I’m back in Minnesota after an amazing three months in the Pacific Northwest. It’s been great to see family and friends again, but I’ve been doing a lot of reminiscing about my trip—including random observations. For example: believe it or not, grocery prices in Minnesota are higher than in any of the places I’ve been—even Seattle.
Today is my last full day in Oregon, and this post is all about the magical city of Bend. In fact, it’s official: Bend stole my heart. This month has been perfect. If I could, I would like to put September 2022 on repeat for a while.
I spent most of Sunday absolutely speechless, soaking in the breathtaking views at Crater Lake National Park. It was the final bucket list item for my month in Oregon. A couple of weeks ago I was chatting with a local while on a river hike, and he said Crater Lake is so blue it will make your eyes hurt. An accurate statement, but in a good way. And if it’s not obvious, I’m having the time of my life on this travel adventure.
I’ve been hiking along the Deschutes River a lot this month. A day or two after I arrived in Bend, I realized a trailhead to miles of hiking is directly behind my townhome. And I don’t even have to get in the car!
One of the great things about spending a month at a time in a different state is learning what it’s like to be a local. Each place has its own quirks that have been fun to discover. But this month’s biggest learning opportunity hasn’t been as fun: I’m discovering what it’s like to live close to a raging wildfire.
I’m in another new-to-me state: Oregon! A state without sales tax, where it’s illegal to pump your own gas, and with fir trees galore. I arrived in Bend on Thursday and have settled into the spacious townhome where I’m spending the month discovering why Bend shows up on so many Top 10 lists of cities to live in the U.S. The journey here through the Columbia River Gorge was truly gorge. (You knew that was coming.)