Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming


I got the call today from the urologist. My CT scan was perfectly normal, no tumors, kidney stones, nothing out of the ordinary. He said it’s possible I had a very minor UTI that could have caused some bleeding but didn’t show up on a urinalysis the day I went to Urgent Care. Mystery unsolved, but at least my urological organs are healthy. Lots of money spent on probably unnecessary tests, but peace of mind nonetheless.


So on to our regular life, which yesterday included a wonderful afternoon spent at Smith Rock State Park just north of Redmond, Oregon, about 25 miles northeast of Bend. We had read about this place on several blogs, and a few other people emailed and told us not to miss it. We are so glad we went!


We spoke with the very nice volunteer couple who gave us a trail map and a description of the trails. She said most of the hiker injuries that occur there involve people who slip and fall on the steep Misery Ridge trail coming down. So we opted for a loop where we would go up Misery Ridge, pass by Monkey Face rock, come down on the Mesa Verde trail, and back to the parking lot via the River trail, a four mile loop.

We knew the Misery Ridge trail was going to be a tough climb up, 700 feet in a half mile. And it was.


But what great views once we caught our breath. Crooked River.


We took a short detour to get a better look at Monkey Face. No, it didn’t look at all like a monkey. At least not from that angle.


This is some gorgeous scenery. We both agreed, we enjoyed the trails through the redwoods, but we’ll take a hike like this any day over hiking through a forest of tall trees where there are no views.






We even spotted a couple houses we could see living in.



We aren’t sure it was any less steep going back down the other trail, but we were glad we each brought two hiking poles.


Finally down on the Riverside trail, we saw where Monkey Face got it’s name.


It actually looked more like a gorilla face.


The last mile or so along the river was level and very pretty.




And we got to see quite a few climbers. This is a famous climbing destination, very popular with foreigners.

Crutches and a litter, just in case.


I have a hard time watching this.


This is a great park, not what we imagined for central Oregon, and well worth a day trip if you’re ever in the neighborhood.


Oh, and of course after our workout we had to check out one of the four breweries in Redmond. We chose Cascade Lakes Seventh Street Brew House. We really liked their beer. Jim tried the new Misery Ridge Stout and loved it but they aren’t bottling it. He did buy a 6 pack of Monkey Face Porter which was almost as good.

Now we have to figure out where we’re going the rest of the summer. Back to the coast, stay inland, Washington, Idaho? Decisions, decisions.


  1. Consider the Wallowas, in the NE corner of the state. I think you would like them. While I have been loving the hiking in the McKenzie River basin, I think you would not. It is too closed-in for you - very dense old growth forest. However, there IS the McKenzie River Trail, suitable for trail riding with some skill...

  2. Glad to hear that all your tests came out okay. Like you said, peace of mind!! You got some wonderful pictures - what a view. Hope you enjoy the rest of your stay. Glad to see the smoke from the fires had not traveled that far.

  3. Happy to hear your tests were all normal. That's great! Keep enjoying this wonderful weather.

  4. Nice pics! Agreed, hikes like this are much to be prefered over the tall forest trails.

  5. My wife and I did the same hike last August (and also saw us living in the same house!!!) while our son and his buddy did some rock climbing with a guide. It is THE place to climb in Central Oregon

  6. We will apparently have to keep dreaming on the house.


  7. I'm glad to hear everything is okay with you!

    I could see the monkey face in the first photo, but not the second one. Strange how we see things differently, huh? Thank you SO much for taking these hikes for me so I don't have to. Just beautiful! I can imagine how much you guys were enjoying it.

  8. Very happy to hear all the results came back negative. I'm sure that's a HUGE load off your mind. Don't leave Bend without trying Crux Fermentation (can't recall if you've been already). The best in town IMHO.

    Nina & Paul (wheelingit)

  9. Glad to hear all is well. What amazing scenery and an awesome hike. Ah, the trials and tribulations of which way to point the RV.....don't ya love that freedom :-)

  10. So glad to hear the tests are over and you can move on with summer schedules. Gary and I are moving to a spot near Crooked River and have Smith Rock on our list of "must dos" while we are in that area. Thanks for sharing your great pix of the area; don't know which hike we'll try yet. Tried Three Creeks Brewery tonight in Sisters - found some good ones! looking forward to seeing where you go next.

  11. Really glad to hear that all your tests came out so well. What a relief. Your pictures here are gorgeous. I especially love the ones with the water. Very wise to get a recommendation about which direction to go on a trail where others have fallen. I think that's good advice I'm going to take. Enjoy planning your summer. Can't wait to see what you decide.

  12. So happy to hear that the tests were so positive! Great news! Love the amazing, beautiful pictures. Greg and I laugh at how hard it is, at times, to make up our minds about where to adventure to next. So many possibilities out there. But, that is a nice problem to face! Looking forward to seeing which way you go.

  13. Good news about the negative results. So 700 feet in a half mile - zowie! I don't think I've ever hiked something that steep. I just don't know about that monkey.

  14. Glad your health is OK. The first picture looks like the face of a llama to me. I follow many RV blogs and mark Google earth with each nice place shown. This place is definitely going on the map.

  15. Great news to hear all is well:)

    What great views! I love the brilliant green trail along the river. I'm with you as liking that kind of trail for hiking rather than tree lined trails with few views. That's most of the hiking in the east. I am really looking forward to the western views.

  16. Good for Gayle…
    and, I suggest you do/go "all of the above" places. Lots of summer left and August/early Sept. is the best time to be on the coast in Upper Washington :)
    Box Canyon

  17. Hi. Debbie just sent me the link to your blog. Consider me an official stalker!

  18. We enjoyed hiking at Smith Rock 6 years ago. Glad everything is OK with your health. Enjoy the summer.

  19. So glad to hear your organs are all functioning just as designed! I was thinking about you earlier today at Cafe Yumm, where nothing was harmed but plant life in the consumption of my lunch. If you haven't tried one already, I think you would like it.

    I vote for the coast, but then I am selfish that way. ;-)

  20. The litter and crutches "station" is much more effective than warning signs about climbing and hiking! We love to watch the climbers at Joshua Tree (CA) but cannot imagine ever doing it myself. Glad you spent your medical dollars on peace of mind instead of prescriptions :-).

  21. You were about 25 miles from where I camphosted back in 2012. I loved the area, although where I was it was mostly forest.

    I hope you are still planning on coming up my way this summer up in the North Cascades. The area is really beautiful with lots of hiking trails.