|Rapids and fall colors|
The Metolius emerges from a spectacular spring that gushes mightily up from the ground. It then winds through a steep, narrow canyon lined with stately Ponderosa Pines. Located east of the Cascades, sparse undergrowth contrasts starkly with the lush green forests just over the pass.
|Metolius River ducks under a bridge|
Not sure exactly where to catch the best colors, I followed the main Forest Service road to Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery. I wasn't really interested in seeing any fish - but there was parking and a restroom here.
|Bridge to the Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery|
After the extravaganza of color at Clear Lake, autumn foliage along the Metolius was kind of a letdown. I spied a small patch of golden bushes lining the river, but that was about it.
|Eerie blue water under the bridge|
However, churning blue rapids of the Metolius really stole the show. The water was an eerie aqua blue color under the fish hatchery bridge.
|Wonderful churning rapids|
Instead of leaves, I took more photos of moving water. (But some golden colors managed to get into a few frames)
|A very photogenic river|
The Metolius is a very photogenic river. It's rapids twist and writhe, creating interesting current patterns. And the turbulent water is an enchanting pale blue.
|Lone fly fisherman|
After spending some time near the fish hatchery, I drove further upriver in search of more fall color. The river here is lined with a few Forest Service campgrounds. Although most were already closed for the winter, I was able to park at Lower Bridge Campground, which appeared to still be open.
What a beautiful place to pitch a tent! Several sites were located right on the river with marvelous views. I was surprised to see no one camping here. I've totally bookmarked this campground for a return trip next summer.
But on this lovely autumn day, the place was deserted, save for a couple of fly fisherman and a friendly lizard.
|At Lower Bridge Campground|
Walking along the riverbank, I came upon a few more brightly hued bushes. They contrasted nicely with the Ponderosa pine trunks and cloudless blue sky.
|I could stay here all day!|
I could've stayed here the rest of the day, soaking in the sunshine and enjoying the peaceful sound of rushing water. But my parents were due in Bend by dinnertime, and I didn't want to keep them waiting. So I clicked my shutter one final time in a feeble attempt to capture a wonderful fall afternoon beside this beautiful river.