Summer Adventures

Since we got home from our road trip, we’ve been busy working and playing. My ankle is still sore from my birthday karaoke sprain, so we’ve shifted our focus from mountain biking to road biking. We also managed to get in the first backpacking trip of the season, which it turns out was a bit premature. Every summer we get antsy for some alpine backpacking and end up jumping the gun, finding ourselves hiking through miles of snowfields where there should be wildflower meadows. Someday we may learn that the season really doesn’t start until August, but until then we enjoy our early season adventures and tolerate the wicked sunburns that we get from being on the snow for hours.

Our first big trip was a road ride over beautiful McKenzie Pass to visit the grandparents in Bend. McKenzie Pass is basically a giant lava field surrounded by peaks: Three Fingered Jack, Mt. Washington, and the Three Sisters. The trip was 70 miles each way and several thousand feet of climbing. We didn’t quite know what to expect, but it turns out that all the time we spend climbing steep trails and forest roads on mountain bikes makes road climbing (even a mountain pass) seem not so bad. We got to stop at two of our favorite ice cream shops on the way: BJ’s in Sisters and Goody’s in Bend. But the best part was hanging out with Rheannon’s grandparents, which is always a treat.

Lava tube break

Summiting the Pass

Riding through the high desert on our way to Bend

Grandma and Grandpa!

Mt. Washington looking sassy.

Rheannon posing with North and Middle Sister

We were so impressed with McKenzie Pass that we went back to the area the following weekend to go backpacking. We left from the appropriately named Obsidian Trailhead, and besides finding a lot of snow, we also found a lot of obsidian. So much so that at times it felt and sounded like we were walking through a field of coins. We were lucky to have Sea Oh and the dogs join us for this trip. We won’t have Sea Oh much longer since she’s starting medical school soon, and it’s an increasingly rare treat to be able to adventure with the dogs since they’ve been getting older and they can’t keep up with us the way they used to.

Hiking through the lava fields

Obsidian!

Snow dogs

If you look close you can see my sunburn forming.

This picture was taken just seconds before Branson fell and got stuck in the well between the snow and that giant boulder. Such is the life of an aging, adventuring pit bull.

Our temporary home.

Sunbathing in the meadow.

Can’t leave home without the hammock.

-Jim

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