Preparing for the PPP

Padders getting ready to hit the water.

It’s only May, but it’s starting to feel like summer here in Central Oregon. Restaurants are opening up their patios. Fun seekers throughout the area are digging up their paddleboards, mountain bikes, and fly rods from the depths of their garages. And we’ve already spotted a few brave souls floating the river. Ski season may be winding down, but we’re not ready to put away the winter gear yet. Especially because the Pole Pedal Paddle is coming up.

The PPP is the epitome of everything awesome that Bend has to offer. It starts just up the road from PointsWest at Mt. Bachelor with an alpine leg to the exchange point at West Village Lodge. Then skate and classic skiers hit the Nordic trails for an 8 km dash to the cycling exchange, where racers enjoy a scenic 22-mile ride down Century Drive into Bend. The next leg is a 5-mile run along the Deschutes River Trail to a 1.5-mile canoe/kayak leg at Farewell Bend Park in the Old Mill District. As if all this weren’t enough, the race ends with a .5-mile sprint along the grassy banks of the river to the finish line. Pheew! Did I forget anything? They don’t have a skydiving leg. But they might as well add one while they’re at it.

You don’t have to be a pro to get your Pole Pedal Paddle on. Participants can compete individually, in pairs, or in teams. You can be as competitive as you want. Although incredible athletes flock to this race from all over the country, it is common to see teams sporting Jamaican bobsled outfits, military suits, tutus, and a plethora of other goofy paraphernalia. And if you don’t compete, heading down to Farewell Bend to cheer the racers on and to enjoy the booths, live music, awesome food (and beer, of course), is almost as much fun.

The PPP is the ultimate relay race. On top of taking advantage of the awesome outdoor activities we are blessed to have in our town, the event demonstrates the strong sense of community we have built. We’ll see you out there on May 18 poling, pedaling, paddling and cheering!

Extending Your Summer Vacation

September Wildflowers on the Green Lakes Trail

For most families in Oregon, it may feel like Labor Day weekend was the last hurrah of summer. But for those of us here in Bend, the season is just reaching its peak.

“Indian Summer” is upon us. Temperatures are still comfortably in the 70s and 80s, but the evenings and mornings are refreshingly crisp, cooling off by as much as 40 or 50 degrees. (And that, my friends, is what kills off those annoying mosquitoes that bugged us at the lakes in July and August.) It’s that time of year when we get to enjoy the endless outdoor opportunities that Central Oregon provides, but without all the pre-Labor Day crowds.

School is in session and the tourists have gone home, which means fewer encounters with sweaty mountain bikers and rambunctious dogs on the trails. You can have your favorite fishing spot or swimming hole all to yourself again, as well as your first choice tee time. You can even float the river without an armada of other inflated watercraft surrounding you.

While fall colors are starting to appear on the leaves as you walk the river trail, wildflowers are in still in bloom, most noticeably in the Old Mill District, of course. Yet on my hike up to Green Lakes in the Three Sisters Wilderness last weekend, an assortment of wildflowers was still on display, which is unusual for this time of year. And although I wouldn’t recommend it at Green Lakes, it’s a great time to go for a swim in the Cascades Lakes are while water temps are at their warmest.

Yes, the kids may be back in school. But for a few more precious weeks, you can let that inner child keep on playing with the pristine conditions that late summertime in Bend has to offer.

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