Sunday, June 19, 2016

Hikes, Pickleball, Breweries and The Blitz


For some reason I had a sense that we didn’t do much this past week in Bend until I was thinking of a title for this post and realized we’ve been pretty busy here. I guess it’s because we had way too many days of highs only in the 50s with clouds and rain thrown in to cause me to forget we also had some decent enough weather to get outside and play.


We played pickleball two mornings at Pine Nursery Park, where they have 16 beautiful courts. Pickleball is a really big deal in Bend, and in order to play on 12 of the courts you must be a member or guest ($5 fee) of the Bend Pickleball Club. It’s very structured and you have to take classes to get to a certain level before you can even join in the play. I guess since they have hundreds of members it works best to do it that way, but four of the courts are open for anyone to use for free. We did manage to find two other couples to play with and if we lived here would definitely join the club, but for the less than two weeks we have left we’ll just drop by and either play singles or hope there are other visitors looking for a game of doubles.

One day we took a hike at nearby Shevlin Park, hiking along Tumalo Creek in the pines on the Shevlin Park loop trail. It’s a pleasant five miles on a ridge above the creek, but Jim thought there were too many trees.



This is the Hixon Crossing covered bridge.


A Google search found this information about the bridge: 

According to the Bend Parks and Recreation District, this small covered bridge was constructed by a movie company in the early 1990s in exchange for filming some scenes in the park, including the bridge.
The bridge across Tumalo Creek was built upon the footings of a much larger logging railroad trestle that spanned the canyon of Tumalo Creek from 1941 to 1957.


No hike in the Bend area is complete without a stop at a brewery, and our favorite from last time, Crux Fermentation Project,  just happened to be on our way home.


My favorite was still the Half Hitch IPA, but Jim liked one of their limited release specialty beers, Tough Love.


While in Bend in 2014 we volunteered to work at a mountain bike race, The Blitz, but a large wildfire encroached on the trails so the race was cancelled. A couple weeks ago we got an email from the volunteer coordinator who said they still needed volunteers for this years event, which was on the 16th. Since we knew we would be here then we signed up. Volunteers got a tshirt and a beer. Unfortunately it was 55 when we arrived at our post, with dark clouds all around, but we layered up and brought our rain gear. It’s always interesting to be behind the scenes of an event because you wonder how they ever pull it off. Nobody was sure where exactly we were supposed to be stationed, but they finally figured it out. And no one had blocked off the trail intersection so cars had already parked there and the riders had to thread between cars to cross the road.

There’s Jim manning his post at the road crossing, while I was farther down the trail directing the riders on which way to go, as other cars had parked in the dirt by the trail and made it very confusing.


Of course it started raining about a half hour before all the men had come through, so we got cold and wet as the temperature dropped into the mid 40s. We did head over to get our beer after but we had to bring it inside the clubhouse of the golf course to get warm, and they cancelled the arm wrestling contest which the riders normally do after they finish the race since it was pouring by then and all the spectators were leaving. It was still fun and a different way to spend the evening.

Jeanne arrived in Bend last week and joined us in the pasture, so on Friday we took a drive north of Redmond to Smith Rock State Park. We had hiked there before but wanted to visit it again as we remembered it being very scenic, and our memory was correct. Even though afternoon thunderstorms were predicted and it was overcast during most of our hike, we managed to finish the 4 mile Misery Ridge loop with just a bit of rain near the end of the trail.

The park is every bit as beautiful as we remembered. Jim was loving the lack of trees and endless views, which start right out of the parking lot.



Misery Ridge trail from across the Crooked River. It climbs 600’ in less than a mile over loose rock and lots of stairs.


Making our way up.


Jim and Jeanne taking one of many breaks.



But there was good reason to stop and take photos, and catch our breath.




Looking back down on the trail.


At the top. Jim was telling me to get closer to the edge but this was it for me.


Great views all around.




You can’t see them in the photo but there are huge houses scattered around that rock.


Jim did some spying with the zoom to see how the other half lives.



Monkey Face rock.


Looks more like a monkey from this angle.


I saw some people ahead of us stop and look at the ground next to the trail. When we got there I was curious to see what they were looking at and didn’t realize at first what this actually was, until Jeanne spotted the rattle. It never moved while we were watching it.


This is a climbers paradise, and they were out in force. They always make it look so easy.





The last easy part of the trail along the river is very scenic.




Smith Rock is a great place to hike, but unless you stay along the fairly level river trail be sure to bring hiking poles. The trails are covered with tiny stones that make your feet try to slip out from under you. We all managed to stay upright but we did see another hiker go down. And don’t expect much solitude on the trail as it’s a popular place.

We were hungry and thirsty after the hike, and there was a brewery in Redmond we hadn’t tried, so we stopped at Wild Ride Brew on the way home. They have a nice tasting room but no restaurant, just four food trucks parked outside. We had Caribbean wraps from The Jerk King that were excellent, and Jim found his new favorite beer, Nut Crusher Peanut Butter Porter, while I liked the Dark Dynasty Belgian Dark Ale. We would definitely go there again.

Yesterday was cold and drizzly, but Jeanne and I decided to check out the Saturday farmer’s market while Jim ran some errands and took advantage of his Silver Sneakers membership to go work out at a gym. There were quite a few people at the market but I felt sorry for the vendors, especially the gelato guy, as it was not an ice cream kind of day.

No big plans for this coming week, but it’s supposed to be getting back into the 70s and 80s so we hope to get in some more biking, pickleball, and a hike or two, and I suspect there will be beer tasting.


  1. Temps in the 50s sound heavenly as we swelter in triple digits here in Northern Colorado - although wet and 40 sounds pretty miserable too. Smith Rock is gorgeous ! I imagine the snakes are all pretty slow and sleepy in those cold temps, not surprising that one stayed coiled up to stay warm.

  2. No wonder you never come east if Jim hates the woods. I was surprised at temps in the 50's, it sounded like everyone I read was sweltering. Beautiful hike and great pictures

  3. Perhaps some "tender strokes of vanilla" will soothe Jim's "crushed pea-nuts... "

    1. Half the fun of visiting all these breweries is reading the descriptions of the beers :-)

  4. I would love those temps in the 50''s hot in San Diego right now!

    Thanks for the pickleball info, that will be important to us as we consider Bend for living potential. I know they have a LOT of courts around there according to USAPA website.

    Smith Rocks is awesome!

    1. Bend looks like a great place for pickleball. We're trying some other courts today to see if it's more friendly for people just dropping in. The club is just not visitor friendly, but I'm sure it would be great if you lived here.

  5. I'll say you two have been busy. Beautiful hike. I wouldn't rock climb for anything! I am too much of a chicken.

  6. Great timing on your Bend posts, we'll be there later today! Beautiful hiking options, thanks!

    1. I also put a comment on your blog, but if you have time to meet up for a beer or something give us a shout.

  7. I am really surprised to read that your temps were that low. For some reason I thought Bend was rather hot in the summer staying in the 90's. We've only been to Bend once and just drove around a little on a motorcycle trip thinking we needed to come back and spent time. Well, hopefully, next spring it will be time finally:) I am anxious to hear if you still consider Bend a place to settle. We are constantly looking for that one day settlement spot.

    What a beautiful hike! Great photo looking back down the trail. Boy do I miss the rocks! I'm with Jim as far as trees go which is why I guess I love southern Utah so much. Hiking in the east is nothing but staring at tree trunks and the few views there are look at tree tops...not my idea of a view.

    That pb stout sounds yummy! Keep up the taste testing results:) Hope the weather improves for you.

    1. Pam, you would love the PB porter at Wild Ride. Better than Belching Beaver in our opinion.

      We really like Bend, but there are lots of trees. We met a guy who's lived in Bend for 2 years (came here from San Diego so he's biased about weather) who said he thinks Bend only has about 4 months of good weather. I know we won't find a place with great weather year round but I think we can tolerate desert heat better than snow and cold if we had to stay year round. Just not sure.

    2. Thanks! I will definitely have to try that beer when we get to Bend if it is better than Belching Beaver:) I don't like the heat or the snow!! We really need two places...maybe we can win the lottery:)

    3. Yeah, that's our problem. There is no one place that's good all year with the exception of San Diego, and we just can't take all the people and traffic there. Guess we'll just keep looking!

  8. Little hiking, no pickleball, only industrial beer here and I passed out on that trail last year.

  9. Thank you so much for revealing another intriguing spot for the bucket-list.

  10. I think I would welcome those temps after what we have had the past two days. Interesting approach to pickleball. We will definitely bring our paddles the next time we visit Bend. Love Crux Brewery. I think it was our favorite of the 4 we visited. And Smith Rock SP has been one of my favorite places to visit since our time on the road.

  11. love, love love the Bend area, so we hope we can find a spot there this summer for at least a few days if we are lucky enough

  12. Sounds like you're having a great time in beautiful Bend. I've never been to Smith Rock State Park. I'll have to put it on the list.

  13. Four months of good weather sounds excellent, we had about 3 weeks of "good weather" this spring and sprung right into 90 degree days earlier than normal this year in Wisconsin. Some lovely views in that area as well, I can see why it's tempting to stay!