We got up early on a cold morning and left Eagle, Idaho and made our way to Sisters, Oregon. We were excited to finally get there since we have heard so much about the Sisters/Bend area. The temperatures were frigid so we did a quick setup in a beautiful campground on the edge of Sisters surrounded by trees. We hadn’t had lunch so we walked to a nearby brewery and had a quick bite to eat, and then headed back to the trailer to pick up Buddy and walk into town to see the main street. The old town is quaint and filled with some cute shops and some touristy stores as well.
The next day in Sisters was still cold in the morning but the temperatures did rise. However, the morning was filled with warmth because I was reunited with a dear friend who was my family’s Mary Poppins. When I was two years old my parents had a San Francisco State College student live in our house and was a “nanny”. Kathy has always been a special person to us all, and when I knew we would be in the area I reached out to her. We had a lovely hike around Suttle Lake. Kathy’s brother was in town too, so Ross and he chatted while Kathy and I talked non-stop (not hard to believe if you know me).
The area is beautiful and Kathy shared some more locations for us to see until we could meet again. Ross and I drove back into town and spent the afternoon walking around the shops, having a coffee and doing a little shopping. Sisters is a nice, quiet town and full of friendly people.
Because I am trying to keep up the painting in the late afternoon (which hasn’t been too successful) I sat by the creek at the campground and drew the charming covered bridge in preparation for a watercolor.
Kathy had recommended a hike to Ross and I for the following day in an area of Camp Sherman. The hike followed along the side of the Metolius River and was filled with beautiful views of the river, great shimmering light through the trees, and ended with a “waterfall” that came from a natural spring out of the side of a mountain . We started off near the Fish Hatchery (which unfortunately was closed due to Covid) which provided us with a glorious view of crystal clear vibrantly colored water. It turns out that this river is one of the largest spring fed rivers in the US. In the past there were some lava flows that left interesting islands and rock ledges along the way, so the water flowed in all different directions and patterns. If you happen to be in the area it is worth seeing and doing the hike.
After the hike we made the short drive over to Camp Sherman since we had heard that it was a charming area with a small store that was worth stopping in to see. Unfortunately the store was closed for the weekdays, but the area was very sweet and reminded me a bit of a summer camp feel similar to the old cabins we used to stay in at Yosemite as a kid.
The weather had started to warm up and the afternoon was beautiful, so Ross headed to the golf course and I pulled out my paints. We went to an area outside of Sisters called to Black Butte Ranch which is a very appealing planned community with views to die for. I was able to do a fast painting of the Three Sisters (which are some of the mountains nearby). The painting needs some touch ups since the sun set and it was getting cold. It was time to head back to the warm Airstream for some chicken soup!
The following day Kathy and her brother Terry took us on a driving tour of some areas of Bend, Oregon. The amount of building and growth here is a bit overwhelming and reminded me of what has been happening in the Front Range of Colorado. After driving through the outskirts of Bend we ended up hiking in the Deschutes Forest in an area called Lava Island. It was another beautiful trail following along the Deschutes river. We then headed into Bend to see the downtown area and have lunch. Bend had a nice downtown with some charming shops and a nice area surrounding the river that cuts through the center.
Upon several peoples recommendations we headed to Smith Rock State Park, North West of Redmond. What an unexpected treasure. The drive to Smith Rock was pretty unexceptional, and then all of the sudden rock formations appeared from nowhere. It turned out that this area is a world renown rock climbing location and was filled with rock climbers. Look closely at some of these photos and you can see the rock climbers as specks on these rock formations. They were amazing to watch! One of the distinct rock structures is called Monkey Face which we also thought it looked like it had a turtle face as well.
We did a hike that went down into the canyon and followed the river and then we climbed up and over the rock formations. It was steep hike with lots of switch backs and incredible views.
That evening we spent having a great homecooked meal at Kathy’s house . It was wonderful to spend the evening with she and her brother, and the first time since March had been in someone else’s house. It was worth the risk and so nice to feel normal for an evening. Covid sure has made interacting with people difficult.
Our last day in Sisters was spent closer to the trailer. We did a lovely dog walk with Buddy at some nearby trails, and then Ross and I went on a mountain bike ride. Right near our campground there was a huge network of mountain biking trails which we had fun exploring and fortunately for me, they weren’t too technical.
We departed early in the morning on the 31st and headed to Crater Lake National Park. I had been there as a kid and it was just as beautiful as I had remembered. The color of the water is stunning and the realization that this area was a volcano that basically sank into this caldera is incredible. It is the deepest lake in the US, and 9th in the world, and is estimated to be filled with 5 trillion gallons of water.
The joy having our home with us is that we were able to pull over at a scenic overlook and have lunch with a view. Even Buddy was awestruck with the vista!
After spending a few hours enjoying the views and doing a rim walk we hopped back into the car and continued south through some beautiful forested roads and ended up at Lake Selmac. We setup in a quiet treed area, and then walked out to the lake and we felt like we were “On Golden Pond”. What a peaceful location!
The following morning we awoke to a fog filled scene that quickly lifted and then we departed for California. Next stop is the Redwoods of Northern California.