The High Desert – Bend, Oregon

posted in: Family and Friends | 1

May 3

We all had a slow easy morning and then off we headed to the High Desert Museum, also in Bend, Oregon.

The High Desert Museum integrates wildlife, history and art into one amazing location to promote an understanding of the natural and cultural heritage of North America’s high desert country.  The museum has more than 100,000 square feet of exhibit space and sits on 135 acres of outdoor forest and exhibits. The many historical exhibits span the history of the region – covered wagons, homesteaders, gold rush, fur trappers, mining, and a significant part of the museum is dedicated to Native American culture and history. 

What is a “high desert” ? Most of us easterners think of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest as a rainy place, but, in fact, Bend has an average annual rainfall of only 12 – 15 inches. Most of Central Oregon is actually considered “high desert” named for its high elevation, sitting at 4,000 feet above sea level and higher. 

There were so many exhibits, all of them thoughtful and well-executed. The following are just a few of the photographs.

Making the trek westward. I cannot imagine daring to make this trip.
This “Blanket Stories” exhibit might be my favorite. A textile based sculpture, each blanket has a story written by the original owner on a paper tag. The sculpture was so tall I could not fit it all in the photo.
A very small piece of the many Native American exhibits. The museum has been revising these exhibits to be more accurate and authentic.

Outside the museum were paths that wound through the majestic Ponderosa Pines, standing so straight and so tall, they were just amazing to see.

The homestead exhibit, complete with an outhouse.
Tim and Al investigate this early RV, perhaps an ancestor of the Airstream?
You have to love a museum with a sense of humor.
North American River Otters – Brook, Pitch and Wesley. They were fun to watch and learn about. As rescued domesticated creatures, they can not be re-released into the wild so they will remain at the museum along with a fox, turtle, porcupine and some birds.

Next on the day’s agenda was….. wait for it……. another Bend brewery! Brewery #3 – Crux Fermentation Project. Wednesdays are pretty quiet so we had the place to ourselves and sat outside to absorb the panoramic views.

What a view. Three Sisters and Broken Top. (I think.)
These Ponderosa Pines are truly amazing. So straight, so tall.
A choice of three food trucks. We went with El Sancho for the tacos.
Lots of smiles all around.
Al decided to try a non-alcoholic beer, too. Here’s to you, Don! 😉😁

I know everyone is waiting to see if there is any ice cream on our western adventure. Of course there is! Well, it wasn’t ice cream, this time it was gelato. We stopped at Bonta right in Bend, of course. Jeff and Juli Labhart returned from a year-long trip around the world and began making handcrafted artisanal gelato using the best ingredients from the Oregon countryside.

The flavors are unusual. Among the four of us, on two visits, we tried salted chocolate, roasted strawberry and honey, marionberry crumble, and stracciatella. No one was disappointed.

A day filled with nature, history, beer and ice cream. What more could you ask for?

  1. Susie Marshall

    Sounds like an amazing trip so far. I alway love reading your posts. I lived close to Bend for three years when I was just starting school. In fact I went to a one room school house in the desert for two years. That really makes me sound old.

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