For our one year anniversary we decided to spend a few nights in Bend, OR. We had visited at Christmas time, but the weather was rough and required a redo. We packed a lunch and hit the road early on Thursday for a long weekend of love and relaxation. On our way in we stopped at Smith Rock State Park and devoured a delicious lunch of Roasted Garlic-Crusted Chicken with beet, apple, and fennel salad. Such a gorgeous place to stop for lunch.
We continued onto Bend and checked into our Inn. The Tudor Inn is such a relaxing place to stay. It’s situated right in the heart of Old Town Bend, allows pets, and even has two beer taps for consumption. We put our stuff down and enjoyed a beer on the patio. That’s Rey out front of our little green cottage. There was a food truck pulled onto the driveway for the day, which made for a convenient snack with our beers.
We introduced ourselves to another couple staying the weekend and found out they were going to Deschutes Brewery, which sounded like a good idea to us. We walked about a mile over to the tasting room, which was a fantastic walk – made us start to fall in love with the city. I really enjoyed the whitewater park on the river. There were a couple surfers and a kayaker out there practicing in the surf. The brewery was far bigger than I imagined, quite an impressive operation.
We finished the evening with dinner and a movie at McMenamins Old St. Francis School. If you don’t know this already, we love visiting all of the different McMenamins in the region; they’re all so different and feels like stepping back into the past.
After a great night sleep and for our first full day in Bend we decided to do the nature thing and visit a popular cinder cone (volcano) in the area called Lava Butte. It’s part of a system of small cinder cones that flank the massive Newberry Volcano, which wasn’t open yet due to weather. Geologists dated the single eruption at Lava Butte to 7,000 years ago, which was amazing considering how much of the basalt flow still remains free of vegetation still today. We toured the visitor’s center museum at the bottom, which had a lot of really great information, and then made the trip up to the top of the butte. The scar left from the lava flow was still very apparent below and was completely devoid of vegetation after 7,000 years! We were getting pelted with frozen rain and high winds at the top, but still hiked the loop around the open hole in the center of the butte, totally worth it.
After Lava Butte we grabbed lunch in Sun River then drove over to Mt. Bachelor to check out Bend’s mountain. We were certainly impressed by the immensity of the mountain, but mostly by how much snow still covered the area. Once we pulled into the ski resort parking lot we knew it wasn’t meant to be. It was really cold out, snow was falling, and the roads going past the mountain where a lot of the great hiking trails are was still closed for the season. We did a 180 and headed back to town, but took a detour and stumbled across Boyd Cave and Bessie Butte. We explored around the inside of the cave for a few minutes, but quickly learned that Rey has a pretty intense fear of the silent pitch black void that is a cave so we had to turn back.
After the cave we decided to head over to Bessie Butte for another hike. Bessie Butte is also part of the Newberry Caldera in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument and only a 500′ climb. We picked Bessie because it was clear of trees from a wildfire in the area in 2003 and 2007, which makes for great unobstructed views. It was only a couple mile hike, but we had some amazing views at the summit. We finished the day off with dinner at Deschutes Brewery and headed back to rest up for our looong drive down to Crater Lake.
We were hesitant to drive out to Crater Lake on Saturday because weather is such a gamble and wasn’t looking that great, but decided to do it anyway. Once we were about half way in our journey, I think we both realized it wasn’t going to be a great day. There was intermittent snow and frozen rain while driving. Once we reached the park gates it was about a 30 minute drive up to the south side visitor station in pretty heavy snowfall the entire time.
Once we reached the top, we ate some lunch in the Rim Village Visitor Center waiting for the blowing snow to subside, but there was no end. We brought our snowshoes and did some snowshoeing around the area, but visibility was really low and the lake was impossible to see so our spirits were a little crushed. It was a fun journey there and gives us something to come back to and try again.
Once we got back to the Inn the other guests had already created a fire in the pit outside so we joined them for drinks and chat. Each couple recapped their day’s adventures over some beers with the fire keeping us warm, it was the perfect way to wind down after that drive. We then grabbed dinner with our new friends we met at the B&B who are from Oregon City and called it a night.
On our last day we packed up the car and went for our last amazing breakfast at the B&B before heading out.
We then hit the road and made a few stops on the way. We stopped at the High Desert Museum in Bend and got our history on. They had massive life sized diorama like scenes where you walk through a timeline of events that took place in the High Desert, it was surreal and really put you in that era. There were some live actors that were playing the parts of the period that you could ask questions and they’d answer, great experience.
On our way home we took the suggestion of the other guests and stopped at The Cove Palisades State Park and our jaws dropped! It felt what I would expect the Grand Canyon to be like, a massive canyon just hanging out in the middle of Oregon. We drove along the upper rim of it then down into the canyon and were amazed by all the wild lavender, sage, and wildflowers in bloom. We are really hoping to get back out here soon to camp – lots of campsites.
Our trip to Bend was amazing and full of love and laughter the entire time. I feel truly lucky to have found my soulmate and someone to experience all the beauty in the world with.