Monday, August 20, 2007

Mt. Hood and Bend, Oregon

After Olympic NP, we headed down through Southern Washington into Oregon and drove along the Columbia River to Hood River. Hood River is a cool town/valley area with a lot of fruit farms, B&Bs and outdoor sporting opportunities. It also has a great view of Mt. Hood which is about 20 miles South. We camped on Wednesday night along the Columbia River in a state park that was decent, with the exception of the freight trains coming through every 30 minutes and the strong gusty winds that actually lifted our tent up in the middle of the night and almost carried us away. On Thursday we headed up to Mt. Hood, checked out the Timberline Lodge and Ski area which is so far up the mountain you drive above the tree line and get some great glacier views; it was cold, about 50 degrees and windy. After a gross, but delicious chili dog from the ski lodge, we headed back down the mountain and over to Bend Oregon. Bend is a cool little town that seems to be quite up and coming with the richie riches from California who summer there and winter in Palm Springs. We stopped and had some beers in the Deschutes Brewery which is one of the main microbrews found in the Northwest (Mirror Pond, etc.). On Thursday night we camped in another state park, did some grocery shopping and made a good meal. Since Bend is on the Eastern side of the Cascade range it gave us a flavor for the terrain in central Oregon which is dry and sunny almost all year long.

On Friday morning we got up early, headed out of Bend and back into the Cascade range to meet up with Sara’s second cousin Greg and his wife Melanie for some mountain biking. After grabbing a few spots at a campground along the Mackenzie River, we drove into Eugene and hit the local Trader Joes, Sara was excited. We spent the afternoon lounging around the campground and the beautiful Mackenzie River which has spectacular scenery and the clearest river water we have seen yet. That evening Greg, Melanie, and Greg’s friend Joe rolled in. After getting reacquainted (Sara had not seen Greg since she was probably 7 years old), we made a great dinner and sat around the campfire enjoying some fine Northwest microbrew until the wee hours.

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