Saturday, January 7, 2012

Bonus Footage: New Year’s Eve (Day)

What did I do for New Year’s Eve?  Absolutely nothing – I was in bed by 8:30.  But, once I tell you what I did for New Year’s Eve Day, you’ll totally understand.

We (the FB, the FC and I) got up at 5:30 on New Year’s Eve Day and we went over the rivers and through the woods to Central Oregon.  No, really, the highway we took, Highway 20, is called the Over the Rivers and Through the Woods Scenic Byway.  It starts in the Willamette Valley, where I live, and goes along the Santiam River, through moss-covered forests and the Cascade Mountains.

The snowy Cascade Mountains, I might add:

It rained heavily in the valley the week before New Years, which meant heavy snows in the mountains:

This is Mt. Washington:

This is a mountain lake I can’t recall the name of:

Our destination this cold, clear morning was Smith Rock.

This is Smith Rock:

It doesn’t look like much from the parking lot, does it?  As it turns out, it’s a whole lot.  We hiked up the steep (i.e. dangerous) east side of the rock.  I didn’t take very many pictures because I’m afraid of heights and was too scared to look up, much less take pictures.  But, I did get a couple.

This is from the beginning of our ascent:

You’ll notice there are some steps.  They didn’t do this to be nice.  They did this because it’s so steep you can’t get up there without steps or climbing equipment.  And, I’d like to point out that the steps were icy – not fun if you’re afraid of heights.

And this is farther up, but still not at the top:

But, once we got up there, the view was amazing.  I think it made it all worth it.

This is to the south (I think.  I'm not a Girl Scout and have no natural sense of direction.):

And here is a photo to the east:

The mountains in the middle are The Three Sisters.  The ones to the right and left (north and south?) I can’t remember.

After we got to the top, we ate lunch and then headed to the northwest side of the rock to begin our descent.  The hike down was far less harrowing than the hike up.  The incline was gentler and there were no icy steps to contend with. 

This is Monkey Rock.  If you squint your eyes, it looks sort of like the head of a monkey.  We started our descent way up there:

It really didn’t take us much time to get down, but, after that it was a long hike (a couple of hours, at least) all the way around the rock and back to our car.  Happily, once we made it down, it was relatively flat and there was plenty of time for sightseeing that wasn’t accompanied by nausea and under-the-breath cursing.

One amazing thing about Smith Rock is the rock climbers:

In addition to the rock climbers, the rock formations are very cool.  I thought this one looked like the Sphinx:

I love the verdigris color of these cliffs:

And the window in these cliffs:

It was a clear, beautiful day and a fabulous trip.  But, by the time we made it back over the rivers and through the woods we were all exhausted (3 hours each way).  We ate, showered and, as I said, were in bed by 8:30.  I did wake up at midnight due to a neighbor’s impressively loud fireworks display, but only long enough to mumble something along the lines of “Mmmph… fire… works” before falling back to sleep.

I hope everyone else’s New Years was just as fabulous,