2017 Northern Migration - The USA Part

Trying to find  Deer Butte Hot Springs , OR.

Trying to find Deer Butte Hot Springs, OR.

Found it. Don't go looking for it... it has become a foot bath.

Found it. Don't go looking for it... it has become a foot bath.

The water was unusually high this spring and the rock wall that allows to control how much cold water you let in from the river was nowhere to be seen. It was the weirdest experience since the burning hot water from the hot spring was floating on top of the freezing cold water from the river. So our thighs were burning while our feet were freezing. We had to keep stirring the water non stop to make it bearable... not the most relaxing experience!

The water was unusually high this spring and the rock wall that allows to control how much cold water you let in from the river was nowhere to be seen. It was the weirdest experience since the burning hot water from the hot spring was floating on top of the freezing cold water from the river. So our thighs were burning while our feet were freezing. We had to keep stirring the water non stop to make it bearable... not the most relaxing experience!

The smell from the Juniper trees at  Skull Hollow Campground  (Oregon) was amazing. It was the perfect place to camp to enjoy Smith Rock State Park.

The smell from the Juniper trees at Skull Hollow Campground (Oregon) was amazing. It was the perfect place to camp to enjoy Smith Rock State Park.

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Smith Rock SP totally blew our mind. We were taken aback by how thoughtful and well managed the place is. Twenty years ago, it was pretty much only visited by climbers, in fact the bridge didn’t exist and you had to do a tyrolean across the Crooked River (prior to that you could drive and camp beneath The Monument.) The trail system is great, sustainable and enviro and people friendly. The climbing scene and vibe is great and everyone, climbers and non-climbers, is very friendly. On the left, Mathilde climbing 5 gallon buckets, one of the most popular 5.8s in the park.

Smith Rock SP totally blew our mind. We were taken aback by how thoughtful and well managed the place is. Twenty years ago, it was pretty much only visited by climbers, in fact the bridge didn’t exist and you had to do a tyrolean across the Crooked River (prior to that you could drive and camp beneath The Monument.) The trail system is great, sustainable and enviro and people friendly. The climbing scene and vibe is great and everyone, climbers and non-climbers, is very friendly. On the left, Mathilde climbing 5 gallon buckets, one of the most popular 5.8s in the park.

Our beautiful camping spot at Frenchman Coulee, Vantage, WA. These are climbing towers you see at the back. They are called The Feathers (or the French Fries). I could see people climbing from my bed! In a few hours, we climbed 6 routes in this sector and another one on Agathla Tower.

Our beautiful camping spot at Frenchman Coulee, Vantage, WA. These are climbing towers you see at the back. They are called The Feathers (or the French Fries). I could see people climbing from my bed! In a few hours, we climbed 6 routes in this sector and another one on Agathla Tower.

Aisha belaying JF. These girls are getting strong!

Aisha belaying JF. These girls are getting strong!

Mathilde climbing House of Cards, 5.8, on Agathla Tower.

Mathilde climbing House of Cards, 5.8, on Agathla Tower.

Arrowleaf Balsamroot, or the Okanagan sunflower. It's everywhere in the Spring.

Arrowleaf Balsamroot, or the Okanagan sunflower. It's everywhere in the Spring.

When we left Maple Canyon, we quickly worked our way up towards Bend, Oregon, to spend a few days with our friends. We had such a good time, that I didn't take a single picture! We went mountain biking at Phil's trailhead and ended up hiking a part of it in ankle deep snow (tourists!) and shared great meals and drinks! Bend has the most incredible selection of beers and I tasted one of my favorite IPA (RPM from Boneyard Brewery, on tap only). It took me a few years to really enjoy an IPA. For a while I called it skunk pee beer, but I now truly enjoy many IPAs.

I remember my dad telling me that there are some food that you need to taste 10 times before you start appreciating them, as he proceeded to give me a slice of baguette with a tiny piece of Roquefort. There was also brain, frog legs, sweetbread (ris de veau sounds much tamer in French), mussels... and the yearly lobster feast where everybody exclaimed when they cracked open the lobster and found that green stuff that they ate with great delight.

Let’s be honest here, none of this is a love-at-first-sight food, but they do grow on you – some of them at least - to the point that you’ll pay quite a bit of money for it. Think caviar. I’ll always remember the first time I tried black caviar (brought directly from Russia by a client of my family when I lived in Italy)... or when I had risotto al nero di sepia (Italian rice cooked in squid ink... and yes, it’s black).

So what makes a delicacy a delicacy? Is it simply that you have tasted/eaten it enough time with people you loved and that appreciated it that you end up loving it too? Is my brain reminiscing all the joyful dinners with interesting adult conversations that I was allowed to participate in when I was a young teenager and when I could have a little sip of delicious port with the blue cheese? Does my mind remember the pleasure my grandpa had in sucking the lobsters’s little legs that people had left in a pile in the middle of the table covered in newspaper? Do all these memories collide in that one first bite? What do you think?

Tour of the Deschutes Brewery, Bend, OR

We got to taste some different types of malted barley and smell hops (the smell is amazing!).

The Brewery was voted best place to work by Outside Magazine in 2014! I can see why! They even have chef on the premise that prepares you whatever you want at any time of the day... Oh! And free beer too!! 

The Black Butte Porter is their flagship beer and it is pretty darn tasty!

There are MANY breweries in Bend, but the Deschutes Brewery is the old school patriarch. The original brewery and pub that was opened in 1988 by Gary Fish is still located on Bond Street in downtown Bend. The brewing facility on Bend's West side produces close to 200 000 barrels of beer per year, which makes Deschutes Oregon's number one craft brewer. Their beer is distributed in 28 states and 2 Canadian provinces (BC and Alberta). 

The tour was very interesting (and free! Make sure to reserve online) and includes 4 sample of beer. The children are welcomed and are even served homemade ginger ale and root beer! We particularly liked the Chainbreaker White IPA, the River Ale, the Chasin' Freshies Fresh Hop IPA (seasonal), the Hop Pale Ale and the Black Butte Porter. We heard the Obsidian Stout was great, but it was not available that day. I love that they use local hops, wheat and barley, and that they have a whole network of local farmers that come pick up the leftover soaked grains to give to their cows, and that they give some of the cows' meat in exchange to the Deschutes pub for the burgers (they also turn some of that used grain into veggie burgers for the pub as well!). They compost everything else and use crushed old glass to make new bottles. 

A day in Bend, Oregon

We sampled 10 of their beers and really liked the Pray for Snow, the Swill, the Big Daddy Fresh and the Apocalypse IPA.

Read their story. I love it. It is so Bend!! Big powder day? The "Gone Skiing" sign goes up. Too hot to work? Mandatory company float (down the Deschutes River). 

This is truly all you need.

A bookshop café? Yes please!

A dressed-up cyclocross race.

We had been wanting to visit Bend for many years already. We knew it was a cool laid-back Pacific Northwest town with great mountain biking and breweries, but that was about it. 

Bend is only just a few miles away from some of the best mountain biking trails, hiking trails and ski resorts in Oregon. Outdoor enthusiasts flock from far and wide for parks like Pilot Butte State Scenic Viewpoint, skiers and mountain bikers to Mount Bachelor, and rock climbers to Smith Rock State Park.

I have no clue how 10 brewpubs and three breweries (with more set to open soon) stay in business in a city of 80,000 persons. There are even cycle pubs for a very entertaining way of seeing Bend’s breweries. 

For a city of its size, Bend has a remarkable array of good restaurants. And Dog Fancy magazine called Bend the most dog-friendly city in the country. It’s hard to say what the city doesn’t do perfectly.

For many who move there, the point is to step out of the rat race, slow down and enjoy the finer things in life.

So yeah. Bend is the place.