Category Archives: Recreation

We Stopped . . .

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Hot. In the 90’s. After a morning of getting things done in our little acre of heaven, Bill and I decided to head out for a bite to eat and a few beers at Pat’s Corner at The Grand Lodge in Forest Grove, Oregon. For those of you who don’t know, The Grand Lodge is a Masonic lodge that’s been converted–thanks to the McMenamins–into a hotel, restaurant, and pub, all with sprawling grounds and typical McMenamin’s hippie-style artwork.

After a nice quiet lunch and an IPA or two, we headed out, taking the long way home. It’s only a few miles from The Grand Lodge to our house, but there are lots of side roads going past farms and homesteads that we love to explore. Especially on a hot sunny afternoon, like today.

Driving along stubble fields and acres of blueberries, we had to stop at this ancient farmstead on NW Leisy Road. It’s covered with graffiti, so it’s pretty clear this is a local hangout. But somehow the juxtaposition of the house, which was probably a family’s homestead not too long ago, with the collapsed storage shed in the foreground and the pump house off to the side, got our attention. We had to stop.


So beautiful. And reminiscent of times not so long ago. I wonder who lived here, and what their family was like. And I wonder who hangs out here now . . .  spray painting on the exterior–and probably the interior too. It’s so amazing to me that this old place is so close to our suburban piece of heaven, and yet it’s so far away in time.

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And for what it’s worth, back at our piece of heaven, this is what it’s like to write a blog post on a hot summer day. Dogs rule.

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Deschutes River Trail

While Sunriver is the perfect place for casual, relaxing bike rides, there are other more challenging options. In the past, Bill and I tackled the Deschutes River Trail and enjoyed it immensely. We decided to give it another go in our recent trip to Sunriver. We started at the Benham Falls trailhead in north Sunriver and rode over a few miles of single-track trail littered with random collections of large, sharp rocks. This was sometimes difficult to ride through, and I ended up pushing my bike on a few occasions to keep from scraping my legs on the rocks or nearby trees. It’s a mixture of up- and downhill, so the ride had lots of easy parts too. The views of the Deschutes river are beautiful.

After a few miles, the trail arrives at Benham Falls park in Lava Lands (which is where Lava Butte makes its home), where the rest of the public can drive and walk a mile to view the falls. The first part of the walk is a quaint wooden bridge. Although you can’t quite see me, I’m at the end of the bridge in the picture.

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As you approach the falls, the Deschutes leaves the calm waters behind and picks up its fury.

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The falls are steeper and more intense than they look in this picture.

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After the falls, the water begins to smooth out again.

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Bill enjoying a break at the top of the falls.

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After we saw the falls, we rode another few miles along the river, sometimes along the edge of a ravine directly above the river. What stunning views we saw! We turned around at around seven miles and headed back to Sunriver.

On our way back, we were quite surprised to see my parents walking down the trail. They’d already viewed the falls and were starting to think about lunch. So we agreed to rendezvous at one of favorite watering holes, Sunriver Brewing Company in the Sunriver Village. We enjoyed a few pints and a delicious lunch. I fell in love with their Vicious Mosquito IPA!  If you pay them a visit, I highly recommend it. After filling our bellies, we headed back to our vacation home for a well-deserved rest in the sun on the back patio.

Biking in Sunriver

My favorite thing to enjoy at Sunriver is a loooong bike ride on their miles and miles of paved trails. The trails meander through the resort, often along the Deschutes River. We enjoyed several of these relaxing bike rides.

There is a footbridge you can ride across the Deschutes. The best part about that is the views of the river, which is very calm in this area. Here’s looking north from atop the footbridge . . .

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And here’s looking south . . .

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Bill’s taking in the scenery from the footbridge.

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On our way back, we passed by this deer. She wasn’t at all concerned about being so close to humans, and just kept munching away while I snapped photos just a few feet away from her.

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Nature’s beauty at its best.

High Desert Oregon– Perfect Place to Unwind


Sometimes life comes at you hard, and you have to not just survive, but grow and thrive. Like this scrub tree at the top of Lava Butte., south of Bend, Oregon. This tree, which is only about 18 inches tall, would probably normally be several feet tall. But the winds, snow, rains, and incessant summer sun keep it in check. It’s beautiful nonetheless, don’t you think?

It pretty much conveys how I feel these days. Challenged by life, but still working hard to make the best of things and rise above the difficulties that have been thrown my way.

With that in mind, I was anxious to join my parents for a week of fun, sun, relaxation, and good times in Sunriver, Oregon.

I started the trip with a solo drive from our home in Hillsboro east and south to Sunriver.  There’s nothing quite as soul cleansing as singing at the top of your lungs because no one is with you.  I covered it all–the Eagles, Steely Dan, Death Cab for Cutie, Madonna, and lots of others, and ended the set perfectly with Fleetwood Mac’s Thrown Down as I pulled into the driveway of the home my dad has for the week. Bill drove over earlier in the day because he can’t stay as long as me, and thankfully, he didn’t need to listen to me sing.

That was yesterday. Today I started the day with a run on the paved trails in Sunriver, with my mom and Bill keeping company. I ran and they walked; I doubled back every run phase to connect with them. So fun! And what a great way to at start the day.

By mid-morning we were all ready for adventure so me, Bill, Mom, and Dad headed to Lava Buttte, which is a few miles north of our temporary home in Sunriver.

We drove up the spiral to top of the butte. After parking, Mom and I hiked up to the fire tower while Bill and Dad  spent time on their short wave radios. Here’s Mom and I at the top of Lava Butte.


What a view from up there! We enjoyed beautiful views 360 views of Oregon.


We hiked around the crater. At the halfway point we stopped to enjoy the view.



Lots of easy–but beautiful–hiking. Soon it was lunchtime. So off we headed to 10 Barrel, our favorite Bend respite. So here we are, with Mom and Dad enjoying a much deserved refreshment.


Now back to Sunriver for more adventures.



Winter hike near Forest Grove

Bill and I went on a beautiful hike just outside of Forest Grove today. It was quite a climb. We went from about 300 feet to over 1800 feet in about two miles. Needless to say, my butt and legs were pretty sore by the time we got to the top. The hike down was quicker and easier, but my toes kept being jammed into the end of my shoes, so it wasn’t without it’s own set of problems.

As we headed up the hill, we saw this beautiful creek along the logging road we were hiking on. It sounded so cheerful.


We hiked farther up the hill, and then stopped to take a picture of the panoramic view, catching ourselves in the foreground.

We were pretty happy to be outside enjoying ourselves after weeks of rain.


The clouds made the views even more stunning, lending dimension to complement the rolling hills.

We didn’t get any pics at the top because my phone battery was getting low. Maybe next time.

A beautiful day for football!

What a beautiful day! We went to watch  our grandson Andrew’s football game in the morning at Forest Grove High School. So much fun on such a nice day, especially since they won!

It’s amazing to watch the boys at this age (10-12) because they’re actually formulating and executing plays. At right, the boys on the field. Andrew is the hiker.

Andrew after the game. Thumbs up for a great game!

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