Yesterday, as I walked through the U of O campus, I thought to myself "this kind of day is why people live in Oregon." Normally, that thought is reserved for the spring and summer, but a nice sunny fall day is amazing here. I like it when it's cool enough to need a sweater but still sunny. Most of the trees still have their leaves, and around here, the trees turn a variety of colors in the fall. It was a warm day (granted, the only reason it was 72 degrees in October in Oregon is because of global warming) with not a cloud in the sky. Even though last weekend was more the type of weather we experience in the winter (cold and pouring), it was still beautiful. The nice days in the Willamette Valley are beautiful enough to more than make up for the rainy ones.
A few weeks ago, I took Amtrak home to Klamath Falls and really enjoyed taking in the view on the ride back up. The train passes along the rim of Salt Creek Canyon, which is probably one of the most beautiful places on earth. I think there are hiking trails, but I'm not sure there is any view quite like the one from the train. The entire trip from Klamath Falls to Eugene is excellent for sight-seeing. You can see several mountains (including Mt. Mazama), lakes and rivers before you even get to the canyon. The conductor talked about the history of how the canyon became a national park. It's just breathtaking. That place is why I love Oregon. I think I have to live somewhere where I can take a short drive (or train trip) and see a place like that. While the state's certainly not perfect (the government doesn't seem to be able to manage money, taxpayers are unwilling to cough up the dough to help give schools and social services adequate funding, and it's lacking in diversity), I can't imagine finding a place more beautiful than this part of the Northwest. I know that soon, I may have to move away from the Northwest (I'm hoping to find a job in Washington state), so for now, I'm just really enjoying how lucky I am to be here.
I tried to find a photo of Salt Creek Canyon as it looks from the train, but there aren't any on Google and mine always glare off the train window. So, the ones above are of the waterfall of the name. Whenever I drive down Highway 58, I stop to see the waterfall. I love it. One of these days I'll have the energy to hike down to the bottom.