Friday, May 23, 2008

Bend, OR

We returned yesterday afternoon from a two-day meeting in Bend, OR. If you have never been there, we recommend it as being well worth your time.

Situated geographically about in the center of the state, we find it to be a charmingly crisp and clean town along the Deschutes River, about 3623 feet in elevation, and an area known for camping, hiking, fishing, golf, rock climbing, and of course skiing at Mt. Bachelor. High desert, it is considered, with sunny days and cool nights.

The quaint downtown area offers wonderful restaurants, and one of our favorites is The Cork for fine and intimate evening dining while lunch at Toomies for Thai food is very good and reasonably priced. Scanlons, just outside of Bend, also did not disappoint.

As you leave the city, the snow-capped mountains of Broken Top (9173ft), Three Sisters (all around 10,000 ft) - left photo -, and Mt. Jefferson (10,497 ft) stand mystifyingly around this plateau of farmland and sagebrush.

Our early morning return home was as we had come, through the enchanting little western-style town of Sisters (with a quick stop at the local bakery for a scone). A gradual descent past Black Butte, through forests of Ponderosa Pine, cedar and Douglas firs, led us toward the McKenzie Pass (5325 ft) and the jagged snow-topped lava which lay as ancient molten beds around us and within the Willamette National Forest. Neither Mt. Washington (7790 ft) nor Three Fingered Jack (7841 ft) were visible amidst the snuggling cloud cover this day, and the partially ice-covered lake cued us of the 36 degree temperature.

Approximately thirty minutes from Sisters we past the headwaters of the mighty McKenzie River, Clear Lake, a pristine area of crystal clear and serene waters which reveal the petrified trees standing upright from its floor. Undaunted, it lays quietly, not stirring except for a slight breeze or movement from the motion of an oar. It emits a steady flow, a gradual gesture, a pace which increases with each stride, widening its area of reach like a long distance runner, strengthening, commencing power, racing south of the highway, rounding, lowering its right shoulder into the turn, relaxing momentarily, only to quickly dart beneath the bridge below us, adjusting, gathering its force to finally propel itself over the crashing, thundering 70 foot cliff of Sahalie Falls. What an unbelievable sight to experience!

The River raced with us throughout most of the remaining trip, paralleling the roadway, darting in and from our sight, and occasionally traversed playfully. . . but whose spirit is always not to be taken for granted. It followed us back into the Valley as the white blossoms of the wild dogwoods spotted throughout the wilderness brightened our overcast and occasional rainy sorta day. Mid 50's, a good trip, and it's always great to be back home.