The special visitor I alluded to in my last post was my daughter Chantal, who drove over from Roseburg to spend five nights with us. We loved showing her some of our favorite sights in the area.
It's impossible to drive through central Oregon on highway 97 without noticing the abundance of volcanic activity that shaped the current terrain. Newberry National Volcanic Monument, just south of Bend, is a great place to learn about the forces that created this unique landscape.
|Chantal shows off a beautiful piece of obsidian on the Big Obsidian Flow, one of the highlights of a tour of |
Newberry National Volcanic Monument.
|Love the iridescent shine on a chunk of obsidian!|
|There's an excellent view of the Newberry Caldera from the top of Paulina Peak.|
The 17 square mile caldera contains the Big Obsidian Flow seen here.
|Mother and daughter framed by the fabulous Newberry Caldera.|
Newberry volcano spreads some 1,200 square miles across central Oregon and is still seismically and geothermally active. Numerous cinder cones and vents dot the landscape, one of which is Lava Butte just south of Bend and home of the Lava Lands Visitor Center. You can drive to the top of the butte and take in expansive views of the area as well as hike an interpretive trail through the 7,000 year old lava flow.
|A cloud mimics steam rising from Lava Butte.|
|Views of the Cascade Mountains from the lava trail.|
Another favorite place to explore near Bend is Smith Rock State Park. (Here's a link to my post about Smith Rock from our visit in 2013.) The scenery is stunning, the hiking can be as easy or as hard as you desire, and it's great fun to watch the rock climbers too.
|Even on a week day morning there were climbers on this rock face...|
|Fascinating to watch!|
|Words are not necessary...|
|Here we have completed the easy trail along Crooked River and are about to head up over Misery Ridge.|
Notice the pillar of rock above Chantal's left shoulder, that's Monkey Face.
|There happens to be a bunch of climbers on Monkey Face on this day!|
|As we hike around the back of Monkey Face we got to see a climber rappelling down.|
|A group of climbers scale Monkey Face while we enjoy the amazing views atop Misery Ridge.|
|The trail down the other side of Misery Ridge.|
One of many breweries we visited during our month in central Oregon, Wild Ride Brewing was an easy stop in Redmond on our way home from Smith Rock.
We bid Chantal good bye and spent our final week in Bend exploring new-to-us places. Bessie Butte and Boyd Cave are just two of many trails accessed from China Hat Rd, just a few miles south of Crown Villa RV Resort.
|Boyd Cave is a lava tube cave.|
|View of Horse Butte and the Three Sisters from the high desert south of Bend.|
We spent one day mountain biking along the Deschutes River from one of the many trails accessed off Century Drive.
|Biking along the Deschutes River.|
One cool day we headed east on highway 20 to the Oregon Badlands, high desert filled with ancient junipers and lava mounds. Our destination was Flatiron Rock, an easy hike to an interesting lava flow.
|Magnificent old junipers dot the landscape.|
|Flatiron rock is actually a quarter mile long lava moat jutting out of the surrounding desert.|
Though I have no photos, I want to mention a few really tasty meals and venues we've enjoyed in Bend.
The Sparrow Bakery located in the Old Iron Works Art District on Scott Street serves up delicious baked goods; the Ocean Roll is highly recommended. Also worth a look are the unique art shops in this plaza.
Jackson's Corner restaurant was recommended to us by locals and did not disappoint. Fresh and inventive pizza, pasta and salad's are served up in a sweet rustic country-style setting. It's popular so there could be a line and a wait on busy days.
Thanks to a tip from locals we also visited the Broom Closet at McMenamin's Old St Francis School. This cool speakeasy is hidden away in the new Art House hotel building on the McMenamin's property, half the fun is finding this bar! We also discovered a secret room on the first floor of this building...