Day 6/6 – Part 1/2

Smith Rock State Park

Have lost a day in my mind somewhere this week as I have to go to Seattle today already instead of tomorrow. That’s a kind of a disappointment. In any case I’ll try and visit as much as possible on the way back.

Last week I encountered Smith Rock State Park as a perfect sunrise location. It’s only half an hour drive from here. So, get up early and make sure that I’m there at least half an hour before the sun rises. Quite unordinary, this is the first real sunrise location in this trip. Usually I would have around 4 to 5 of these every week, which increases the chances for really beautiful photographs dramatically. The same applies for sunset locations. Very few of these this time.

I arrive well in time and there is already another photographer which is on the wrong spot to my opinion. He is too far away, which means that he will see Smith Rock but miss the reflection in the river. I do want to have that but if I move to the right spot, I will end up in his photo. Better to have a little chat about it. He immediately understands what I’m talking about and we walk together to a much better spot. Now we just have to wait. Next to Smith Rock I notice a volcano.

He is originally from Colombia and has been living here for the last 10 years. He would like to live from his photography (who wouldn’t) but sofar that has not been very succesful. I ask him what living in Colombia is like and he says that it has changed a lot. 10 years ago he felt safe overthere. Yes, cocaine was being produced then as well but barely used and exported only. Now things are different. There are many more muggings and robbings on the street. People are threatened and forced to give everything they have. He explains that they don’t want to hurt anybody, but only want to scare them. Everyone has television and internet nowadays and he thinks that they have picked up things.

He wants to move forward and I explain him that if we do that, perspective will change and we would loose the lower part of Smith Rock. This is really the optimal spot. I have the feeling that he doesn’t believe me and he keeps changing locations a bit nervously but luckily he doesn’t block my view. Slowly we are getting some color in the sky. Curious how long it will take before the rock wall will be set on fire.

Smith Rock, Oregon

That doesn’t take too long. The rock is slowly illuminated in beautiful orange light. The color is a bit lame at the beginning. I think there is a thin cloud layer in between.

Smith Rock, Oregon

Shortly after, the wall starts to burn vividly with beautiful light.

Smith Rock, Oregon

Spectacular scene this is!

Smith Rock, Oregon

As soon as the colors are starting to fade, I quit. The show is over. The Colombian can’t restrain himself anymore and tells me that he really needs to go down and starts running. I have no idea what he is thinking to find down there. The rock will be out of view almost completely, and I think you will not see anything overthere, but maybe I’m wrong. While I’m walking back to the car I notice him running down the path towards the river. Again I have a look in that direction but I still don’t get it.

Back to the hotel for breakfast. The sun is still very low above the horizon and shines right into my face. There is indeed a low cloud layer, that filtered the light earlier during the sunrise. Not even half way, the car is suddenly being launched. I’m flying through the air and land hard. In an instant I see a huge bump right in front of me and the car is launched in the air again. This time the car seems to fly a bit longer and lands completely on the front wheels. The landing is much harder than the first time and it moves wildly from left to right. I can barely control it but by steering in the opposite direction instinctively I can keep it on the road. My first thought is that the whole front must have been broken off. Then I wonder what just happened.

I stop the car and get out. Looking behind I see that I have flown over a lower crossing road and if I’m not mistaken there is even a stop sign. It is totally unclear to me how I have missed that, but most probably the low sun shining from left now has played a part in it.

Lets have a look at the car first. As far as I can see nothing is broken. No damage to the front nor to the underside. The wheels are still straight as well. The moment I had control of the car it drove normally. Apparently the tires and dampers have absorbed it all.

I think that the wheels weren’t completely straight during the landing, say for instance that they where pointing to the left, which I then corrected by steering to the right but just a little bit too much. I think that happened a couple of times. It all went so fast, there was no time to think, everything went automatically. I didn’t see any of it, only the second bump in a blur.

Better get back to the hotel and get some breakfast first.

I should have driven back just to see what it was like and why I missed it completely, but didn’t think of it at the time.

After breakfast I check once again for any leaks before departure. The radiator is the first thing I’m thinking of. That could have been ruptured very easily after such a crash, but I don’t see anything. Everything seems to be ok. Happy ending after all. I could have landed into a crossing car very easily. Really don’t want to think about it.

Maps, Charts & Downloads

GPS Map with color coded altitude information

Color coded distance/altitude chart

Color coded distance/altitude chart, Washington & Oregon Autumn 2013, Day 05

Download the original gpx file here.