A Three-Sport Birthday Extravaganza in Bend
What better way to stare down the big four-oh than going on a road trip. With Julie’s big birthday on deck, we decided to get out of Dodge, visit friends and family and enjoy a three-sport trip. So, we loaded up the van with all our toys (and favorite Deuter packs) and headed north to Bend, Oregon.
Julie wanted to enjoy her favorite outdoor activities: biking, fishing and climbing. OK, so skiing is number one, but with the lack of snow we’d moved on from winter. Julie had a great time sampling some of Bend’s classic single track out of the Phil’s trailhead. She’d been biking in Bishop all winter with her 5-inch tires on her fat bike, so the first few laps back on the “skinny” tires took a little getting used to. She was psyched to be riding with her Pace bike pack. The slim profile and tear-drop design makes it form-fitting on a bike and keeps the weight centered low. Ali and I were stoked to discover the kid’s sized pump track right at the parking area. Dad got his exercise chasing after Ali, while yelling “slow down” as she rode up and down the bumps as another couple exclaimed, “that is the littlest mountain biker we’ve ever seen!” One of the best things about thePhil’s area is that it’s just minutes from downtown Bend and all the yummy craft beers.
Next on the list was fly fishing. As Colorado transplants now living in the high desert of eastern California, it was great to see decent sized rivers again (and decent sized fish). We checked out the Crooked and Metolius rivers and weren’t disappointed either day. The Crooked is family friendly, has lots of fish and is in cool volcanic canyon. With a little walking you can get to less crowded sections; so Ali was loaded in to the Kid Comfort 3, and Julie threw our flies into our Speedlight 10. We caught some beautiful redside trout, Ali got to kiss them, and as an added bonus, we discovered that fishing stores in Oregon have beer on tap! Nothing like a growler of Atlas blackberry cider after a grueling day on the river. The Metolius has the clearest, glacier blue water we’ve ever seen – without the glacier. It comes out of a natural spring under a basalt cliff (definitely go see the head waters if you’re in the area). Also stop by the pond at the Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery to let the kids feed some monster fish. And did we mention that the fishing shops have beer on tap?
After a few days of blustery spring weather, there was finally a classic donut-hole of sunshine around Smith Rock, so we went for it. The Guide 45+ was the pack of choice for all our climbing equipment; pack number two was the Kid Comfort 3 just in case Ali didn’t feel like the uphill walk home. I love the approach to Smith – with all that beautiful rock staring at you. With early-day energy, Ali cruised down the trail and then back up the other side to sample some 10 gallon buckets, a cool, mellow route with plenty of huecos. Deuter’s Guide is a very versatile pack – it’s light enough to use as a day pack, but large enough to go overnighting. The ski-touring features are amazing and integrated in a way that doesn’t hamper performance when using it for warmer activities. We are able to stuff it with climbing equipment for three people, warm clothes and food. The internal zipper and big top pocket lid helped keep things organized. After a great day of climbing on pockets and crimps, we headed up the hill and home. Ali played possum and conned her way into a ride in the Kid Comfort 3 up the final hill. Julie was a little tuckered after her big week b-day week but realized turning 40 isn’t too bad after all.