A good nights rest was much needed after our jam packed days in Crater Lake so no surprise that we didn't get going until about 8 or so. To make the morning even better Linda cooked us some killer waffles with fresh fruit! As we ate we got to talking with her about what she does and how long she has lived in LaPine. One of the things she seemed to enjoy the most was the time she spent volunteering at a chimpanzee sanctuary on the outskirts of Bend once a week. She showed us some photos of the chimps and told us that a majority of them come from the entertainment industry if they're lucky. Then she started to tell us about a place that was about half an hour from her home called Paulina Lake and how we should stop by and at least take some photos.
We decided to check it out and we weren't let down. Thanks Linda! Behind one of the lakes is a mountain top that you can drive up which overlooks the caldera and the two lakes that sit inside of it. We did some epic time lapsing there and flew the quadcopter for a few minutes. We also met quite a few people who were interested in the work we were doing so we handed out some of our business cards in hopes of them looking us up later! Once we wrapped up at Paulina lake we continued on our way out to the Alvord desert.
We greatly underestimated the drive… With only a couple 10 minute stops for gas the drive still took us about 6 or 7 hours and it wasn't an overly beautiful drive either. The roads all the way there were basically flat and straight. (SR 26 anyone?) Nothing to see but smog which we were a little concerned about but figured that it would disappear by the time we got out to the desert since the weather forecast said clear skies.
Sadly it didn't clear and when we got closer to the dried out lake bed we found out why. As we pulled onto Alvord road we started to see a red glow coming from over one of the hills of Mt. Steen. We were a little confused since it was pitch black out and figured that it must have been a fire going on and indeed it was! As we made our way down the 10 mile gravel road we started to see pickups full of firemen and soon we saw the full on fire that was about 5 miles from where were camping.
When we got to the dried out lake bed we set up our tents along with two time lapses. The first one was aimed at a hill that was between us and the fire giving it a red outer glow as well as picking up a few small areas of stars that broke through the smoke. The other camera was pointed at our tents and out into the desert but since there were so many clouds and so much smoke it gave an eerie feel to the time lapse. (Photo below)
Once those finished up at about 12 or 1 we headed to bed excited to see what the desert actually looked like in the morning!
Text By: James Whelan
Photos By: Jake Magraw