Ray Atkeson was the Ansel Adams of Oregon, photographing its places of beauty to inspire people to preserve and protect them. Named the “photographer laureate” of the state, the only person to be so honored, he confessed late in life that he thought the most beautiful vista in all of Oregon was at Sparks Lake at the base of Mt. Batchelor on the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway. When Atkeson died in 1990, at age 83, the people of Oregon erected a roadside marker in his memory at the spot he so loved. Yesterday we drove the Cascade Lakes Byway, a highway of lakes and mountains and endless trees, and stopped at Sparks Lake. It is truly a magnificent place, one of the most beautiful I have ever seen, and this photo doesn’t do it justice. Nevertheless here it is:
In our short time here we’ve noticed some differences between Oregon and California. Oregon has fewer fancy places to eat and seemingly fewer highway signs and good maps than its neighbor to the south, but it also has more of certain things. Here is a short list of what Oregon has more of:
• More trees and greenery.
• “More extremely large insects.” (This, from Jennifer.)
• More chipmunks.
• “More eco-terrorists.” (This, from me. When I said this Jennifer replied, “Oh, I haven’t seen any of those this trip.”)
• More dirt roads.
• More Oregon and Washington license plates. (This, from Gabe.)
• And, for the moment, as the picture below shows, more muscular guys: