Bend 2007
4th of July long weekend in Bend.
FeedbackBy Preston Hunt, 04 July 2007
See pictures for this trip

The fourth of July fell on Wednesday this year, so Aimee and I took advantage of the opportunity to have a really long weekend getaway to Bend.

After a sluggish start in Portland and an uneventful drive down to central Oregon, we arrived at the Green Lakes trail head in the early evening. A brisk two-hour hike led to the Green Lakes area, one of the most coveted hikes in the Bend area.

Despite its popularity, it was almost completely deserted up there. On the hike up, we were mesmerized by a fight for life as a weasel chased a chipmunk around a tree for a solid five minutes. The chipmunk looked so cute and defenseless that Aimee wanted to poke the weasel with a hiking pole to make him stop chasing, but I admonished her that weasels need to eat too. In the event, the chipmunk's speed and agility won out and the frustrated weasel gave up. We later learned from an Oregon parks web site that the animal we saw was most likely an American marten, a slightly endangered species in Oregon.

The camp sites at Green Lakes are very difficult to find and we spent a while hunting around for one. At the trail head the next day, we noticed that there is a big poster with GPS coordinates for all of the camp sites which is a great idea and will appeal to any cartography nerds out there.

While searching for a camp site, we had our next wildlife sighting, a bald eagle! I have never seen a bald eagle in Oregon and I thoroughly enjoyed watching him sit in the tree and later soar over the lake, perhaps looking for a dinner-time snack.

Other notable wildlife encounters were several big deer hanging out near our camp site, the shrill whistle of countless unseen marmots, and tons of frogs and toads blithely hopping around on the trail. As big fans of the TV show "Man vs. Wild", we tried to guess which frogs/toads would be edible should it come to that.

The mosquitoes were out in full force and we were thankful that we had remembered our repellent. We donated some repellent to a few hapless souls we saw getting devoured. The camp area was very windy, which made for loud sleeping conditions but kept the mosquitoes away.

We packed out the next morning and returned back to Bend where we escaped the heat by hanging out in Drake Park until we could check in to our rental house. Located just a few blocks from the downtown area, the rental house was pretty nice and was well decorated with neat furniture from Mexico. But unfortunately it didn't have air conditioning or fans, making for an unpleasant first night.

The next day we did a ~35 mile bike loop recommended by one of the local bike stores. Bend is such a great biking city. Bike lanes on almost every street in town and very drivers who are happy to coexist with bikers. Outside of town, the roads have very little traffic and breathtaking mountain vistas abound in almost every direction.

Unfortunately, it was another hot day and we really withered in the heat. According to my watch, it was over 105 degrees F in the sun. We were zonked by the time we got back home and spent the rest of the day watching TV indoors. We used used the Intel Vault Card for a 2-for-1 dinner at a nice restaurant by the river. At one point, we saw an eagle flying buy with a chipmunk in his talons. On the way home, we stopped at the nicest and most opulent Safeway we have ever seen--it had hardwood floors! Ahh, the gentrification of Bend's west side...

On Saturday, Rahman and Souj joined us and we spent the better part of the afternoon trying to find inner tubes to use for floating down the Deschutes. We went to sports stores, Wal-Mart, Fred Meyer, all without avail. Ultimately we ended up at Les Schwab and plunked down for their tubes. At the river, once we overcame the shock of the cold water, we had a great time doing this quintessential Bend past time.

Sunday brought another lazy start, breakfast at the acclaimed cafe down the street, and an uneventful return to Portland in the late afternoon.

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