SEPTEMBER IN OREGON can be a challenge if you're looking for a suitable activity to match the weather. Each day can be "ideal" for ducks, horses, salmon, or humans - take your pick. The temperature swings tested us to find an activity to match each daily forecast during our visit. Hike, bike, swim, shop, museum, raft, golf, tennis, spelunk caves, climb mountains or explore the wilderness? Should we take shorts & sneekers, jacket & boots, or full Goretex today?
The local points of interest were uniquely diverse, offering a wide choice of daily activities. Oregon's geologic diversity includes high rocky desert with many cinder cones, caverns, and tall snow-capped mountains that nourish meadows, streams, marshes, forests, and the Deschutes River that meanders through the valley. Many small birds, bunnies, hawks, egrets, and herons were common residents we spotted during our daily jaunts.
Sunriver has miles of paved trails ripe for exploration. They meander past housing, through golf links, across pastures, and circumnavigate around the tiny airport. It's impossible to pass along the network of trails without meeting others out for exercise and enjoying the day. At each encounter there's always time for a friendly chat and exchange of pleasantries. It's a wonderful interlude from our regularly busy lives. No one seems to be in a hurry here.
Life in the community is so relaxed that it allures the wildlife and draws them from the "wild." Ground squirrels and cottontails are commonly seen scurrying about -- and even the local deer appear undaunted by humans as they wander through the development feeding on lush grass and berry bushes that grow here.
The weather this trip was too chilly for river rafting, so we journeyed to the Kokanee slamon spawning in a tributary stream not far from Bend. Kokanee salmon are fresh water fish that return every three years to their birthplace to mate, spawn, and die. During this spawning run they turn orange and bright red before successfully completing their life cycle.
It was encouraging to see the Oregon State rangers holding class for school kids at the spawning site, explaining the natural stream ecology and fish migration habits. Passing on ecological awareness to children and adults is very important for environmental preservation.