Sunday, July 19, 2015

Bend: The Desert

When we weren't trying to fit in as much beer and vegan food as possible, we spent time outside. There was really only time to scratch the surface, with parks and disc golf courses; on future trips plan to do more on the water, such as kayaking, and perhaps some more intense hiking. 

On our way from Kah Nee Ta, we stopped at the Coyotes Den disc golf course, about 30 miles north of Bend. While in a beautiful desert setting, that meant a ton of prickly brush and some hilly terrain, so I just went on a hike in following along, rather than throwing. I would definitely call this a more advanced disc golf in terms of difficulty.

After making it to Bend and spending the rest of the day eating and drinking, we started off the next morning with hike up Pilot Butte. A note: google maps directions for Pilot Butte itself will direct you to the road that can be driven to the top; to get to the trailhead and a parking lot you'll want to head towards the Larkspur Trail. From Greenwood Ave, east of Pilot Butte turn north on Arnett Way, then left onto Linnea Dr. There's some signage to show this as you approach.

At the bottom 

It took us 22 minutes (with some brief stops for pictures along the way) to reach the top on the trail that's 0.81 miles long (there's also a less-dirt-trail alternative along the road that also spirals to the top), hung out for a bit, then took the road back down to experience both. There's a nice viewing area at the top, with plaques to explain some history and what you're looking at. There are restrooms at both the top and in the park area at the bottom. 

From the top
Next was Pine Nursery disc golf course, sort of on the outskirts NE of town. While obviously still desert-y, it was less dense (and only 9 holes!), so I'd call it a pretty good course in the area for a beginner. The only real hazard was some rocky formations around the 9th hole, but otherwise a quite enjoyable course.

After lunch we ventured to the Old Mill District. There are a lot of shopping and restaurant options, but we actually enjoyed a walk along the river. We also saw a kayaking rental place, and plenty of people floating on intertubes - definitely something to do next time.

After dinner, we walked in Drake Park, a really nice park, and also happened upon the end of the Wednesday Farmers Market. It's small-ish, but seemed to have a good variety of booths.

Heading back to Portland the next day, we stopped by (yet another) disc golf course, at Black Butte Ranch. This is another 9 hole course, which I enjoy! I'd actually say this is an extra easy course; the only real obstacle is tall grasses and if there are any kids on the soccer field that one of the fairways crosses.

And a few more pics of scenery on the way home:

I can't believe I spent so long living in Portland and ignoring this wonderful destination that's so near by!

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