This is a very special post because it encompasses many things I'd been wanting to do for so long and finally, we did them. It's also Part I of a series of posts, because this little trip really was that incredible.
A couple weeks back we used the 3-day Memorial Day holiday weekend to get out of town in search of some sites we'd only heard of and were dying to see. Not only that, we spent the weekend IN A TENT!!! Ahhhh, the easy breezy quiet tent life. My most favorite way to spend my days.
We cruised out to the Mt. Hood Highway and meandered through the forest on our way East. Our destination was Bend, OR. Bend is the largest city in Central Oregon and outside of the Portland area, is one of the largest cities in Oregon. It's also one of the fastest growing cities in the country and after our visit now I know why! Bend is perfect. From the park along the river, to the perfectly manicured lawns, to the houses spread across the hills and the endless amounts of breweries - Bend is a DREAM!
It truly is where "Oregonians go to play" because it is nestled perfectly in the middle of any and every part of Oregon you could hope to explore. You are within a short drive from Oregon's most prized locations - Crater Lake, the Painted Hills, the Three Sisters, Mt Bachelor, Mt Hood, Sun River, countless state parks, the list goes on and on! What this means is you could wake up in Bend and over your morning coffee decide if you want to go play in the snow, the forest, the desert, crazy craters, lava flows, outrageous canyons, chase some waterfalls, or surf some rivers - yes, you heard that right - you can! You can do it all!!
Brad & I started our visit right and cruised straight to the center of town in search of the famous river surf break - for anyone that knows my husband, are you surprised? As soon as we stepped onto the soft lush grass that lines the river, we felt a wave of light and were instantly happy. Bend is located East of the Cascades which means it doesn't get nearly as much rain as the valley, which is where Portland is.
(Quick geography lesson for you - there are two mountain ranges that span Oregon North to South, the Coastal Range and the Cascade Range. The Coastal Range is obviously along the coast which is what creates the epic scene that is the coastline, and the Cascade Range is further inland, higher in elevation, and the breeding ground for each of the 13 volcanoes sprinkled throughout the PNW. What happens is all the pressure and moisture that builds and brews over the Pacific comes inland, coasts clear over the Coastal Range but gets trapped by the Cascades and just hovers over the valley. It is why Portland (and Seattle) get their "rainy" reputation, and also why the Valley is such a fertile overgrown lush land.
Travel East of the Cascades and you will find an abundance of sunshine! This is part of what makes living in Portland during the rainy season so bearable, all you have to do is drive East for an hour and you will find all the sunshine your heart could desire. It also means that the beautiful lush forested lands that I love end and a desert type of landscape begins. The transition is quick and stark and kind of hard to believe. Bend is East of the Cascades but is also centered around a running river, and there is actually a mecca of rivers throughout the area, so there is some green ribboned throughout all the brown.)
With that said, the river was our destination and as soon as we arrived to Farewell Bend Park we were instantly enamored by the energy of Bend. We perched on the hill by the river and dreamed of what it would be like to own a house and raise a family along the river. We both decided we could be very happy doing so. After a while we took a stroll and discovered a dog festival so Buffy pranced and played with all her friends! Some acoustic folk music played and they were handing out Kombucha like candy, so we laid in the grass and stayed a while. The air was light and cool and crisp, but I do have to say it's a little dry for my liking.
farewell bend park
we love bend
We wandered further along the river and spent the rest of the afternoon boozing it up at the Bend Brewing Company, in their grassy backyard overlooking the river. Bend has the largest number of breweries per capita in the world, and the cutest little strip of shops and downtown businesses to explore. Definitely need to spend more time in Bend (and potentially follow their real estate market so we can plan and purchase a future vacation home).
bend brewing co.
Our campsite was about 30 minutes south of the city, a special little spot in the world called Fall River Campground. It's on the way to Mt. Bachelor so a bit forested and right along a calm, clear creek. We pitched our tent as close to the creek as we could possibly get, in the shade of two big trees with our hammocks strewn down the hill hanging right over the creek. And instantly we were back to the simple life, where all that mattered was that we were together, breathing the fresh air, listening to the birds sing and the wind whoosh through the trees, relaxing and giggling the day away without a worry. The simple life is truly my favorite life.
fall river campground
life under the sun & the moon
The next day we would be off to discover Smith Rock State Park, a place I'd dreamed of since I saw it in on Pinterest years before. This life is so lovely sometimes, surely made of stardust or something!
Stay tuned for Part II.
xoxo, Tent Girl