The Pacific Northwest – One Year of Exploration

by Robert Bush: January 7, 2018

It has been just over one year since we moved to Bend, Oregon.  It seems as though we have barely been able to scratch the surface in our efforts to visit the beautiful Northwest.  But, upon reflection at the end of the year, we were fortunate enough to visit some pretty amazing places in just twelve months.  Here are a few photos of some of the places we were able to visit.


The culmination of the year was a trip in October  to the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia.  The Rainforest is the largest temperate rainforest in the world, stretching from the Olympic Peninsula in Washington to Alaska.  It is the home of salmon filled streams, waterways filled with humpback whales and orcas, grizzly bears, black bears, eagles and the rare Kermode white “spirit bear” – a rare subspecies of the American black bear.  There are no more than 500 of these bears and so we were lucky to see a few.

The rainforest is filled with untouched old growth forests of sitka spruce and ceder as well, with mosses, ferns and lichens.

I invite you to look at the video I made of this area which you can get to here.   You can also look at a few more photos at my website.

The black bear in the photo below  is sitting under a lichen commonly referred to a Old Man’s Beard or Methuselah’s Beard lichen.  It is considered the longest lichen in the world.  Since it is very sensitive to air pollution and will not grow near any air pollution, it is a good indication of the remoteness of this region of the world.

The other photo is of a “spirit bear.”  This one is standing in kelp near the water and beneath a tree covered with roots.






The Olympic National Park, about a seven hour drive from Bend, contains beautiful old growth forests as well as spectacular beaches.








The Columbia River Gorge is another place that I have always wanted to visit – and finally was able to spend a few days there.  I am looking forward to going back – and hoping that this summer’s fire did not cause irreparable harm.  This image is of one of the many beautiful falls in the Gorge, Wahclella Falls.


The Palouse is a 10,000 square mile wheat growing farmland encompassing parts of southeastern Washington, north central Idaho and Northeast Oregon.  Its rolling hills are a magnet for photographers.



Only a few hour drive from Bend are the Painted Hills, which is part of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.  Although the Painted Hills themselves may the most spectacular- and most photographed –  part of this National Monument, the entire area is filled with rushing streams and stark and beautiful landscapes – as well as the location of extensive desposits of well-preserved fossils from various periods spanning more than 40 million years.




You don’t have to travel far from Bend to find yourself in beautiful areas.  Between the long and late winter, and the fires of the summer, we were unable to explore many of the lakes and waterfalls in the nearby Cascades.  But what we did see was magnificent.

  Smith Rock                             


The Metolius River

The Metolius River emerges from a spring at the base of Black Butte, which is about 30 miles north of Bend.  This photo was taken last winter when it was very cold.  The water vapor is created when the relatively warmer air rising from the water meets the frigid (9 degree) air above the water.


Central Oregon High Desert

This frozen irrigation is on high desert ranch land about an hour and a half southeast of Bend.


[©Robert Bush.  All images are copyrighted and all rights are reserved.  Please contact me if you would like to use any of these images for commercial or other purposes.]