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Along the McKenzie River and scenic Highway 242 in the Oregon Cascades on a crisp day, one of season's last opportunities to see the area in fall dress.

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Highway 242

Shoot Date: 10-25-2008

 

Bright fall foliage seems afire along the banks of the McKenzie River east of Vida.

 

View of the river with bright splashes of seasonal color.  We saw several
kayakers negotiating rapids, and at the beginning of our journey, a drift
boat on the morning-fogged waters just outside Springfield.

 

The only pictures I'd seen of Highway 242 were of the lava beds at the summit,
so I was pleasantly surprised to find that most of the journey is through quiet,
beautiful forest.  The bursts of yellow are the native vine maples putting on
their best show.

 

Surrounded by lush forest, it's easy to forget that this area,
like almost all of Oregon, is volcanic.  But every so often
you'll see the signs, like this towering slope of stone.

 

Just above the forested road, the trail to Proxy Falls wanders through this
otherworldly landscape of lava boulders, with a few small--and very bright--
vine maples making a brave stand in tiny pockets of soil.

 

Red and yellow vine maple sprouting seemingly from sheer rock.

 

The trail leads upward, and you begin to see small bits of moss on the rocks.

 

These particular vine maples looked almost like they'd been spray painted,
with the sections of leaf most oriented toward the sun turning red.
 

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