While my parents were in town, we wanted to show off our latest love: Bend, Oregon. It’s directly east of Eugene, just on the other side of the Cascades.
We took the McKenzie Pass (a road that cuts through the mountains and is only open late June-October) to get to Bend, but first we drove just a bit out of the way on the McKenzie Highway to see Sahalie Falls. It’s a beautiful waterfall just off the road, with a really short walk down to the viewpoint.
From the waterfall, we backtracked a bit to take the McKenzie Pass over to Bend. It’s a pretty curvy road, so let the passenger most likely to get carsick sit up front (if you happen to know weak folks like me).
We stopped at the summit of the McKenzie Pass to take in the views of the Oregon Cascades at Dee Wright Observatory, a crazy structure made of lava rock with windows labeling each peak you can see.
We arrived in Bend on a 90-something degree afternoon with plans to float down the Deschutes River. Little did we know that’s what everyone else in Bend was doing that day. I guess that’s what you get when it’s super warm on a holiday weekend. But it was completely glorious, despite the crowds.
We followed these really great directions for where to get in and out of the water (in at Riverbend Park, out at Drake Park), and had the most relaxing 3-ish mile float down the Deschutes. We just used some inexpensive Target/Wal-Mart tubes (reusing our tubes from last summer’s float down the Coast Fork of the Willamette with Becca), but some people had some pretty nice looking tubes with headrests. And the most brilliant folks brought air mattresses.
No matter what flotation device you use, definitely wear some kind of shoe (Chacos are your best friend in this case). You have to get out of the river at one point to walk around a spillway and bridge (there are tons of signs marking where to exit), so some shoes for the muck and the rocks are a great idea.
Did I mention that you can see snow-capped mountains?
When the geese get really close to your float, just shriek quietly, take deep breaths, and kick away as quickly as possible. Or play it cool like the rest of the folks in the river. Whatever you think makes you look less like a crazy person.
It took us a little over an hour to float the whole thing, and had we not needed to drive 2.5 hours back home, I would’ve floated that river all day long. It was that delightful.
Instead, I settled for some delicious pizza at 10 Barrel, just a few blocks from our float’s end.
We returned home to Eugene to sweat it out in our super hot apartment (whoever thought air conditioning wasn’t a necessity in a place with 90-something degree days is not my friend).