Sunday, August 23, 2009

Belknap Springs; Cougar Lake

That fortunate image is of Cougar Lake. Wow! It's not really as pretty as my picture indicates, but it's great to see, regardless. We found it on our drive to Belknap Hot Springs. Belknap is on the McKenzie River, which is COLD, shallow, broad, rushing, and gorgeous. The hotel dates to the late 1800s. They have cabins, RV sites, campsites, and rooms in the lodge. It's kind of a middle-class place but the setting is terrific. There are good hiking trails, and a hidden formal garden that, depending upon your view, is either breathtakingly beautiful or hydrologically fascinating (it channels water from a stream in creative ways). Seriously, that garden is somebody's masterpiece. We drove up the McKenzie Pass, where there is an expansive lava field with scattered dead and live trees framing a fantastic panaroma of the Sisters mountains. Wow. Eat at Takoda's, about 10 miles west of Belknap--it's awesome food and beer, and have you ever seen a living lungfish before?--it practically proves evolution all by itself, but don't eat at the Rusty Skillet or whatever it's called. Don't say I didn't warn you.

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