The Dechutes River Below the Three Sisters Mountains

D River

I fished the Deschutes River below the Three Sisters mountains. Beautiful country with desert to the East & high mountain country in the West across the river. Just across the river the pines came marching downward, spreading & thinning as they neared the bottom land.

flowing riverThe river was flowing deep, freezing as it carried the snow melt towards the huge Columbia River in the North. So strong was it rushing I could not tell the curious bump of trout from weeds speeding by me. I caught nothing but the rushing nightfall and a quick run back to then toasty warmth of our host’s house and supper freshly caught from the waters.Historically, the Dechutes has been used by Native Americans as a thoroughfare to the Columbia for trading and hunting. Early explorers, French & American, wandered it’s shores in search of beaver. Later John Wayne rode near it in both his movies “True Grit” and “Rooster Cogburn”.
horses
The Sisters mountains are ancient volcano cones long silent. Their summits are normally covered in snow and brightly visible in the summer sun, shimmering and beckoning for scores of miles out upon the Eastern desert.

The desert was very warm in the early July sun just rising high into the Oregon sky. Having sweated long in the hills of Southeastern Oklahoma the cool(ish) air was a respite. The next morning the vehicle windows were covered with a lite layer of ice.

All through the warmth of mid-day passed a steady parade of guests upon the icy waters of the Dechutes. They rode in wide pointed nose wooden boats beating across the waters with oars. Many folk came individually and in pairs riding the long, sleek canoes not that far distant from the Native Americans a millennium past.
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Still more crowded into the large oblong rafts of rubber and tarp. These last were the gay travelers always accompanied by laughing, joyful screams decrying some beautiful scene or just a steady whooping in delight. These voyagers came from across the country, indeed around the world and presented a fascinating river of themselves for my observation.

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