We had a very important spring break to take this year to the PNW so we could scope out locations that may be good to live in the future when dad is done serving in the Army and retires into the civilian world. Of top priority for us is close access to public land, because we really like to be outside enjoying nature (which should be obvious to anyone that follows my blog!). So while the main objective of the trip was the Seattle suburbs (well wayyyy EAST suburbs) we knew we also had to revisit Bend, Oregon which is surrounded by more than a million acres of the Deschutes National Forest. We had driven through Bend on our cross-country move, but literally only drove through it, camping south of town on what may have been the hottest (and most mosquito-ridden) campsite of our entire trip. We escaped Bend for the coast and a huge sigh of relief, but momma felt we never gave Bend a fair look and wanted us to go back.
We woke up early Saturday of spring break week and headed north. We took a short hour-long hike in Shasta-Trinity National Forest on the way, which is a part of California we really haven’t spent too much time exploring (yet!).
As you can see, we found an awesome area to run around, stretch our legs and take pictures 🙄.
We got back on the road but were almost too early to arrive in Bend for check-in, so momma found a Sno-Park just outside town with a few trails we could go explore. She and dad had traveled that day in jeans, so not the most technically appropriate clothes for snowshoe hiking, but it was quite nice and warm. As you can see, there was a fair bit of snow up there as well!
We hiked all the way up to Paulina Lake from the Sno-Park. Momma was envisioning a view down into a brilliant blue volcanic lake, which is why we went ALL the way up the trail. I’m not sure why she thought that was what we would see since she did exactly zero research 😂 so imagine her surprise when after all that climbing we got to this:
Yes, like any other lake you’d find anywhere that has fir trees nearby. It was still a lovely and long time to get outside, although we quickly realized that my remaining toes that had very little fur on them post-surgery were getting rubbed raw with the crunchy snow. This meant I needed to be back in a sock to prevent additional problems from cropping up.
It was a good thing the clocks had already spring forward, because we used every last bit of daylight before making it back to the car to get to our hotel.
Speaking of hotels, we had a great time at our dog-friendly LOGE Entrada, which itself was on the boundary of the Deschutes National Forest, offering trails from the door and a hammock for momma and Lolo to cuddle in 😂🙄.
Sunday morning we decided to take advantage of the trails, and headed right into the Deschutes to hike along the river. The trails were mostly packed down enough that momma and dad did not need to wear snowshoes, which they both were happy about after the long snowshoe yesterday.
The river was absolutely stunning. It was clear and colorful and full of twists and turns, rapids and pools. We were amazed at how relatively few people we saw for the hours we spent here!
Of those we did see, almost all had puppers with them and everyone was having an amazing time and were so happy, like Lolo 😂
Eventually we decided to turn around so that we could check out another part of Bend, because honestly we could have just done this all day, but this trip was also a mission and we had to still spend time doing that!
After spending a few minutes recovering (and putting on dry socks for momma) we headed east of the city to do another hike where there was a lot less snow, but a lot more bunnies!
Lolo and I had a grand time in the high desert juniper forest, a landscape we also love in California on the east side of the Sierra. Lolo suffered his only injury of the trip out here though when he stepped in some fire ants! He ran over to momma right away for her help in getting them off of him 🐜🐜🐜.
Literally, my face here says it all, it was just the most fun, especially after a morning snowshoe. I’m not as graceful as Lolo in the snow, he can effortlessly run across even the softest of snow. I, on the other hand, posthole endlessly which can be really exhausting. So these solid ground breaks in the snow are a lovely reprieve for me!
We made it back into town in time to see a stunning sunset behind Mount Bachelor, pick up a pizza, and make a plan for trying to cram 2 more hikes into a drive day before leaving Bend.
So we got up SUPER early to go snowshoeing because momma wanted to see Mount Bachelor. However, we realized the Sno-Park momma wanted us to hike from was on the north side of the highway, and therefore considered off-limits to dogs for the season.
Lucky for us there was a Sno-Park on the other side of the highway. We didn’t know if we would get any views, but it was dark, early and cold so why not just go for it, right?!
We started heading west from the car as daddy suggested and climbed up, up, up when suddenly there was Mount Bachelor! Momma was so excited to get to see it on foot. For some reason, seeing things on foot means a lot more to her than seeing things from the car.
Perhaps it is so she can take pictures with us 😂. We had a nice couple of hours of complete quiet out here as no-one else had the same plan as us for their Monday morning. We headed back down the hill to pack up at the hotel and grab some coffee since we still had another Bend must-see to do before heading up to Washington.
We easily found Smith Rock just outside of Bend, which was beautiful with a bit of snow still. The weather here was mostly grey with a few beautiful peeks of sunshine and blue sky to make nice pictures with.
We opted to do the river walk to where we could get a good view of the famous Monkey Rock. It was a lovely walk that took us a couple of hours and on which we again saw only a handful of people.
Back before Lolo and I came along, our momma and daddy used to do a lot of climbing. So they did a lot of oooohing and ahhhhing at all the climbing routes here at Smith Rock, dreaming themselves at one day getting to climb for themselves here.
This hike was the first hike we had to do on leash in a few days, so it wasn’t the most fun for us. Although most people with dogs just had them off leash and put them back on as we approached. This is what we also do in areas we know a bit better too, but a friend advised us that the park was very strict about leashes. I’m not so sure about that! But for once momma and daddy followed the rules. Probably mostly so they could look at all the rocks.
We eventually made our way back to the car and prepared to head up into Washington, where we would be staying in the town of North Bend for most of the rest of the trip. It was the first time Lolo, myself, or momma would be in Washington so we were rather quite excited! Although we had such a great time in Bend, we maybe will have to try and spend a long weekend up there again, it was just so much fun for us and we only saw the tiniest fraction of it!