I’ve visited Bend a few times before – enjoying backpacking in the sisters, climbing at Smith Rock and visiting some local breweries but knew this place had a lot more to offer. Doing some legwork revealed a number of interesting photographic opportunities with a few miles of snoeshowing… however, the weather didn’t quite cooperate. It seems like the upper level trough pattern has continued through the winter and into the majority of April, bringing in system after system into the NW (including a shit-load of snow in Tahoe, if you haven’t been paying attention). There’s a few shots, but nothing that seemed awesome at the time and have yet to download.
Most of the time the past few days have been spent exploring the local countryside for good photographic compositions, camping, a fair amount of coding, and today a visit to the slopes of Mount Bachelor. Still unsure how well it would go with the ankle still not back 100%, I headed up the lift. Overall I consider it a success – I was certainly not at my usual level of ability, but I did a number of runs without injury or significant pain; things improved a bit after a warmup run and stretch. Plus I got to see Bachelor, which was a far bigger mountain then I had initially realized and pretty awesome considering it’s proximity to town. I wonder how crowded this place gets on the weekends in peak season…
Other things included a obligatory visit to Deschutes, along with a few new ones. My favorites by far, were Crux Fermentation Project and Immersion Brewing. At Immersion, I can’t recall the last time I had a Belgian strong and actually really enjoyed it. On top of that, all of their other styles (oatmeal stout, saison, pale) were solid deliverers. I don’t know too many breweries that can offer similarly-constant performance across this wide of an array. My only disappointments were that I just missed the short-release sour by a few days (will have to visit Cascade to rectify) and the fact they don’t bottle or distribute! I could get a growler, but a lot of good that would do sitting in a car while camping… it’s not that cold here during the day. Apparently they are a few player to the scene and plan to bottle within a few months. I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled. And as for Crux, they have such an interesting array of barrel-aged brews and saisons (sometimes both) that words simply cannot describe. So much character and unique flavors.
Next stop will be hopefully some nice wildflowers at the Columbia River Gorge… it seems peak bloom is right around the corner and with good sun finally in the forecast for awhile, it will be fun to find out and explore.