Vacation Day #1 – Deschutes River Trail & Benham Falls Hike

Hike Distance: 7.2 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 975.4 miles

Elevation Gain: 589 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 127758 feet

It’s the first day of our vacation and our base camp is at the Best Western motel in La Pine, Oregon.    We decided to start out by driving to Sisters, Oregon and eating at our favorite Italian restaurant; RSpot!  The food was outstanding, as usual and we both cleaned our plates.  We both admitted to eating too much but we couldn’t help ourselves.  This turned out to be a big mistake as later in the day we both had stomach issues.  The stomach issues didn’t stop us from hiking but I sure had pretty bad chest pains.  We should have known better than to stuff ourselves with this rich food early in the day. 😦

We typically don’t hike very far on a travel day and today was not exception.  Deciding to hike the Deschutes River Trail, near Bend, Oregon was definitely a smart move in this heat.  The trail was rather crowded, but then what popular trail wouldn’t be once all the schools let out for the summer.

We drove to the Benham Falls trailhead, which turned out to be a different location than expected.  It didn’t really matter much as this parking area was only a few tenths of a mile from the falls.  We headed north from the parking area and took photos at the benham Falls overlook, and the falls are spectacular!

Next, we continued north in hopes of connecting up with a hike we made on the previous vacation.  The first part of the trail gave us spectacular views of the turbulent waters of the Deschutes River.  The second half of the hike had views that were more serene and peaceful.  The river is much slower flowing and looked like a good place for kayaks and drift boats.  There was also some nice views of the snow capped peaks of the Centrail Oregon Cascades!

If you ever want a nice hike in the Sunriver/Bend, Oregon area then this is one trail that needs to be on the radar!  A fantastic day, other than the stomach issues. 🙂

Battleground Lake State Park Hike

Hike Distance: 6.2 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 968.2 miles

Elevation Gain: 842 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 127169 feet

Distance remaining to hike a distance halfway around the earth: 17.5 miles

A beautiful hot and humid day at Battleground Lake State Park.  School ended the day before this and so the lake itself was very crowded.  I quickly took some pictures of the lake and then headed out on the trail system.

Not surprisingly, the trail system was almost devoid of people! 🙂  I only saw one hiker and a couple of people on horseback.  The solitude was amazing.

I looped around the outer periphery of the park and then looped around near to the Upper Lake Trail.  The trail was in great condition but I still spent some time cutting low hanging branches.  It gives me a great feeling to give back to the trail.

I’m getting pretty excited about reaching the halfway distance in my goal to hike the distance around the earth, which is 24,901.55 miles at the equator.  With only 17.5 miles to go I should be able to pass this milestone in three days of hiking!  I should also be able to reach over 1000 miles hiking so far this year, which is a best for me.


Bells Mt. Forest Road Area Hike

Hike Distance: 8.3 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 962.0 miles

Elevation Gain: 1751 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 126327 feet

There’s plenty of forest roads to explore around the Bell’s Mt. Area.  I started out at the Moulton Falls Hantwick Road parking area and then headed up the road past the gate.  Although the road is rather rocky, and is tough on the ankles and knees, I didn’t have a difficult time on this hike. 🙂

I did see one other hiker on the main road that heads up to Bell’s Mt. but he just said hi and kept going.  I also was surprised to see a Washington DNR fire truck coming down the road, but, I figured they were preparing for the fire season?

At then of one of the spur roads I came to the end where there were plenty of views of the valley and also Mt. St. Helens!  It was so tranquil looking out and just gazing at the surrounding countryside.  That said, there was also plenty of clearcut logging seen. 😦   I also found a small quarry at the end of another road.

A rather warm and humid day but I took my time ascending and carried plenty of fluid.  The occasional breeze made my wet clothes feel quite cool and pleasant.  We’ll need to get used to this since summer begins in the coming days.


Forest Road Hike

Hike Distance: 7.6 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 953.7 miles

Elevation Gain: 1230 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 124576 feet

Sunny with very hot temperatures made this a bit more difficult than usual.  We saw a doe and its fawn early on in the hike, and I stopped and took a few pictures.  They stood there fixed on us but we didn’t initially move.  When we took a few steps they were off and quickly out of sight, as I would expect.

Thankfully, there were plenty of trees to block the hot sun, but the open areas were brutal.  We didn’t have long to hike since we were expecting guests for Fathers Day.  A nice day to be in the fresh air!

Surveyor Ridge Trail Hike

Hike Distance: 8.1 miles        Yearly Hike Distance: 946.1 miles

Elevation Gain: 1254 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 123346 feet

Surveyor Ridge is a nice ridge hike, on the east side of the Cascades, that serves up some fantastic views of the Hood River Valley and Mt. Hood.  It’s located at a nice elevation of about 4000 feet and is inaccessible in the winter.  You usually don’t want to go there too early in the spring because of large amounts of blowdown on the trail.

We decided to go there anyway despite not knowing the trail conditions.  It took us just less than two hours to get to the trailhead, which is why we don’t go there too often.  To our surprise there was  a trail runners event going on; 50km and 50 miles.  Had we known about this event we wouldn’t have come here. 😦  We’ve hiked during these events before and the trail is very crowded and the runners force us to step off trail very, very often.  That said, the runners and mountain bikers were all very nice and considerate, so it wasn’t quite like the last event we’d experienced.

The weather started out partially cloudy, with some nice areas of sun but Mt. Hood stayed obstructed the entire day.  However, we did see the snow covered base of Mt. Hood for much of the day!

Not thinking the weather would get bad we left our rain pants at home.  Silly us to think the weather wouldn’t get bad as the thunderstorms rolled in!  Luckily, the thunderstorms went around us, but it still dumped plenty of rain on the last half of the hike.  We had rain jackets but our pants were sopping wet, especially since the wet brush around the trail was unavoidable.  At the very end of the hike we were mostly in a white out, and I absolutely love this mood!

There were so many flowers blooming at this elevation and it created plenty of photo opportunities!  We also had a couple of great viewpoints overlooking the valley.  Such a beautiful area.

Being a late hike we stopped for Subway sandwiches on the way home.  Thankfully, our nylon pants dried out quickly and everything ended up well.  A funtastic day on Surveyor Ridge. 🙂