Parts West (Part 3)

Day 2 of our trip into Oregon we had to wake up early as we were scheduled to go river rafting trip down the Deschutes River. The half day trip was with the River Drifters out of Maupin, Oregon. This was my first ever river rafting trip and, as you can imagine, I was very excited. I didn’t bring my camera as I don’t have a waterproof one. The photo was taken by one of their photographers who set up alongside the river to catch us as we go by. The weather was perfect and although the water was cold (for a Floridian/Alabamian) it wasn’t too bad as the air temperature was in the 80s. I was quite comfortable. We all enjoyed our trip – I had a blast. They are very kid friendly and allowed the young ones to “ride the bull” by sitting on the bow as we rode through the rapids. Our guide, Jada, was quite knowledgeable.

That’s me in the bright green shirt on top.

We returned to Bingen and relaxed the rest of the afternoon. Day 3 we packed our gear and headed to our next stop. Sisters, Oregon. On the way, we stopped at a U-Pick cherry farm. I was like a kid in a candy shop. I love cherries and I loved picking my own. Here are some photos of that.

Bing Cherries
They also had apple trees
I know, I was being careful but I wanted to reach the best, ripest cherries
View of Mount Hood from the U-Pick Farm

On our way to our vacation home rental in Sisters, we stopped along the way. Trillium Lake in the Mount Hood National Forest and Smith Rock State Park.

View of Mount Hood on our way to Sisters
We stopped at Trillium Lake in the Mount Hood National Forest.
We live in such a beautiful country. Being able to see it and enjoy it makes me very happy and it makes me doubly happy to have spent it with my daughter, son in law and my beautiful grand children.
Next stop was Smith Rock State Park
We went for a hike. I’m bringing up the rear.
Smith Rock State Park. We hiked down one of the trails to get to the Crooked River. I think we ended up making our own path at some point.
Crawdad in the Crooked River
Thanks for the photo Kim. I love it.
Again, thanks for the photo Kim. Athena and I trying not to slip on one of the rocks.
Some of the beautiful wildflowers at Smith Rock State Park

The vacation home that my daughter and son in law chose for us to stay it was out of this world amazing. Sisters, Oregon is such a beautiful area.

Vacation rental in Sisters, Oregon
Amazing wildflowers in the back yard
Xeriscape in the back yard
Doe jumped the fence into the back yard
View of Black Butte from our vacation rental in Sisters. Sunsetting behind Black Butte. A 4 mile hike out and back, listed as a moderate hike. There is an elevation change of 1,550 feet (you start at 4,886 feet at the trailhead and you are at 6,436 feet at the summit). I never in my life thought I could do this, but I did. The most difficult for me was coming back down. My knees just wouldn’t cooperate.
The trail up to the summit of Black Butte. The wildflowers were magnificent.
I made it. My feet hurt but my knees were screaming in pain once I started going back down. If someone had offered me knee replacement surgery at that moment, I would have succumbed. The fire tower in the background is the one you can see in the sunset photo above.
As I reached the summit, it started to sprinkle. My poor shoes never lived another day. I bought another pair the next day in Bend, Oregon.
Enjoying the hot tub with the grands. A very welcome respite after climbing to the summit of Black Butte (yes, that is a glass of wine in my hand). I earned it!!

Points West (Part 2)

After leaving Portland we headed east on I-84 following the Columbia River Gorge. We were going to stop at Multnomah Falls but there were signs that the park was at full capacity. It was the 4th of July weekend. Our next stop was at the Bridge of the Gods. You get to walk across this fairly narrow bridge (you share the road with vehicles going in opposite directions) crossing from Oregon into Washington. You have to walk single file across the bridge facing traffic and then return doing the same thing. The bridge is very high (141 feet approximately above the river). There was a constant wind blowing through the gorge. If you’re afraid of heights it can be a bit jarring looking through the grates or over the edge as you walk across. The bridge is also a part of the PCT (Pacific Coast Trail). We met a couple who were walking the trail on their way through to the Canadian border.

Bridge of the Gods looking towards Oregon from the Washington State side
Looking west through the Columbia River Gorge (sternwheeler boat heading east) and the Cascade Mountain backdrop
Looking east from the bridge
Sternwheeler heading up the Columbia River
This couple were hiking the PCT (her name, she said, is Train Wreck). I didn’t get his name)
a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail crosses the Bridge of the Gods.

Next stop was Viento State Park to stretch our legs. We saw lots of windsurfers fighting the wind coming through the Gorge.

Viento State Park, Oregon
She was a little thing, I can’t believe who strong she was as I watched her fight the wind and then hauling the board and sail back on to shore.
Impressive athlete

We continued on to Hood River, which is a very vibrant, modern, touristy town. We walked around for a bit and then headed across the Hood River Bridge, back into Washington State to our next stop. We were scheduled to spend a couple of nights at The Society Hotel in Bingen, Washington.

The Society Hotel had only been open for a few weeks before we arrived. It is a newly converted schoolhouse with a brand new spa. It’s off the beaten path and a nice change from the overcrowded, commercial Hood River. Very relaxing and comfortable. This would be the first of several beautiful places Kim and Aaron chose for us to stay that were outstanding.

Tomorrow we would need to wake up early and travel back over into Oregon to Maupin to go white river rafting on the Deschute River. It would be a long but adventurous day.