Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Quiet Spot In Central Oregon

I brought my bike over to Central Oregon during a family vacation, with the intention of doing some riding on this side of the mountains. The ongoing rain in the valley has felt like a water torture lately, and it's nice to be in a place with dry pavement and a bit more sunshine. 

I had the chance to take a short ride from where I’m staying to Cline Falls State Park.  It sits on Highway 126 just a few miles west of Redmond. Although the air had a chill, the light and the warmth of the sun felt amazing. I saw adults and children taking turns casting flies out onto the eddies of the Deschutes, sure to be populated with trout. Other folks were out with their cameras, grabbing a few shots of the local waterfowl who seemed to be enjoying the attention. The river is swift and high right now, flowing around and through some of the trees and brush along the banks.
I had read that 35 years ago this quiet little spot was the scene of a horrific assault against a couple of cyclists on a cross-country tour who were camping overnight. The crime was never solved. The cyclists survived but still carry physical and emotional scars from the incident. Being there made me wonder how long it takes for people, places, communities to heal from things like that. I doubt that these cyclists will ever read this post, but as an Oregonian and fellow cyclist, I just want to express my sorrow that this happened to them. I pray for their peace.
I also recall reading that this had been on the list of possible closures due to budget cuts. I wondered if the park gate would be open when I got there. It was, and I was cheerfully greeted by a groundskeeper who was hard at work. I took another look around and saw how clean the whole park was. I found a spot to sit. It was beautiful, and it was peaceful. 

I sat for a while and watched the families who were enjoying their casting, and the ducks and geese who were posing for photographs.
Then I climbed back up the hill the led back to the park gate, with the sense that it's good that this place is open...and healing.

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