Sunday, August 22, 2010


Sisters RV Park
 While waited out the arrival of awning parts we drove inland about 170 miles east into the Willamette and Deschutes National Forests to Sisters, Oregon. We had visited Sisters in 1996 and had often talked about a return visit.
Tucked into the Cascade Mountains at about 3,000 feet elevation, Sisters was ideally situated for exploring a number of birding sites mentioned in the Oregon Birding Trail's "Three Sisters Loop", so named for three 10,000-foot volcanic peaks in the Three Sisters Wilderness Area. here we hoped to catch up with some of the higher elevation bird species we had so far missed.

two of the Three Sisters

While the population of Sisters had about doubled since our last visit, the town hadn't lost any of its 1880's western town charm. We stayed in the city owned Sisters City RV Park which put us within easy walking distance of downtown shops and restaurants. While the park didn't accept reservations, we had no trouble getting in. Had we tried a week earlier, however, we wouldn't have been so fortunate. The city had just wrapped up its annual outdoor quilt show, an annual event every second weekend in July.
The Sisters visitor center proved to be a goldmine of local info. Normally, when we ask about a local bird checklist we're invariably told about where to find Bald Eagles. Majestic birds, to be sure, but we're always more interested in finding localized bird species. If you're a birder you know what we mean. So imagine our surprise when the women behind the counter handed us a brochure about White-headed Woodpeckers with specific details about where to find them! She went on to describe in detail other birding hot spots and then, as an added bonus, offered up several good recommendations of local eateries. Two of our greatest passions: local birds and places to eat.

Jenn's Garden

In additon to the visitor center our walkabout took us past a small cottage named "Jenn's Garden". It turned out to be an intimate sized gourmet restaurant. The menu posted on the door looked very tempting. The restaurant wasn't open yet but a woman watering flowers outside invited us in for a look around. She turned out to be our waitperson two days later when we dined at Jenn's. Pricey, to be sure, but oh so worth it! It was a celebration to mark our one-year of full-time RVing. Has it really already been a year?!

lave fields and Dee Wright Observatory

Over the course of the week at Sisters we manged visits to Black Pine Spring (hillside springs and mixed conifer groves surrounded by ponderosa pine), Trout Creek (wet meadow with mixed conifer and manzanita scrub), Indian Ford Meadow (riparian, wetland, and grassland surrounded by pine forest, Indian Ford Campground (mature ponderosa pine forest), Camp Sherman (a small town known for its deli and best place to find White-headed Woodpecker), Calliope Crossing (dense riparian habitat), Big Lake and Hoodoo Area (deep water lake and lodgepole pine forest), and the eerie lava landscape of the Dee Wright Observatory, just to name a few. It was a full week indeed!

Three Lakes and Carol cooling her heels

We took one day to visit the High Desert Museum in Bend. While not very birdy, it showcased sveral detailed living history exhibits (complete with people in period costumes) depicting the area's 1880's frontier life. Another full day was spent hiking in the Three Creek Lake area (glacial alpine lakes with sub-alpine forests and wet meadows).
Upon our return to the coast, Carol routed us to Crater Lake. Partly out of a desire to visit the lake (we had missed doing so in 1996) but also because she had erroneously thought the route we needed to return to the coast was impassable pulling a trailer. It turned out that only a short section of our route was impassable and easily bypassed with a slight detour. However, once reservations were made at the campground at Crater Lake we were committed to go...and glad we did. next up: Crater Lake and out return to the Oregon coast.

wet meadow
 winter in summer

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