Bend Whitewater Park

About the Bend Whitewater Park

Did you know that you can surf on the Deschutes River? Yes, thanks to the creation of the Bend Whitewater Park you too can hang ten on the river that flows through Bend, Oregon. Maybe you would rather float down in an inner tube – you can do that too. Maybe you want to get a glimpse of some wildlife – that’s also an option. The river was split into three channels: the Habitat Channel for wildlife; the Whitewater Channel for kayaks, surfboards, and stand up paddleboards; and the Passageway Channel for inner tubes and small rafts.

Innertubers at Bend Whitewater Park, Oregon

Passageway Channel.

A 100-year old dam was recently removed from the river near the Colorado Avenue Bridge and an “amusement park” was put in by Bend Parks and Recreation. At a cost of nearly $10 million dollars, some questioned its value. Bend Paddle Trail Alliance, one of the local groups in support of this park, contributed over $1 million towards the project. The voter-approved  bond said that water recreationists would have “safe passage” once the project was completed. That’s a good idea since people were injured or lost their lives because of the dam.

A wild river does not always cooperate with the plans of engineers. Inner tubers were getting hurt on the rocks at the Bend Whitewater Park last spring when water levels were still high. That section was temporarily closed down. Now that water levels are lower and some additional work has been done on the channels, tubers can once again enjoy the river.

However, you may not want to try to go down this section in a canoe. The guy in the red canoe on the right side of the photo above capsized. There is a portage route where you can walk around if you don’t want to try the rapids.

Video of inner-tubing and surfing on the Deschutes

The course of the channel that is for surfers, paddleboarders, and kayakers can be altered by adjusting 25 bladders in the river. A Wave Master controls the course with an app on his iPad.

I walk right by here looking for wildlife. I am hoping some of the critters that used to be here will return when all of the construction is completed. This was a great spot to see swallows, mergansers, osprey, cedar waxwings, and the occasional dipper. See my previous post on Birding Around Bend for more info. I have also seen beaver, river otter, and muskrats near the Bend Whitewater Park. You never know what animals you will find here.

Canada geese in the Habitat Channel, Bend Whitewater Park

Habitat Channel

Many people start their float at Riverbend Park and get out at Mirror Pond in  Drake Park. You can also do a shorter float by starting at McKay Park, where the Whitewater Park is. A Ride the River shuttle can take you and your inner tube back upriver where you parked for a small fee.

 

 

Hot Air Extraordinaire

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Harnessing hot air into giant works of art makes for some interesting sights. We went to Balloons Over Bend last weekend for a couple of their events. There were plenty of opportunities for photographs. In these first photos, I decided to focus in on some of the colorful shapes and interesting lines.

Multiple hot air balloons in Bend, OR 23 July 2016

We went to the morning launch at sunrise. Temperatures are low in the morning and it is not usually as windy so that’s when many of the flights occur. Flights also occur just prior to sunset.

Night Glow hot air balloons in Bend, OR 22 July 2016

There is also a nightime event called Nightime Glow. The pilots of the balloons light up the balloons with their propane-fueled burners. It creates some beautiful images.

Night Glow multiple hot air balloons in Bend, OR 22 July 2016

The balloons did not lift off of the ground but they gave us a great light show. There were hundreds and hundreds of people at this event so if you go, get there early.

Art Aloft balloon in Bend, OR 23 July 2016

This was my favorite balloon. It belongs to Big Sky Balloon Company in central Oregon. The artwork was created by owner Darren Kling, as part of his Artaloft Project.

Hot air balloons fly at 100 to 2,000 feet above the ground with an average cruising altitude of 1,000 feet. They travel with the wind and generally don’t go much faster than 8-10 mph. Balloons carry 1-12 passengers. They are a great way to see the landscape around you from a different perspective.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Desert Bitterroot Oasis

Bitterroot, Lewisii redviva

Bitterroot, Lewisii redviva

Oasis moments sometimes happen in the desert. While hiking to Chimney Rock near Prineville, Oregon, we came across a patch of bitterroot flowers. The small flowers burst forth from cracks in the sandy soil in shades of pink and white. The flowers are only about an inch and a half across. The plant is delicate yet hardy at the same time.

I had never seen so many blossoms in one place. Bitterroot has always been a plant that amazes me. It was hard for me to keep walking with our group when a part of me just wanted to crouch down to their level and marvel at their perfection.

Beneath the soil, a taproot gives this plant its name. Meriwether Lewis, of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, first saw the bitterroot plant in Lemhi County, Montana on August  22, 1805. Lewis tasted the root and described it in his journal:

this the Indians with me informed were always boiled for use. I made the exprement, found that they became perfectly soft by boiling, but had a very bitter taste, which was naucious to my pallate, and I transfered them to the Indians who had eat them heartily.

Baskets & photo of digging stick, Warm Springs Museum

Baskets & photo of digging stick, Warm Springs Museum

Bitterroot can be found in much of western North America in drier areas with well-drained gravelly soils and several tribes made use of the plant. Shoshoni, Flathead, Nez Perce, Paiute, Kutenai, and other tribes used digging sticks to collect the roots in the spring. The roots were dried and were often mixed with berries and meat.

The roots were traded and bartered and were considered to be of great value. A bagful was worth as much as a horse. They were used as food but also had medicinal uses. Bitterroot was used for several ailments including heart problems and sore throats. They were also used  to treat wounds and to increase milk flow in nursing mothers.

President Thomas Jefferson had asked Lewis to collect plant specimens on their expedition. Bitterroot plants were collected on the return trip in June of 1806. The area in Montana where the plants were collected is now known as the Bitterroot Valley. Specimens were given to the botanist Frederick Pursh in Philadelphia. Pursh named the plant Lewsii redviva in honor of Lewis.

BitterrootGrayButte15May2016

Fun fact: The species name redviva means “reviving from a dry state.” The specimens presented to Pursh came back to life even though they had been dug up many months before.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grounded 2

Thermophiles Yellowstone NPkLook beneath your feet
And notice

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colors blending Yellowstone NPk

Notice the textures
Notice the colors blending
And bold

Textures Yellowstone NPk

Near Grand Prismatic Spring Yellowstone NPk

Bold and brilliant hues
Bold and distinct edges
And patterns

 

 

 

 

 

Ridges Yellowstone NPk

Patterns of cracks
Patterns of smoothness
And transitions

Pebbles Yellowstone NPk

 

Transitions Yellowstone NPk

Transitions moving towards new
Transitions moving in a rhythm
And beat

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grand Prismatic Spring Yellowstone NPk

Beat into the earth
Beat into your memory
And soul

I am re-posting one of my favorite posts in celebration of one year of blogging and 100 entries. Hope you are enjoying my blog!

Bison celebrating 4th

Bison in Yellowstone National Park 13 June 2011

Say hello to our new national mammal

Here’s a picture of bison in Yellowstone National Park. Happy 4th of July from our new national mammal in the U.S., the bison. Their scientific name is Bison bison bison.  If only all scientific names were that easy!

Bison are a conservation success story. Due to over-hunting in the late 1800’s, their population was down to a few hundred animals. As a result of the conservation strategies employed by President Theodore Roosevelt and like-minded individuals, the bison were able to make a dramatic comeback.

Here’s a link to a U.S. Department of the Interior page that has 15 interesting facts about them – Bison