The last week I've spent in Black Butte Ranch, a community 15 miles south of Sisters, Oregon. The family and I sequester ourselves away from the last week of summer, the back to school denial in full swing. It's a tradition we started in Sunriver, Oregon when the first kid entered kindergarten and the last couple of years we've spent in Black Butte, which is that much closer to Portland and quicker to arrive - guilty pleasure? Hot tub, cold beer, quietness, you be the judge….
The best and really the most inspirational part of being in Central Oregon are the hikes, the bike rides, you know - all the nature stuff. I completely nerd out on the hiker's handbooks and the nature guides, I now know the subtle differences between the Sisters' ponderosa pine and the Pacific Northwest coastal lodgepole pine. For what it's worth…. ( You know you want to check it out) This year we took two awesome hikes that I would recommend to anyone out in that Central Oregon, Bend/Sisters area. The first hike was the Alder Springs hike, find more technical info here. Long story short, you start at the top of the canyon and work your way down a winding path 1,700 feet to Alder Springs, a worthy reward for your steep jaunt!
The second hike was up Black Butte, this time you start at the bottom of the trail and the highlight is the view at the top, technical info here. There's a forest service log cabin up here as well as a fire look out, a small vintage cupola structure built in 1923 still stands - it's all amazing that all this could be built up here when you arrive with the sense that both your lungs are about to explode and all you've been shlepping is the weight of an iPhone! No, really it's all worth it as you gaze down to the valley below and realize what an epically beautiful part of the country we live in, and the hike down is a piece of cake!