As you emerge from the green darkness and marshy forest of native deciduous trees, a meager band of early morning light stretches across a grey sky crowded with dark, heavy clouds. That band of light is a hand reaching down from the sky to touch your soul and uplift your spirit. It invites you to embrace the majesty and serenity of the Oregon-Cascade mountain range and wildlife region. It is nothing ordinary.
The sensation of standing upon the icy peaks of Mount Hood at twelve-thousand feet, of witnessing the Douglas-fir blanketed hills of the Western range, and of visiting the McLoughlin mountains are breathtaking sights, sounds, and surrealities, all of which are outlets to the deeper connection we can feel towards nature.
In this region, nature only exposes herself upon request, respect, and journey. Thereby, if one is here upon no business and merely for the humanistic need for release, nature will liberate herself to you. If one is visiting the Oregon-Cascades for materialistic things, one will see the forest and mountains for what they want to see it and not what is felt when the mind is clear. Only then, when your mind is free of cluttered thought, will you feel the one-on-one connection with nature.
It was this same connection which the Kalapuya Indians felt for thousands of years before European settlers came to this land filled with greed and self-righteousness. The Kalapuya were at peace with the land... But unfortunately, it was not long before the Kalapuya had their roots uplifted and the white man took their place, naked and naive, unknowing of the treasure they happened to settle upon and steal from these stewards of the land.
What was then free and unnamed is now the Four-Forest Wildlife Region consisting of Deschutes National Forest: a bold representation of the South Sisters and Diamond Peak mountains. As well, The Willamette National Forest, the holder of the Great Breitenbush and Winding Willamette rivers: an all encompassing water flow accompanied by a never-ending forest of Douglas-fir. To the southwest, The Umpqua National forest, home to the Umpqua, Molalla, Yoncalla and Cow Creek Indian tribes: fathers of this land. And lastly, to the east, The Winema/Fremont National Forest and Wildlife region all of which are north of the original resting grounds of the Klamath Indian tribes, who suffered a great deal from an early breeding ground of clear-cut logging and deforestation from Europeans in the entire Klamath Basin.
Trees are the basic building blocks of life in the Four-Forest Wildlife Region. In this region are dozens of different types of 'blocks', though all of the same material. Conifers dominate this province. Hemlock trees sit underneath glimmering mists of waterfalls in the foothills of Mount Jefferson. Ponderosa Pine trees shed their golden needles for miles and miles around annually blanketing the west-central expanse. White Mountain Pine grow scarce and patchy in the soon domesticated bluffs surrounding Crater Lake, while a handful of different species of Fir trees stand representative in the Cascadian scene.
A prominent fiend of the Oregon wilderness, the White Bristle-Back Stag roams the open plains of the Quo’naqi Indian reservation while several Oregon Blue Jays are perched on the branch of a giant Willow, unwavering with each gust of wind and rain. A pond glitters in the distance. Peaks tower over rolling valleys of canyons and deltas which inevitably meander their way to an endless ocean.
The sun is gone, the weather is cold, and the sky will not be clear. Let’s enjoy this Oregon frontier.