I visited Central Oregon’s High Desert for the first time in August 2018. It happened to be a bad wildfire season, and most of my trip was smoky — but the smoke and ash couldn’t stop me from falling in love with the otherworldly landscape. I returned in September 2019 to clear skies and even more magic. I love and appreciate all types of landscapes, but something about Central Oregon is special. Maybe it’s the region’s volcanic past, maybe it’s how different the geology is from where I grew up in Western Washington, or maybe it’s the feeling I get when I’m there, but something in the high desert calls to me — and I plan on answering that call for the rest of my life.