All Things Deschutes – Bend, Oregon

posted in: Family and Friends | 3

The Deschutes River, flowing north for 252 miles long, is a major tributary of the Columbia River. The river provides much of the drainage on the eastern side of the Cascade Range in Oregon, gathering many of the tributaries that descend from the drier, eastern side of the mountains.

The red arrow points to Bend’s location on the Deschutes River, about 170 miles from the river mouth.

The Dechutes River (remember, pronounced da·shootz) was named Rivière des Chutes or Rivière aux Chutes, French for River of the Falls, during the period of fur trading. Lewis and Clark explored the river in 1805, and referred to it by the Native American name Towarnehiooks; on their return journey they gave it the new name Clarks River. During the middle 19th century, the river was a major obstacle for immigrants on the Oregon Trail.

Enough fun facts!

Thursday, May 4th

Al and I decided to start a morning walk with a coffee and pastry from Village Baker. The Deschutes River Trail winds through Bend with paved paths along the water, just a short walk from Tim and Amanda’s home. In 2015, Bend turned a section of this into a whitewater park with channels for surfing, paddling, kayaking and tubing and fish migration. This engineering feat is a result of 26 air bladders or gates affixed to the river bed that control the flow of the water.

Although the air temperature was 55 degrees that morning (who knows what the water temperature was) there were plenty of brave surfers to watch. We stood on the bridge overlooking the river and watched and watched.

Still photos are one way to see this, but a video is much better.

It’s worth watching – just 30 seconds.
This is what the rapids look like from the bridge we were standing on.
A kayaking lesson was underway off to the side of the center rapids.
“Bend-its” or “Bend-ieannes” of just people who live in Bend, are very serious about their water sports on the river. Such a cool sculpture!

In the summer, This part of the Deschutes River becomes a tubing mecca. Amanda and Tim enjoy tubing through it on hot lazy days. I saw photos and it looks like a crazy fun thing to do.

After lunch the four of us went to Deschutes National Forest, 1.6 million acres along the east side of the Cascade Mountains. Mt. Bachelor, the ski resort is part of the park. We hiked a short path to see Dillon Falls, a run of class V rapids (NOTEClass V: Extremely difficult, long, and very violent rapids with highly congested routes, which should be scouted from shore. Rescue conditions are difficult, and there is a significant hazard to life in the event of a mishap. The upper limit of what is possible in a commercial raft). Amanda said that there was much more water now than they ever see the summer.

Let the photos speak for themselves, although, truthfully, photos never do justice to the real thing. What I found fascinating is that this is the same river that runs through Bend where those surfers were.

The Ponderosa pines are EVERYWHERE here, standing perfectly straight and soooo tall, sending roots into the most unlikely places, especially the rocky steep slopes of hills and mountains. “Ponderosa pine thrives in relatively dry climates and droughty or rocky soils because of its ability to acquire and conserve water. Its deep roots reach moist soils far below the dry, hot surface. Its seedlings withstand desiccation, and its stomata (leaf pores) can efficiently close, preventing water loss by transpiration. ….. Native Americans used ponderosa pine in a variety of ways: for medicine, food, fiber, a blue dye, and firewood. Pitch and gum concoctions were used for sore eyes and aching backs and as an underarm deodorant. Seeds and inner bark were eaten. Needles were used in basketry, and wood was used for timber and building materials.” (Oregon Encyclopedia) Today, its wood has been used extensively for residential and light construction.

How does it survive there????
The ground beneath the pines is covered in soft needles and pine cones.
Tenacious little pine!

Next hike – Benham Falls, also on th Deschutes River. We walked down a fence-lined walkway that zig-zagged to an established overlook with a view of the most vertical part of the rapids. Benham Falls is another turbulent class V rapids and cascades rushing on the Deschutes River towards the southwest of Bend. The falls flow through an area where a large field of lava solidifed and formed a narrow canyon through which the Deschutes River gets squeezed resulting in this powerful display.

From the overlook. You can see how the river’s path narrows.
The rock-lined wall across the river.

Friday, May 5

Continuing the theme of “All Things Deschutes” we toured the Deschutes Brewery on Friday afternoon. Although right in Bend, on the Deschutes River path, Amanda and Tim had never toured it. Bewery #4! We walked to the brewery (how convenient is that??)

Cody, our tour guide, served us each a beer of our choice with a cookie to sip while touring.

in 1988, Gary Fish established a small brew pub in downtown Bend, naming it after the river. His dream was to make the brewery a community gathering place based his belief that “Good beer brings people together.” The brewery is family and employee owned.

Gary Fish’s mottos – “Good beer brings people together” and “LOVE IT OR DUMP IT.” It’s hard to argue with either.
Traditional beginning to the brewery tour – the ingredients. Hops, yeast, barley which becomes the malt, and water. The yeast eats the fermentable sugars and converts it into carbonation, alcohol and flavors.
Lots of stainless steel involved in the brewery. The one disappointment is that Friday’s are cleaning day so we did not get to see anything in operation.
The first year of operation Deschutes Brewery sold 310 barrels of beer. Now they distribute 225,000 barrels in 37 states. It is NOT a small operation, but alas, the beer is not available in Connecticut.
You have to be “certified” to taste and test all of the new beers that are created. The 5 stations are separated and iPads are used for comments and analysis.
The wheel of descriptors. I’ll be honest, the vast majority of these terms used for describing the beer mean nothing to me, at least as related to beer. At one brewery, the word “dank” was used to describe one of their beers. “Dank”???? I associate that with a basement, not a beer!
Bottling and canning
I do enjoy a bit of whimsy. A beer dog!

Every year, Deschutes Brewery produces their “Jubelale“, a festive robust winter ale with a “warming spice.” Although the beer itself has remained largely the same, the label changes each year. Deschutes commissions a local artist to create an original piece of artwork for the label, and each year subsequently a new artist is selected. 

Some of the Jubelale labels.
“Jubelale Hall Of Fame” at the brewery where all of the original pieces of art line the walls. The designs really vary in style and focus from year to year. 

Tim and Amanda had raved about the burgers at a food truck at Deschutes Brewery. Willie Burger began serving their smash burgers at local farmers markets in 2022 and graduated to a food truck this year. We weren’t really hungry because we were planning to go out for dinner that evening, but how could we resist tasting these burgers when the truck was right there in front of us??? I suggested we get one burger and split it four ways just to get a taste.

Willie Burger. Soooo good! Chris and Kahla have a real hit in the food world.
Willie Burger keeps it simple. Smash-style burgers that come standard with grilled onions, cheese, and burger sauce.  OMG. Now I wish I had eaten a whole one!

Two really, really great days – hiking, nature, water, beer and burgers.

3 Responses

  1. Mary-Jo Shultis

    Ditto Ellen’s comments!!!
    Very interesting. U sure did ur homework

  2. Ellen Margel Seltzer

    Such different posts than I’m accustomed to reading…you’ve become incredibly knowledgeable about so many things…so different than life on the water! So glad to see you both having a great time on land…continue to enjoy!
    See you when you return!

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