Bubbling out of the ground in the shadow of nearby Black Butte, the Metolius River winds through Central Oregon directly east of the Cascade mountain range until joining the Deschutes River at Lake Billy Chinook. Designated a wild and scenic river, it's a popular place for photographers, especially in the fall.
|The Metolius River in early October|
|Wizard Falls on the Metolius|
However, I got a second chance to photograph the Metolius. In late October, I spent 10 days in Central Oregon, doggy-sitting for my daughter. Because my grand-puppies didn't require constant attention, I was free to explore the nearby trails. One of the places on my list was to revisit the Metolius River. So, now in Central Oregon once again, it was time to see if the leaf color had progressed any.
|The same spot three weeks later in early morning shade|
I headed out on a chilly morning and was delighted to discover the bushes lining the Metolius now decked out in vibrant yellows and reds. The only problem - it was so early in the morning that the river itself was still in shade. Lack of sunlight meant it's unique aqua-blue color wasn't very prominent. But because I was there, I snapped some images anyway.
|Another early morning shot from the bridge|
I'd have to wait for the sun to crest over the tall trees to get my river lighting. To pass the time and warm myself up, I decided to take a hike along this lovely river. Trails lined both sides of the Metolius, stretching both up and downriver. I chose to head upriver from the Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery.
|Sunny spot along the river|
The first 11 miles of this lovely river are open for recreation, mainly fly fishing, hiking, and rafting. The lower 17 miles flow through the Warm Springs Reservation, where public access is difficult or nonexistent. The upper portion of the Metolius is lined with thick forests of pine, cedar and fir, along with numerous other bushes. The vegetation makes a lovely backdrop to this super-clear mountain stream.
Although much of the adjacent forest was coniferous, the bushes and plant understory was a riot of color. One area was covered with ferns, all a lovely shade of gold.
With all this beauty, hiking progress was mighty slow. My only problem was finding a clear enough spot to get down to the water. But I managed to find access via numerous fishing trails.
I hiked as far as Metolius Spring, where several clusters of springs gushed from the banks, creating this beautiful river. Having hiked about 2.5 miles in distance from Wizard Falls, it was time to turn around and see if the sun had finally illuminated the river there.
|Red vine maple leaves|
|Multi-colored vine maple|
Upon my return to Wizard Falls, I was delighted to discover the sunlight had made it's way to the river, illuminating nearly the entire width.
|Wizard Falls in midday sun|
|A bit of daylight makes a difference!|
|Lovely spot in autumn|
Enjoy the photos, and happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate!