Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Bend Adventure

Bend Adventure

My Partner and I have been co-hosting (with someone I will call “Richard”) a long weekend kayaking trip to the Cascade Lakes for the past 2 years. We come up to Bend in the high desert at approximately this time of year and go to Hosmer Lake and Sparks Lake for some fun paddle and geology lessons. This year my partner and I had some extra special activities planned so we skipped the Thursday afternoon meet and greet and paddle on the Deschutes and instead went on a little exploratory hike along the Deschutes River north of Bend.

Deschutes is corrupt French, Des Chutes, The Chutes, the rapids. Up here in the desert there are quite a few of them. We were staying at Seventh Mountain Resort which is on the cliffs above Lava Island Falls. This is an Ice Age lava flow that came out of Mt Paulina and flowed down to the Deschutes and then had a little territorial despute with the River. Looking at the map you can see where the lava flow hit the river and pushed the river out of its bed. Then the lava headed downstream in the Deschutes old river bed flowing like, well, like water. The last little bit is a big down hill jump. I can imagine the hot lava flowing through and the river boiling and steaming and cooling and hardening the rock as it flowed. Create a huge jumble of sharp broken lava rock with the river flowing around and creating a large fall and island of lava rock. Further upstream from this are more places where there is the stand of Lava on the east side of the river and the normal dirt and trees on the west side of the river. It is all very majestic. Majesty is good. It is what my Partner and I are looking for. A beautiful majestic scene that you can walk to in good clothes.

We first checked out Dillon falls. Dillon is about a mile upstream from Lava Island, but you can drive there on a forest service road. We walked around and enjoyed the falls. You can get right down close to the river here. Very loud. Might be too loud to actually hear the ceremony. We took some pictures and did find one possible location. I was not over-awed, however. I also waited to see if anyone was going to go down the waterfall in a kayak. I don't know if this rapid and falls is survivable or not but I was willing to take pictures of anyone that might try it.

I did a time check. We were getting a little short on time. We still had to pick a spot, confirm our appointment, and get a shower and change and pick up our guests. We got back in the car and followed the signs further up the river to Benham Falls. Benham is a very different place, the lava flow was at it's peak here and I don't think the river stopped it. I think it stopped itself after it took over the river bed and ran into the cliffs that the river had carved. Then it jogged downhill. The river (over time) just carved around the edges of the flow and so cut a nice sharp gorge with steep cliffs and huge beautiful VI+ rapids. From the parking lot, there is a easy set of switchbacks on a state maintained trail to a formal rock wall defined overlook. Perhaps 100feet from the river below. Wow. Very beautiful. Not too loud. I vote here. My partner agreed. We called it in and went back to our room to change into our purple clothes.

We picked up our guests and then met the judge at the falls at 5:30. We were lucky that the group of 20 mountain bikers were clearing out. They had come down the trail from Sunriver on what is now evidently a completely paved section. Sort of funny, they were all on the highway travel and safety board and had evidently been the group responsible for the allocation of the funds that had built the trail. Sort of misuse of power, don't you think? Spending money like that so you can have a nice bike ride one afternoon. Anyway, we all walked down the trail to the overlook and had a wonderful little ceremony. I only cried once.

Afterward we went into Bend for dinner. Do you know Bend? It is a fast growing action vacation spot in sort of the Center of Oregon. Lots of people with racks on their Subarus for hauling bikes and boats and camping gear and fishing gear and all manner of things. In the winter there is skiing up on nearby Mount Bachelor and in the summer you can't swing a dead cat without knocking down a bicycle club.

And people that ski and join bicycles clubs all tend to be in good shape and have lots of money. Which they spend in town on food, art, and beer. So downtown Bend has filled out to cater to these primal needs. It is a small town, but it has a large supply of Brew Houses, Five Star Restaurants, and local artist galleries. Very swanky. But very swanky for people wearing REI. The beer scene has especially take off, there are 10 or more breweries in the area now that distribute their micro brews all over the North East and I suspect that some are all over the country. Deschutes Brewery and 10 Barrel are 2 of which I will take special note.

Tonight, however, we are doing a non-beer celebration in fancy clothes at Zydeco restaurant. The men had wild boar, quite yummy. Much more like steak than like pork. The ladies had the rack of lamb. And I will not be having any cheap rack jokes from the peanut gallery.

And then back to our room for bed. Must be up early for the Hosmer Lake adventure !!!

Key Take-aways:
A) If you are in love, you don't have to spend a lot of money for a memorable ceremony that will make everyone cry.
 B) Wedding nights are fun as all hell even when you are over 50.

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