So last post I tried to give you an idea of what Bend as a town was like. A funky, surprisingly big town out in the middle of nowhere, where outdoor sports enthusiasts and active lifestyle junkies convene to paddle, pedal, fish, climb, shred, ski, and drink beer. I would say that is a fairly accurate, in a nutshell description.
In this post I want to take you to these places I mention above. The places where we have spent much of our time outside of our little country house. The proximity to these locales is key. 15 minutes west and we sit at the base of the Cascade Range, with endless miles of hiking, backpacking, and mountain bike trails. 15 minutes east opens to the Deschutes River, and the juniper and sage peppered desert canyons and flats. All within a short drive we have access to floating, biking, fishing, and with a stretch, hiking and skiing.
Peterson Ridge Singletrack is a collection of Mountain Biking trails west of our house out near the town of Sisters. The trails run giant loops up and over hills and throughout deep Juniper, and Ponderosa forests. The volcanic dust/ soil makes for great singletrack because it tamps down, and doesn’t develop deep ruts very easily. We have a few access points on some of the loops only 15 minutes from our driveway, which makes it easier to strap on the bikes and take an hour for a workout in the evenings.
East of us, out near the town of Redmond sits Smith Rock State Park. An amazing State Park that sits along the banks of the Crooked River. This is a definite tourist trap, but it is a great place to see. Neé and I went out here for a trail run, and we were amazed at the number of rock climbers scrambling up the walls! A definite must visit if you come to Bend!
Aside from mountain biking, the only thing I probably have been doing more of has been fly fishing. While it’s not quite as good as Southwest Montana (which is arguably the best in the world) the trout here are hungry, and the hit a well presented fly with eagerness and enthusiasm! Hey, who am I to be a snob? I have fished in a few spots, but these two places have planted themselves, at least temporarily, as my go-to spots.
The Deschutes River is the iconic waterway that everyone around here talks about. The massive waterway starts high in the Cascades southwest of Bend, and gains power and size quickly as it heads towards town. As it winds through town it turns into a recreational mecca, as dozens of trails follow and criss-cross it on its way through Bend. Outside of town the “middle” section of the Deschutes gets smaller, due to irrigation. But the fishing is still good. It pours into a deep canyon about 15 minutes east of our house. I enjoy hiking down into this canyon and getting some fishing in. I haven’t seen one person since I have been there, but as I was told this morning, it is a cougar haven, so I should be extra careful venturing in there from now on (especially with Gus). Nonetheless, the water is cold and clear, and the trout are happy to sip my fly off the water. From here the river gains size, and becomes the massive trout/ steelhead fishery it is known for. This big river character hangs with it all the way until it pours into the mighty Columbia (the west coast version of the Mississippi) and eventually the Pacific Ocean.
I also fished the Crooked River canyon when we first got here. This river is about 45 minutes out into the desert from Bend, but it offers classic western riffle, and pocket water fishing. The river is lined with Redside Trout (3000 trout per river mile) so these fish are hungry, and I found myself pulling in a fish every 5 or 6 casts! The river winds through a beautiful desert canyon, and provided a long day of teaching Gus how to act when we are fishing (which means he patiently sits on the bank).
30 minutes up into the Sisters Wilderness west of our house lies 3 Creek Lake. A high mountain lake set in a glacial basin surrounded by a high rim. The lake reminds us of Hyalite Lake, and offers a great place to hike and swim when we need to cool off from heat. The lake is 3000 feet above where our house is, so it offers a great chance for Gus to swim and cool off! I hiked the ridge last week, and found myself playing in snow and glasading down it’s slope for fun!