We arrived in Bend to sunny skies and warm temperatures. After getting set up in our beautiful site at Crown Villa RV Resort, we spent some time sitting outside enjoying a cold adult beverage.
But the next morning things changed dramatically, with cloudy skies and cold temperatures covering the area. We needed a little exercise so we drove down to Riverbend Park for a walk along the beautiful Deschutes River.
It was a bit cool with a strong wind in our faces as we started out. The walk was proceeding nicely when suddenly we became aware of little flakes of white coming down out of the trees. OK, time to turn around and head back!
The storm passed and things quickly began to improve.
As we headed back to the north the sun appeared and things warmed a bit. We crossed the river and passed a nice metal sculpture of two horses pulling a log. The scene was to honoring Bend’s history as a lumber mill center
Three tall smoke stacks are all that remain of two large lumber mills that straddled the river a hundred years ago.
The weather remained cold and windy for the next few days. One morning we looked out the window to the scene below. That night the ski resort on nearby Mt. Bachelor was expecting 8.5 inches of new snow!
We finally got some sunshine on Monday, although it was still cold and windy. We took advantage of the clear skies to visit the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, located about ten miles south of Bend. The ranger at the gate recommended we begin our visit with a ride up to the top of Lava Butte. Lava Butte is a cinder cone volcano that rises 500 feet above the entrance and nearby visitor center. It can be accessed by either vehicle or hiking up a paved road. Interpretive signs, views of the surrounding lava flow and mountains, and an active fire lookout are found on top.
Returning to the visitor center we met a volunteer ranger who also lives full time in an RV. Since he and his wife are also retired educators, we spend some time exchanging stories. One of the places in the monument he told us about is the Lava Cast Forest. To get to that section of the monument we drove about five miles south on US-97, then nine miles east on a dirt road that ended in a small parking area.
Lava Cast Forest contains a 6,000-year-old lava flow that created casts of ancient trees.
A one mile paved loop trail takes you through the lava cast area.
Flowing lava, like any liquid, takes the path of least resistance. When it runs into high ground it will try to go around it, creating an island in the forest. These islands are known by their Hawaiian name, Kipukas.
At one time some of the lava casts were quite high, but the elements of nature and human abuse have caused many to lose their high tops.
Returning to the Jeep we drove about a mile back down the dirt road to take a short, two mile round trip hike on the Hoffman Island Trail.
The trail was an easy hike on what appeared to be an old logging road.
Apparently the rangers haven’t been out to check this trail yet, as we encountered a number of newly fallen trees across our path.
The forecast is for a couple more cold, wet days ahead, but then things should improve. Once that happens we’ll be able to get out a bit more and explore this beautiful area.
More on that later . . .