By Dusty Trails
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. It’s a great time to get out on the water and book that rafting trip, moonlight canoe tour, or stand-up paddle board rental you always wanted. You can even float the river without an armada of other inflated watercraft surrounding you.
It’s a prime time to have dinner al fresco, so don’t miss the opportunity to grab a spot on one of Bend’s sunny patios. It’s also your last chance to sip on some seasonal summer brews on the Bend Ale Trail and try out the new bike park at Mt. Bachelor, which is open for a few more weeks. What’s more, REI isn’t the only place that has a killer sale to make room for fall and winter clothing. A lot of retailers are offering deals on summer fashions you’ll be able to wear again next year when the weather turns warm.
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 the base of Broken Top last weekend, an assortment of wildflowers was still on display, which is unusual for this time of year. Green Lakes is also a great wildflower hike this time of year. And although I wouldn’t recommend it at No Name lake (which was iced over in the morning when I arrived at Broken Top), it’s a great time to go for a swim in the Cascades Lakes 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.