National Geographic : 1969 Jan
Oregon's Many Faces By STUART E. JONES Photographsby BATES LITTLEHALES Both National Geographic Staff BEFORE I WENT TO OREGON, I asked a native to describe his state. After a few moments of brow-wrinkling thought he asked, "Which Oregon? "I can tell you how it is to live in Portland," he went on, "or to weekend on the coast, or to ski in the Cascades, or to catch steelhead in the Rogue or the Deschutes, or to listen to coyotes howling in the desert. I could quote that newspaper columnist, writing about Ore gon politics, who called the state a kind of suburb. "But, really now, how do you put a label on an area of almost 100,000 square miles that embraces such a tremendous variety of climate, scenery, and vegetation? To say nothing of the people an extremely mixed bag with a unifying love for independence of thought, people who would reject the very idea of wearing a label. "Go and make your tour," he said, "and when you come back, see if you can give me that all-encompassing description." State Offers a Kaleidoscope of Contrasts Off I went. From Portland I covered some 4,000 miles, mostly by car, but also in airplanes and boats and on foot. At the end I was no closer than my friend to an accurate summing up of Oregon. But I could see what he meant. Pleasant weeks of looking upon Oregon's many faces left me with memories of busy harbors, lively resorts, and scenic marvels along the cool, misty Pacific Coast, the rockbound edge of the continent. Driving among snow-capped moun tains where the air tasted like a dry white wine, I passed through green forest corridors where whole families of deer created traffic hazards as they trotted across roads. In the sun-scorched southeastern desert I traveled through lonely, rugged wastelands where the early settlers had faced their sternest tests, and where many met defeat. In lush valleys and on high plateaus I saw the tidy farms, or chards, wheat fields, and beef and dairy ranches that make Oregon Chasing the foaming Pacific surf, riders approach Haystack Rock on Cannon Beach. Along Oregon's 400-mile coast, hikers, rock hounds, clam diggers, surf-fishers, and an occasional hardy swimmer can pur sue their pleasure. Inland, timbered mountains, swift rivers, fertile valleys, and deserts satisfy the varied tastes of Oregonians. 7A KODACHROME© N.G .S .