Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Volcanic High Life

Paulina Peak from the shore of Paulina Lake
Paulina Peak from the shore of Paulina Lake


We had planned to go backpacking but the place I wanted to go was shut down due to a fire and apparently backpacking is not encouraged along that stretch of a river that we will not be talking about today.  So, our plans changed at a moment's notice to see what we could make happen at the Newberry National Volcanic Monument.

Now, I normally think of spur of the moment and camping to be two perfectly compatible concepts, but Resident Spouse had recently regaled me with the story of a co-worker who decided to go camping on the spur of the moment and, after leaving Bend, ended up encountering full campgrounds at every place down the road until finally settling for a motel room at the coast.  Needless to say, we kept this story in mind and planned on taking our chances at Newberry.  At the very least, we could have a lovely day hiking.  And what do you know? We turned into Little Crater Campground and found #3 wide open and just waiting for us.
View from top of Little Crater trail
View from top of Little Crater trail

Every time we've been to Newberry, we always try Little Crater campground first and, so far, it has always paid off.  The campground has a lovely long sinuous layout that means you have very few neighbors and every campsite has a view of Paulina Lake.  There is also a short, 1.8 mile trail up to the rim for splendiferous views of the lake and distant lands that you can reach from either end of the campground.  The trail is pretty steep in spots and Mimsy dog kept cool by trotting from the shade of one tree to the next to keep her black coat out of the hot sun.

I also love the short hike through the Big Obsidian Flow but, it being a hot summer day, we waited until late afternoon to tackle the short mile-long trail because dogs should not go on the trail (lots of obsidian shards to cut their feet).  We left our Mimsy dog in the car in a shaded and empty parking lot only to hear her start barking when we were a mere 15 minutes into the walk (she has quite the bark, that little one).  Having already gained quite some elevation, we found a place where we could see down into the parking lot and, lo and behold, a big RV chose, from the entire empty lot, to park immediately next to our car.  Rolling our eyes slightly, we went ahead with our walk, figuring that the occupants of that RV could have chosen someplace else to park and we wouldn't fuss ourselves too much about Mimsy's barking.
The Big Obsidian Flow at sunset
The Big Obsidian Flow at sunset

I think we were guilty of a little noise pollution that evening because we could hear her barking the entire time as we made our way up and down the trail.  Sigh... the obsidian flow was amazing in the sunset...

Friday, July 29, 2016

Love the Deschutes River!

I know that I am one of the lucky few (if you can call 80,000+ people, "few") that live in Bend, Oregon and this summer I am out to enjoy every minute I possibly can.

One of the gems of the region is the Deschutes River that runs from southern Deschutes County north to the Columbia and for those seeking a cool respite on a hot summer day (hovering at 97°F as I write this), a day on the Deschutes is a fun way to beat the summer heat.  Be warned though, Bend is at 3,500 feet elevation and so bring plenty of water and sunscreen if you're not used to the high desert at altitude!

Bend itself hosts a playground for stand up paddle boarders, inner tube floaters and more serious white water aficionados within city limits.  Flat water folks are well served at Riverbend Park, one in a long string of beautiful parks maintained by Bend Park and Recreation District.  Floaters traveling down stream can take advantage of an easy put-in a short distance upstream of the Old Mill and can take out at a number of publicly accessible locations, the final spot being Drake Park where a convenient shuttle service can ferry floaters from take out to put in by purchasing a day pass for $3.

Between Riverbend and Drake Park is the Bend Whitewater Park where surfers on boards or in boats alike can play in the standing waves.  Floaters can bypass the whitewater park via a portage path, or, if properly equipped, maneuver the rapids on river left.  (BTW - Pool toys and flip flops are not considered proper equipment, duh!)  There is also a fun play spot for kayakers at First Street Rapids.

My recommendation, though, is to spend the extra time and effort to get out to see more of the glories of the big Deschutes.  Taking a raft or drift boat down the lower Deschutes in the area of Maupin and north will bring you exciting whitewater and gorgeous flats.  You can choose from day to multi-day trips from a range of local services and outfitters (with fun names like Deschutes U-Boat and River Drifters, yes, there are other more normal names, too).

Want to give your kids an adventure while you and your spouse get some alone time?  Check out Bend Park and Rec youth programs.  Day trips and overnights are available with skilled staff leading the way to fun and adventure.


Train trestle bridge on lower Deschutes River north of Maupin, Oregon
Train trestle bridge on lower Deschutes River north of Maupin, Oregon.




Saturday, October 18, 2014

Competing in Seoul 2014 - Day 2, Oct 11, 2014

The competition site for horseback archery in Seoul was the dressage arena for the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games.  Today the site is dominated by a huge race course that is the main draw (the towers in the background below overlook the ends of the racetrack).
 

Day 2 of competition featured an opening ceremony that included a representative from each country.  A fun part of mounted archery is the costumes competitors wear.  Often these are rooted in the traditional garb of the competitors' countries.  I say rooted because historically women did not participate in what was an exclusively samurai activity in Japan.


For some countries, like the USA, "traditional garb" is tricky because, while mounted archery is a part of the history of the country, few competitors can claim a personal connection to Native America.


As a result, competition garb becomes more a reflection of personal taste, imagination, and/or comfort. (Go Teen Team USA!)


Go Horse Archers!





Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Competition - Day 1

The first day of competition was the single and double shot competitions.  The glorious thing about these competitions is getting to see old friends and meeting new...


...Doing some shooting...


And doing a lot of waiting...

(The costumes are a fun part of competition and everyone adds their unique flair.)



Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Typhoon Vongong

And of course, there's another, BIGGER typhoon headed for Japan.  We're supposed to fly out of Narita, hopefully, just ahead of when Vongfong hits Tokyo.  Sheesh...


Seoul 2014 - sights to see

My mom and I said farewell to the horde and we headed into the neighborhood to see what there was to see.  We ended up walking a couple miles or so over the course of the day up and down the hilly streets of the Itaewan area...

...perused the street fare...


...and ended up at the lovely Leeum Samsung Art Museum


Seoul 2014 - dining out with the horde

The first evening meal in Seoul with an amazing representation of the world with Germany, Poland, US, Australia, Iran, China, Japan and South Korea represented here for a dinner featuring kim chee soup.  The less stout of the stomachs around quailed a bit at the spice but it was very tasty to my point of view.  Jet lag was definitely hitting some of the travelers hard as they struggled to stay awake at what was 3:00 AM home time.  At least there were foot wells here so our legs weren't asleep, too!