“We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there.”
It’s been a while since I’ve check in, partially because I’ve hardly been on my bike except for my daily commute, and being a bike touring blog, I haven’t had much to say, and partially because I have been waiting with anticipation these last few months to move back to Bend. Now that I am here, I am ready to share. Though it was great to be near family in Astoria, Kevin and I both realized that we had left a part of ourselves in Bend, a part of ourselves that we weren’t going to be able to proceed without, so a few months ago Kevin applied for repel jobs with the forest service, and I applied to OSU-Cascades in order to move in time for spring semester.
So now we are here. Like many people moving to this booming town, we moved here for the lifestyle; for the hundreds of miles of running and mountain bike trails in and around town, for the six months of skiing just twenty miles down the road, for the river (Deschutes) that runs right through town, and for the hiking, rock-climbing, mountaineering, backpacking and snowshoeing all within a half hour drive. We moved here for the thousands of outdoor possibilities and for a community of people who love all of these things at least as much as we do.
Bend is the sort of place where “kayak art” is cool:
It was hard coming back from a two year trip, and throughout the last six months I have definitely entertained the idea of leaving on another extended tour, or joining a tour company in order to lead tours for a living. And though both of those things would bring me “short term” happiness, Kevin and I both want careers which we are passionate about, a community of friends and family we love, and a place to call home, which are all things which come with time. Sometimes it feels as if I am “giving in” by making long-term plans to stay put for a bit and focus on other aspects of our lives besides travel, but in all honesty, Bend has so much of what we were searching for all around the world, right at our finger tips.
A typical sunny day less than a half mile from our house:
I feel as if I have finally found a home I am excited and proud of. Bend is perfect for me, and every time I go on a fifteen mile trail run straight from my front door, ski before my afternoon class, or fly fish in the evening with Kevin, I can’t help but think that we live in one of the coolest places on earth. I believe that everyone out there has their own version of what Bend is for us, and that sometimes, you just may have to cycle through other continents for a few years in order to come back and see it with fresh and eager eyes.
Skiing before work makes my week just as exciting as my weekend:
Like the famous modern-day adventurer Alastair Humphrey, my focus is now going to be on microadventures; from overnight rafting trips such as the one we took with two friends last week, to small excursions in nature before or after work.
Smith Rocks is a famous park for rock climbing just twenty minutes outside of town. It also has great trails for running, hiking, and biking, as well as a small “climbers campground” where it is easy to pitch a tent. This – cycling or driving out after work in order to complete an evening hike/run and then camp overnight before returning to work the next morning – is the sort of easy weekday microadventure that is becoming part of my routine here.
We have fly fished three evenings this week, just a few miles from our house:
A few photos from out three day rafting trip along the John Day:
Now for some school/job related updates for those of you who are interested: I am currently pursing my Bachelors degree at OSU-Cascades in Outdoor Leadership (and will probably end up getting my Masters in teaching at some point as well) in order to combine my love of the outdoors with my love for children. I hope to someday teach at one of the alternative hands-on (“experimental education”) outdoor school here in Bend, and someday find a way to lead children and youth on cycle touring outings as well. Throughout the year I will be nannying for various families, and then teaching at an outdoor based summer camp this summer. Kevin was offered a job in far eastern Oregon for a seasonal (May-October) position on a repel crew (wildland firefighting) which he is excited to return back to after two years away. Though this means that we will spend the summer apart, we are both happily pursing what is right for us as individuals which we believe will make us as a couple stronger in the long run.