The Persona Behind The Lens, With A Glimpse Into Our World.
Photographer: Anita Cross
Photographer Anita Cross & husband "Llama"
Amusing stories of travels throughout Oregon's beautiful–and sometimes not-so-accessible–scenic areas, from the perspective of a not-so-athletic photographer.
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Monday, July 17, 2006

On the trip to and from Prineville we drove by way of Highway 242, perhaps better known as the “old” McKenzie Highway. This “highway” is a two lane winding road, a beautiful scenic drive that is closed in Winter thanks to snow. It has a very colorful history, and was once the only route between Eugene and Sisters.

I got this shot from the top of the observatory on the trip to Prineville.

At the summit of the McKenzie Pass, in the middle of a massive and old lava flow, stands the Dee Wright Observatory. An amazing structure of lava rock and mortar, with a winding blacktop walkway. From the Observatory, you can see an impressive number of mountain peaks throughout the volcanic Cascade Range. On a clear day, you can even see the top of Mount Hood.

The Observatory has two levels: A single room, with windows directed at various peaks, the size of the window only large enough to isolate the one feature; and an open deck with a lava rock pedestal in the center, topped with a large bronze “peak finder,” which points to the various peaks and other geological features within view.

I love this stretch of road, through the lava fields. The stark contrast between the black lava, white sun-bleached trunks of long dead trees and the verdant new growth never fails to touch my soul. I find it hauntingly beautiful… The persistence of life in the face of death and destruction.

Update: You can see these pictures larger by going to my new MySpace Blog, Look for the entry dated July 18, 2006.

1 Response to Highway 242

Draw Markee

Thanks for writing that. You're info is the first real knowlege I have of the old mckenzie hwy, which I am researching. Have a good day :-)

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