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Posts Tagged ‘smith rock state park’

Once a week or so, a chore day must be established. Wednesday was that day. Had to do a large grocery shop as Bend is the largest, cheapest city we will be in for quite a while. Also had to find a Laundromat. That sounds easy, right? Not so. The city of Bend is bendy with traffic-filled streets going off in all directions, but there’s only a few places where you can cross the Deschutes River that runs through town. As we drove through the downtown area, we saw something that reminded us of home. At first glance, it was a large woman playing banjo on a corner. At second glance, it was a man in a backless dress with a very deep voice. The Garmin showed nothing for laundromats. We found a couple of dry cleaners and one of them gave us an accurate location for a Laundromat. She must have seen the frustration on my face because the Laundromat she sent us to was attached to a bar. Promptly at eleven a.m. the double doors between the washers, dryers and the tavern were unlocked and we were free to imbibe as we laundered. Alas, I had to go grocery shopping. Somehow, Dave managed to resist having an early beer. Another guy doing his laundry was banned from the bar. Apparently, he kept sneaking his own beer into the cool, dark tavern.

After all that, it was early afternoon, and after unloading everything and a short rest, we headed off to walk a trail along the Deschutes River, a little south of town. Right after we turned off the highway, we saw our first coyote of the trip, a healthy-looking specimen. We weren’t expecting much, but it was a lovely, verdant, tree-heavy area on our side of the river. The other side consisted of dark, jagged lava. The river varied from very calm to very turbulent. The Big Eddy was a really bumpy area of water. Always liking the various moods of water, we had a great time.

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Thursday, we went to a place recommended by the Visitor Center, Smith Rock State Park. (It’s amazing how you can get such good help from some Visitor Centers. I told the lady we were interested in waterfalls and hiking, and she gave us some great leads.) When you arrive and go to a lookout, you stare down at the Crooked River and up at Smith Rock which is a huge jagged formation, reminiscent of Pinnacles or Garden of the Gods. The weather report mentioned clouds and possible sprinkles but it was sunny and warm when we started the hike on the Misery Trail. Too bad, because we descended steeply down to the river, crossed the bridge and immediately began to climb 700 feet of switchbacks and stairs. The payoff came with a great lookout that allowed us to view about 180 degrees of the surrounding countryside for at least 30 miles.

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We crossed over to the west side of the ridge and there were the snow-topped Cascades in all their majesty, looking dark and moody in heavy cloud cover. From there it was all downhill on a steep, slide-y, gravelly trail. We eventually got down to river level again and meandered along, looking at Canadian Geese, red-winged blackbirds and rock climbers. Smith Rock is a climber’s paradise and we saw about 30 people on or at the base of the steep cliffs.

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We got ourselves back up from the river to the car, ate our Dare chocolate cookies with lukewarm coffee and moved on. My next planned stop was Petersen’s Rock Garden in Redmond. It’s described as “…4 acres of intricately detailed miniature castles, towers and bridges made of agate, jasper, obsidian, etc….There are free-roaming peacocks.” We found the place…..closed. Open only on weekends. Damn! There was an area where I could see the grounds and we forlornly took a few pictures and went back to camp.

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