Oregon Pt 2 of 4: The Battle with Mother Nature
No less then an hour into the drive comes the rain and that famous thick Oregon fog. Mount Hood was completely immersed by the storm, I remember thinking how unlucky it would be to be caught on the mountain at that time. We snuck in a few shots at Trillium lake between rain falls and on we were to our next location. We drove until we grew tired and pulled into a random camp to sleep, no rain that night.
The next day was a beautiful clear morning, we grew optimistic towards good weather. But after about an hour of driving through the plains of the Warm Springs Reservation we saw some of the largest storm clouds we had ever seen headed our way. From then on it would not stop raining for 3 days, weather alerts warned us of rain and flooding and of the 70 mile per hour winds pounding the coast. We were still determined to try so we proceeded to make a sharp right into the Williamete National Forest and headed straight for the mountains, our next destination was Sparks Lake. Almost immediately the rain turned to snow and the black pavement turned white as we climbed in altitude driving deeper into the forest. The highway had been plowed recently but we passed signs warning us to proceed with caution and at own risk. Traffic dwindled until we were the only vehicle left heading towards the storm. For the first time we felt the vulnerability of driving in a 35 foot RV as the tires struggled for traction. Visibility was down to almost 0% and there was over a foot and a half of snow on the ground and the storm was just warming up. Finally we reached the end of the plowed road, the path that lied beyond was impassable for most vehicle's including ours. A large 4x4 truck appeared through the fog slowly struggling to make its way out of the snow covered road, as he finally got back onto the main road he drove by us and gave us the thumbs down and turnaround signal. So there, just 3 miles away from our destination we had no choice but to go back. Making a u-turn in blizzard conditions on a mountain road with a long RV truck proved to be quite challenging and nerve wrecking. These roads close every year from December to March but here we were in the beginning of October and you could be fooled to think we were in the dead of winter.
We made our way back out the forest, as we drove out I couldn't help but to think of all the beautiful landscapes we were missing, Mt Bachelor, Sparks Lake, The Three Sisters volcanic mountains, all completely covered by snow and fog. Things weren't looking good for our most anticipated location (Crater Lake), recent weather alerts reported measurements of up to 2 feet of snow in that area. Conditions did improve drastically as soon as we descended in elevation, it was now back to rain as we continued on our journey to south Oregon. We would end up driving over 150 miles that day desperate to get out of the storm. We crossed the Umpqua National Forest in some treacherous weather conditions until we finally reached an RV camp near Prospect Oregon where we hooked up for the night. It rained so hard that night it was impossible to sleep with the sound of the rain drops crashing onto the roof of the RV. In the morning we were greeted with more rain and the official word that the roads to Crater Lake were closed due too excessive snow conditions. This was a big blow for us, we were supposed to spend an entire day there and had a whole list of shots planned. We did some shooting and filming not far from the RV camp by a river we found while we pondered what to do next. The decision was made, we would abandon the rest of the mountain and forest destinations and just head towards the coast where the storm was starting to die down. No one was particularly happy about the decision but we had no choice. The weather had taken it's toll on our production, forcing us to cancel numerous locations. We had an elaborate photoshoot planned with wardrobe, lighting and a model at Cape Kiwanda that also had to be canceled. After a good breakfast and a cup of coffee the journey to the coast began. It rained as we left Oregon, more rain as we drove through the beautiful Redwood Forests of California and even when we finaly reached the coast...more rain. As the sun was setting that day the weather cleared for what seemed like only a few minutes and we got our first glimpse of the stunning Oregon Coast and were absolutely mesmerized.....