Saturday, February 11, 2012

Discovering Bend

Our vacation to Bend was so incredible that I literally didn't want to leave. That happens often with vacations, but this time, I actually wanted to move there. And still do. If we could find work, we'd be packing tomorrow.

Our hotel was right along the Deschutes River, and we ate breakfast (and had a fantastic dinner at their steakhouse the first night) right by the river. It was beautiful.

A short jaunt from our hotel:

And a shot of the bridge at our hotel and the hotel on the right — told you it was right on the river.

To wake up our low-lander lungs, we hit Pilot Butte for a hike on Sunday. It's very popular because of its great, short hike (there were a lot of locals just exercising), and well, the view at the top.

This shot exists basically because we were masking the need to take a break. Nothing like a hike to expose the fact that you don't live above sea level. These are some mountains in Eastern Oregon, and some residential areas of Bend (Pilot Butte is a cinder cone that's right in the middle of town).

Further up, we spotted Mount Hood up by Portland. Quite a few hours away, and it still dominates the skyline. What a mountain.

And the true reason for Pilot Butte — the incredible view of the closer Cascade Mountains. On the left is Mount Bachelor (which we'll be visiting later), the middle mountains are the Three Sisters, and the one on the right that looks like multiple mountains is Broken Top.

A better view of the Three Sisters and Broken Top:

And Mount Bachelor:

This guy is the reason Pilot Butte was saved for a state park, and it's a really nice one. Bricked platform at the top, bathrooms and handicapped people can even drive up there. Click on this one so you can read it though — it's pretty funny, which is why there's a photo to begin with.

Looking east again — no idea what the mountains are out there because there are just so many and they kind of look the same from such a distance:

Pilot Butte also has great benches (or I guess one giant bench in a circle) to sit and take in the view, so that's exactly what we did. Breathing in the mountain air on a day like that was invigorating — I had missed that.

Up close of Broken Top — pretty spectacular, isn't it?

And here's a compass that listed all the mountains (and buttes, which can kind of be more like large hills) that were visible in a 360-degree view:

Needless to say, I wanted to buy a house at the base of Pilot Butte and never leave. I could walk this every day and never get tired of that view. But there's plenty more exploring to come!

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