I love that someone somewhere was sick of adulting and created a holiday celebrating them working. OK, not really how it got started, but close enough. Labor Day seems to always be a much needed relief from the daily things, right in-between summer vacations and holiday season. I was blessed with the opportunity to make it to Bend, Oregon this weekend! Here are just a few of the things to do in Bend, that we did in 48 hours.
For those of you don’t know Oregon’s natural landscape dramatically changes depending on where you are in the state. If we split Oregon into thirds vertically you get 3 different types of weather, landscape, and people. East Oregon, where Bend is at, is mostly high dessert. If you don’t know what that means imagine the wild west mixed with a bit of pine trees, or see picture below of Smith Rock (ANCHOR). West Oregon is the coast. Not the beach. The coast. What’s the difference you ask? Well if you have to wear a sweatshirt to keep yourself warm, you’re on the coast. Middle Oregon is home to straight up the most beautifully lush green forests and rivers I have ever seen.
What We Did in Bend in 48 Hours
Fun fact Bend has the most breweries per capita in either Oregon and is dubbed Beer Town USA.
Landing late in the afternoon on Saturday, obviously the first thing you do when you land in Bend is go be hipsters and trek along the Ale Trail for some fine craft brews. After all it is one of the things that helped put Bend on the map. Now you may be asking yourself how does one afford the calories for all this beer? First off, it’s pretty much impossible to make it through the Ale Trail in one evening. We stopped after 4 breweries (weak sauce, I know). The other secret is my advanced pro tip: Most places will sell you a small 5-6 oz mini snifter of beer. Some of them won’t even charge you. So double bonus there!
Additionally, we used it as an opportunity to deploy what we call progressive dinner. Grabbing a small bite to eat at each location we stopped. Which saved us from A.) beer munchies and B.) overeating because we had time to digest. Progressive dinner is awesome and convenient for going out and learning the area. Pro tip: Fight the hunger when you first start out and stick to the plan, otherwise you’ll blow the whole concept
On the way from one brew hop to the another, of course, Josie got distracted by a cute dog (she has the itch for a fur baby badly right now). We ended up taking an alternative route because of this. What came next was a total surprise! We came across a foundation that was letting people hold and pet snakes to raise awareness and funding for rehabilitation. Such a weird feeling, the muscles of the snake moving around. Definitely a highlight of the evening, not sure if it’s a recommendation or not.
Of Course, hiking. This is Oregon after all. Bend’s hiking is pretty superb, but I still believe that it has nothing on Portland hiking. However, we ended up hitting the most fantastic hike I’ve been on in Oregon just outside of Bend at Smith Rock. We also hit the worst hike I have been on in Oregon, where we unknowingly set ourselves up to walk down a fire lane trail for 6.4. miles. Not surprisingly we also learned to read the reviews on All Trails after this hike. This is also the first time in my life, I ended up reviewing something. Still a day in the sun with the wind at my back and my love by my side.
The best hike I have ever been on in Oregon, hands down. If you ever get the chance to hike around Smith Rock Park, I highly recommend it. It’s kind of hard to put the park into words. The pictures in this post don’t even do it justice and only capture a small portion of the magnificence of the park. There several trails ranging anywhere from long easy strolls to hard steep inclines. We happened to want to do the popular one known as Misery Ridge Trail.
Despite the name it was only a moderate level difficulty hike. More than likely named for the lack of sun on the front face of the mountain. However, we learned our lesson the day before and read the reviews of the hike, learning that going up the backside is in the shade and has less people. Once up to the top, the view was also as stunning as the hike itself. Looking out you could see 6 of Oregon’s mountains.
Float the River
Possibly one of the more fun ways to be lazy, enjoy the heat and the refreshing waters all at the same time. I have previously floated before during a hot spell in Oregon. However, the 6 hours that it lasted was way more than enough floating. Our float in Bend was a perfect 2 hours though. Afraid the water was going to be too freezing to sit in for the entire float, most of the water in Oregon is in the 40’s, we were pleasantly surprised. Woefully unprepared in comparison to some of these people on the river, floating was beautiful way to spend the afternoon after hiking 6.4 miles. Pro tip: swing by when they open before you go on your hike and pay your fees to get a wristband and skip the long line that forms later, and get your float on faster!
Eating on Vacation
No one wants to count calories on a vacation. After all the whole point to vacation is to get away from the stress of your everyday routines. So how do you go about eating on vacation? It takes some practice, but I recommend learning how to intuitively eat. Learning when your body is full, but not overly full, or stuffed. This was a trial and error process for me.
Pro tip palooza:
EAT SLOWER! If you are like me, I learned to eat fast during grade schools because we had 20 minutes from bell ring to bell ring. However, this leads to a lot of overeating because it doesn’t give the body enough time to send the signal that it is done. So, enjoy the company you are with, and enjoy some conversation between each bite.
Additionally, order good whole foods. Volume foods are good to eat, this typically means large leafy and vegetable. They’re low in calories and take up more room in the stomach creating a full feeling. Always make sure to get a decent portion of protein at each meal. Overall it is delicious, and secondly it will help keep your body from stripping protein from your muscles, while also helping to give your muscles fuel to do your shenanigans. Carbs are obviously the most delicious, especially if you’ve been drinking. Stay mindful about how many carbs you are eating if you are drinking, and especially if you are drinking beer. That being said, if you plan to go do some serious activity like hike 6.4 miles 2 days in a row, eat a generous amount before you go to help fuel your day.