places to visit on our next trip over the mountains. Some places I'd heard of, others were new to me. All of these include his own comments, except for the info about rock collecting, which may have come from some unknown website.
Here are Todd's suggestions for our next trip to Central Oregon:
This is a quirky strange rockery that celebrates America and various landmarks. It was mostly built during the 30’s -50’s
Smith Rock State Park
This is very beautiful to look at and hike around. It is also a rock climbing Mecca so if you do any climbing you will love it. http://www.oregonstateparks.org/images/pdf/smith_full.pdf
Lava Tubes & Ice Caves
Lava river caves
They actually only let you in one of the caves due to collapses in the past but I have sneaked into the blocked off cave once in the middle of the winter. It is fun but there are not any stalactites or stalagmites it is far too recent geologically speaking for that to have occurred yet. There is a day use fee… http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/centraloregon/newberrynvm/interest-lavariver.shtml
There are about 12 various lava tubes and ice caves out China Hat Rd. I have been to most of them; however they may not be labeled from the road anymore due to vandalism. If you stop at a ranger station in the bend area they should be able tell you how to get there. But you will need your own ropes and lanterns. http://blog.oregonlive.com/terryrichard/2008/01/lava_caves_show_off_bends_dark.html
Lava Lands Visitor Center
It is being redone so I’m not sure how it will be when it opens again, but before it hasd very cool dioramas with rumbling floors and interesting lighting and sound EFX.
The High Desert Museum
Pine Mountain Observatory
Agates and Jasper -
Oregon’s state gemstone.In color, the gems range from water clear to pale yellow, soft pink, and blood red to deep blue and green. Oregon sunstones are a rare type of feldspar crystal that is of gem grade and large enough to cut stones for jewelry. Found in Lake and Harney Counties, where they are dug from the soil and the underlying lava flows. It may be collected on Bureau of Land Management, (BLM) land and fee sites near Lakeview, but collecting on mining claims is prohibited.
- Pam's note: I have seen earrings made out of sunstone and they remind me of tourmaline. The sunstone used in the earrings is a cloudy tomato red at one end and flecked deep amber gold at the other end. As the color changes from red to amber, the cloudiness changes to crystaline and all the copper colored flecks sparkle within. They're very striking.
Beads courtesy of Mcfarland Designs