Friday, August 10, 2012

Back to Bend

I love to visit the outdoor recreation mecca of Bend, Oregon.  I'll find any excuse to plan a trip here, even going so far as to sign up for a tough trail half marathon in the middle of summer.  So last weekend found me journeying to Central Oregon to run a race.

Size matters!  Click on any photo to enjoy a larger version.

Finally I get in a trailhead photo

Another good thing about visiting Bend - my brother Dale lives there.  Not only do I get to enjoy a great area, I get to see family too!

Beautiful Fall Creek

Bend in the summer is such a wonderful place, I wanted to take full advantage of my weekend there.  So I told Dale I wanted to go on a hike Saturday.  Never mind that I had a race the next day!

Crossing the log footbridge

My trail of choice - the Green Lakes Trail.  This lovely path follows Fall Creek, a clear stunning mountain stream that flows through a narrow canyon, creating several waterfalls along the way.  After four miles the trail terminates at the Green Lakes Basin, a large meadow with three charming lakes and stupendous views of South Sister Mountain.


The flowers were out

It was mid afternoon by the time we reached the trailhead.  Of course, I picked one of the hottest days so far this year and set out in the height of the heat.  But luckily this trail was heavily forested and we stayed relatively cool in the shade of the trees.

Churning water far below

Dale and his wife Nancy were enjoying a kid-free week (their boys were visiting grandma).  They joined me, along with their dog Domino, for the hike.

Domino enjoys a cool roll in a snow patch

For the first two miles, we followed Fall Creek, oohing and ahhing over the frothy waterfalls, and enjoying the cool breezes from their spray.

One of the lovely falls

After a trail junction with the Moraine Lake trail, we hit a couple of snow patches across the trail.  Nothing too difficult.  As a matter of fact, had fun throwing snowballs and cooling our hands.  And Domino happily rolled in the chilly slush.

Dale and Nancy enjoying themselves

The contrast between bright sunlight and dark shade meant tough photographic conditions.  Most of my creek and watefall photos weren't good enough to post here.  So you'll have to take my word for it when I say the first two miles were very scenic indeed.

Trail junction

After the trail junction, we came upon a dazzling green meadow.  The creek spread out and created a marshy area.

Beautiful green meadow

And this marshy area was full of frogs!  Nancy managed to catch a couple.

Nancy catches a frog!

Continuing on, the forest began to open up.  The very tip tops of Broken Top and South Sister peeped out from gaps in the trees.

River bends

But the clearings meant full sun.  The temps were quite a bit higher here.  Dale and Nancy ran out of water and began to tire. 

More snow play

So the decision was made to turn around about mile three.  Hunger was gnawing at our stomachs.  The promise of a burger and fries was good motivation.

The lupine were out in force

Luckily our return trip was mostly downhill.  And being later in the day, temps were beginning to cool off.

Glimpse of South Sister summit

And on the way back, I noticed a couple of mountain views I'd missed.  Must've been too busy gawking at the creek and waterfalls!

Broken Top Mtn view

Back at the trailhead, the evening light illuminated Broken Top perfectly.

Snow-less Mt. Bachelor

As we started our drive back into Bend, I spied this great view of Mt. Bachelor.  Dale humored me and pulled over so I could take a couple of shots.  This mountain looks so different when it's not covered with snow!

Although the Green Lakes basin would have to wait for another day, I enjoyed getting out and hiking someplace new.  Now it was time to prepare for my race.  Stay tuned, I'll have a full report in the next post.



  1. I have fallen in love with bend and wish it was closer. Great shots hope the race went well

  2. Beautiful hike! I could hear the water flowing, the old snow crunching, and smell the moisture. The photographs really took me there. Good luck on your race the next day :)

  3. Your hiking posts are always among my favorites. Loved the log bridge.


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