Soon after leaving the national park surrounding Crater Lake, I entered Mt. Thielsen wilderness. The mountain was exceedingly picturesque. The tall spire-like peak was surrounded by highlights the snow that survived into late summer.
Just a few miles north of Mt. Thielsen, I came across a flock handsome birds caller Clark's Nutcrackers. They are similar in build to crows but have a coat of grey and blue feathers. The flock of 20 or so followed the trail along side me for a couple of miles, darting from tree to tree.
As days passed and I worked my way further north, the terrain shifted into gentle slopes with a patchwork of lakes. There seemed to be decently sized lake every couple of miles along the trail in Central Oregon. They replaced the mountain streams and creeks I had gotten used to in California. Most of the lakes offered cool and clear water, so finding it hasn't been an issue in almost all of the state.
With the water came more insects, most notably more mosquitoes. While nothing like the mosquitoes I came across in certain areas of Florida, they became a more consistent nuisance. It seems like most other wildlife has become less frequent. I have seen less deer and squirrel and haven't seen any bears or rattlesnakes since California.
After 5 days or so of hiking, I came into Shelter Cove Resort just as night fell. I took the flatter and shorter Oregon Skyline Trail alternate on my way there. It was exceedingly busy when I arrived. Almost every campsite was filled with an RV or boat. It seemed to be a popular spot for fishing.
I had originally planned to wait a whole day there as I had shipped a package to resupply there. However, I had enough food to last me a couple of days so I pushed on after a late morning instead.
After climbing a bit, the familiar terrain of lakes returned. As I got closer to the 3 Sisters Wilderness, the smoke began to lay heavy in the air. I knew that the wildfires would force me off the trail soon.
Fortunately, I have family in the Bend area that were able to pick me up. After spending a few days with them, they generously offered to shuttle me some 60 miles around the fires. I was very grateful of this because there were few alternatives. As I get closer to the Washington border, the terrain is getting more similar to what I had imagine Oregon to be like with dark, green forests. I should be along the shores of the Columbia River shortly.