Bend and Cascade Lakes

Bend is the largest city in Central Oregon, beginning its history in roughly 1900 when it was important in the logging industry.  It is located on the eastern edge of the Cascade Range mountains where forests of Ponderosa Pine transition into high desert country.  Today, the population is around 80,000, and I’m sure that during my two-day visit I personally saw at least every other inhabitant engaged in cycling, running, skating, kayaking, swimming and hiking despite the hot weather!  Bend is THE place for outdoorsy active people and you can really tell!  I was impressed.  The setting with views of the mountains is lovely, and tourism is an important source of income today.  Amazingly, there is also an extinct volcanco in the city.  Among residential neighborhoods there sits a cinder cone (like Wizard Island in Crater Lake) of 480 feet (150 m) named Pilot Butte.

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View from Pilot Butte. Far left: Mount Bachelor. Far right: South Sister, with Broken Top second from right. The morning temperature rapidly rose as we trekked up a dusty trail to get to this viewpoint. I had brought water for Blanca, but she still had a hard time with the heat and the hot sand on her feet. During our strenuous ascent, there were many people of the young and also the white-haired variety who were RUNNING past us up the trail, with water bottles in hand! One girl even stopped to kindly ask if Blanca needed some water, which really moved me.

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A wooden apartment complex being built near Pilot Butte.

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Cascade Lakes Highway, looking at South Sister (left) and Broken Top (right). I was staying with friends in Bend, and they suggested I explore the Cascade Lakes and get out of the heat for the day. This is a mere 40-minute drive from the city. Note the hardy cyclist approaching.

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It was great advice and we had a wonderful day up here, where other escapees from the heat had also found refuge. This is Elk Lake.

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South Sister above Elk Lake. The Three Sisters are three volcanoes, each exceeding 10,000 feet (3000 m).

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Hanging out at Elk Lake Resort, Mount Bachelor in the background. While I was taking this photo, I didn’t even realize that the man had seen me and was giving me a thumbs up! I had a marvelous chocolate chip mint ice cream at this resort.

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The increasingly popular sport of paddle-boarding. Blanca indulged in the popular sport among hot dogs of immersing her belly in the cool water.

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Elk Lake Marina.

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Mount Bachelor is another volcano near the Three Sisters with an elevation of 9068 feet (2764 m). It is entirely covered in ash from the cataclysmic eruption of former Mount Mazama about 100 miles (160 km) away that led to the formation of Crater Lake. Mount Bachelor is a popular ski area.

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I spotted a photographer in the wild. It looked like there might have been some macrophotography going on here, perhaps of flowers or insects.

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A lone paddle-boarder on Devils Lake. This lake has the most extraordinary green color, which is very distracting as you’re driving right past it on Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway.

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On this nice spot along Sparks Lake, we settled down and spent several hours lazily napping and enjoying the scenery. Note the cluster of trees growing at the water’s edge.

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There just happened to be a woodpecker’s nest in those trees, and my presence didn’t seem to slow down the parental snack delivery service. Here a parent is having a look around before leaving the nest for another food run.

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I believe they were Hairy Woodpeckers, which would make this the female.

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Surely, this water must’ve tasted really good!

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There were other people around the lake. This young man had waded into the lake with some friends. Then, he sat at the bottom of the tree and suddenly was gripped by his inner Tarzan and climbed up the tree to get a look around. Fortunately, my camera was ready by my side as I had been waiting for the woodpeckers!

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Time for another belly cooling! Since I had seen the other people wading into the lake, I followed suit and got in above my knees while wearing my jeans. Following the dusty trip up Pilot Butte, they needed a rinse anyway. It felt so good!!

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The wonderful thing about a new environment is that you experience everything with heightened awareness. Blanca is also curious about new places and happily explores. I can only imagine what olfactory snapshots she collects from our trips. Well, I wish I could imagine … I really can’t!

I did get some video of her in the lake.  She didn’t quite want to come in as deep as I was.  If you are receiving this gazette via email, you may have to click on the URL link at the bottom of the mail, just before the “Comment” button, in order to see the post on my website, where this YouTube video will play when clicked:

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I also took some family photos for my friends. Little Marley is a happy girl.

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On daddy’s shoulders.

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It was a wonderful visit in Bend. Next stop: Petersen Rock Garden.

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