As with most summers recently, I had taken off two weeks in late July and early August to fly back out to the west coast to visit family and go camping to Bend Oregon. My family has been visiting Bend for the past 6+ years every summer, there's something up with the high desert around Central Oregon that is a welcome retreat from the rest of our average days. This blog post will mostly be in the form of short entries for each day during the trip. I will be posting photos from the trip in a follow-up post.
I flew in on Saturday July 20th, which was coincidentally my birthday as well. Arriving at 9:30am at SeaTac. My parents picked me up at the airport and we immediately set off to visit a Dennys. Dennys still does a free breakfast meal for your birthday so I ordered a ton of eggs, hash browns, pancakes, and toast, splitting some sausage and bacon with my mom.
We then drove the hour and a half to my parents house, where we immediately set into action on packing up the camping trailer we were taking down to Bend. We had to pack clothes, food, and all the accessories including the bikes in the back of the truck and a box of firewood.
We set off a bit later than we usually would, but we had planned on staying a night at Brooks Memorial state park just outside of Goldendale Washington. It was about a 4 hour drive to Brooks, I spent most of the time of that drive reading The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway. It was a copy that a friend from college had loaned me and I had read previously, the worn, sun burnt pages called to me when I was looking at my bookshelf in my old room.
We had pulled into Brooks Memorial in the early evening, setting up the trailer and then cooking up a few sausages on the grill. Along with the sausages we had some fresh guacamole, some cucumber pico de gallo that my parents had picked up at the Snohomish farmers market. We topped off the evening by playing some Yahtzee and watching the other campers set up as they pulled in.
We woke up early in the morning and made some fried egg sandwiches, and then quickly packed up our trailer and set out driving South to Bend. Most of the day was spent on driving down to Bend, finding a camping spot and then we went back into town to pick up some groceries for the week.
When we got back we had cooked up some turkey burgers with gouda and canadian bacon, and had some leftover guacamole as well.
During dinner we planned out some of the things we wanted to do on Tuesday and Wednesday.
We got up early to drive down to Crater Lake and drive around the rim road. It had been at least a few years since we last visited the national park, and we had planned on doing most of the shorter hikes around the crater.
We started by driving clockwise around the lake, pulling off at all the different pull outs to get amazing views of the bright blue lake. We then went down towards the pinnacles, and did a short 2 mile hike to the Plaikni Falls. We didn't go out to these falls the last time we were at the park so it was a new experience.
The hike was a pleasant one, except for the large amount of mosquitoes, but luckily we had brought some bug spray with us. At the end of the hike is a short vertical section that leaves you about 30 feet from the base of the falls. It was incredibly refreshing to take off my hat and soak it in the water and then put it back on. We stayed there for a few minutes, collecting a few photos and videos of the falls and the river it was feeding, then hiked back out on the same trail back to the truck.
From the falls, we drove down to the Pinnacles, and took a short walk along this large canyon filled on the sides with large spires of stone and dirt left over from the previous eruption thousands of years ago.
We continued our drive around the lake, pulling off at a lookout near Mount Scott, the tallest peak in the park. Looking up we could see a fire lookout at the top of the peak and also we could see several groups of hikers working their way up to the peak along a ridgeline. There was still large swatches of snow left on the mountain from the winter, and it was pretty amazing to see so close up.
We then made our way around to the Rim Village, which had a visitor center, and an old resort that was constructed back in the 50's. We used the restrooms and did a bit of shopping, and then continued on our trip around the lake, making a last stop at the Watchman lookout. From this stop we could see up to another fire lookout at the top of Watchman peak, there was a long trail going up to the peak but we didn't have enough time to do that hike.
We left the park, heading back to our trailer and picked up some delicious ice cream treats and dinner at a Dairy Queen about 10 miles south of the campground.
We woke up a bit later than usual this morning due to general exhaustion from our previous day at Crater Lake. We had a good breakfast of hash browns and fried eggs and then packed up the bicycles into the truck as we drove over to Sunrivier. We planned to bike around Sunriver which has an extensive network of bike trails all around the small town, houses, and local airport.
We had biked several miles, out and around the airport, and then along the Deschutes river where it borders the town, and we took a short-cut on our way back to where we parked.
We walked around the shopping village in Sunriver, and then went into the local grocery store to pick up some hot dogs for dinner, and some refreshing teas from Starbucks.
After dropping off the bikes at the trailer, and cleaning up a bit we went into Bend to visit the farmers market, and do a bit of shopping on main street. We topped off the evening by having dinner at McMenamins where we enjoyed a hummus plate, a salad, a delicious burger with bacon-coffee jam and a fried egg, and a large pizza that we packed up at the end of the meal.
The plan for the day today is to drive out and around the Cascade Scenic Byway, a short loop around Mount Bachelor that goes past several large cascade lakes within the Deschutes national forest. In total, without stopping it takes about two hours, but and we ended up stopping at several lakes and reservoirs.
We first drove to the Twin Lakes Resort, a small campground and resort right off of the Wickiup Reservoir, there was a school group and several other families there along the beach and in inflated tubes and toys along the water. We stopped at another resort along another lake, and then made our way to Cultus Lake.
Here we picked up a 6 pack of Sweet As Pale Ale, and set out a large towel to eat some of the leftover pizza and other snacks we brought for lunch along the drive. We relaxed for a few more minutes, reading our books and taking in the views of the lake, surrounding forests and mountains.
After Cultus Lake we made our way around the loop, visiting next Lava Lake, then Elk Lake which is one of the larger lakes along the route. The water was slightly cool, but refreshing in the heat of the sun and warmed up quickly. Both Elk and Cultus lakes had a small marina, with a few sail boats (nothing longer than 30 feet) and a collection of other small boats and motor vehicles.
After Elk Lake, we stopped at Devils Lake at 5,446 feet of elevation the water here was the coldest out of any of the lakes we visited, as it was being freshly fed from the snow runoff from the South Sister and Broken Top. The lake uniquely changes colors from a dark green blue to a bright turquoise green on the side away from where the water was coming into it. There were a few different groups, some camping in the tent spots on the lake, others kayaking, and a few others using standup paddle boards.
We wrapped up the evening by driving past Mount Bachelor, going into Bend to pick up a few more groceries for the rest of the trip, and then we cooked up a few cheeseburgers back at our trailer for dinner. We finished the evening with a game of hand and foot.
We started the day a bit late, finishing a full breakfast of hashbrowns, fried eggs, sausage patties and toasted buns around 11 as we were still making plans for what we wanted to do. We decided to run a few errands at some of the stores in Bend, so we started by visiting the local outlet mall, then Kohl's, Lowes, the local RV shop, Costco, and finally finishing at the Humm Kombucha tap house in bed, filling up a small collection of growlers and growlettes with different flavors of Kombucha.
We stopped off at Bend Burger Company for a late lunch around 3 and had amazing burgers, fries, onion rings and tater tots.
We plan on finishing up the evening early, packing up a large part of the trailer so we can hit the road early tomorrow to head back to Snohomish. We have decided to skip staying a night at Brooks Memorial State Park so we have more time on Sunday to clean up the trailer, do laundry, and pack for our next trip to Vashon Island, and then to Leavenworth later in the week.
This year's Bend trip was a pleasant relaxing week, hitting a lot of our favorite places around central Oregon, while also getting a bit of relaxation in, and a ton of sun too!