I was invited (once again) to join the men of Man Week for a second time. And thus, I was no longer the "new guy". My replacement, Mike, joined us in a last minute scramble of plane reservations and gear gathering. My own pile of gear didn’t quite touch the ceiling, but was pretty straight forward considering the bikes and rafting equipment would be found at our destination.

After two flights in ever-shrinking planes from Albuquerque via Denver to Oregon, we were deposited directly onto the tarmac in Redmond.  Adam promptly arrived and we loaded all our gear for the short drive south to Bend.   Although, it was late, we spent a good amount of time catching up and discussing our plans for the week starting with whitewater rafting on the Deschutes River up north in Maupin.

We were in no hurry and enjoyed breakfast, packed the car and drove two hours north where we put-in the raft.  A previously arranged phone call, along with a hidden car key and $35 under the driver’s side floor mat, meant that our transportation would be waiting for us at the take-out several miles north.

The Deschutes River is one of the only rivers that actually flows north and contains many small waterfalls, wave trains, and rapids before depositing itself into the Columbia River in northern Oregon.  Flowing swiftly and maintaining a chilly 55 degree temperature, it is home to much wildlife, both above and below its surface.  We started just outside of Maupin on a popular stretch of the river with many other boats.  The weather was perfect for rafting with a high temp of 90 degrees, sunny, and very little wind.

We rolled away from river’s edge at 4:30 and headed back to Bend and two bike rental shops that were holding our bikes for the week.  It was amusing to see that all four rented bikes were the same Trek Mamba model only differing in our individual pedal preferences.

The Deschutes National Forest just north and east of Bend contains literally hundreds of miles of well marked mountain bike,  hiking and horse riding trails.  Adam had been in the area many times and suggested several trails which took us further  and futher into the wilderness.

It wasn’t long before we found ourselves deep in the forest enjoying the solitude of our remote location….

UNTIL….

AND THEN..

We explored further and further into the forest  on many of the networked trails that could be found from time to time.  Some of the most remote trails were  terminated with well stocked shelters for camping, both summer and winter.

After 2300 feet of climbing, we concluded our day with a screaming downhill, winding, flowing, and jumping trail back to town.

Friday had us up and away for a day of fishing and biking.  We loaded up the car with our fishing gear and my bike and headed south 15 miles to Benham Falls.

It was a bad day of fishing, but not even close to a good day of working as we threw everything in our arsenal at the trout clearly visible along the river bottom and hiding among the dead fall stumps.

Todd, CJ, Adam, and Mike continued back to town while I remained with a full pack, fly gear, and a sturdy bike to get me home.  I followed a tight hiking trail and explored several miles of the river on my way back to town.

Most of the area surrounding Bend was covered in a thick layer of lava many many years ago and the Descutes River has slowly cut  itself a path through it resulting in miles and miles of clear blue water contrasted by exposed rugged basalt.  The fishing is excellent (I hear) and whitewater rafting is some of the best.

I played leapfrog with several groups of whitewater rafters as I headed north along the narrow river trail stopping to fish from time to time.

When we gathered that evening, Adam and CJ let us know that they had reserved a shuttle for our final big mountain bike ride  on Saturday.  Along with a couple other guys, we were taken about 15 miles out of town to the parking lot for Swampy Lakes.  This placed us with access to many miles of mountain bike trails across the national forest.

Most of our riding was nearly effortless broken up by the occasional uphill stretch as we traversed the peaks and valleys.  A highlight of the day was our lunch stop at Tupolo Falls, probably the most perfect “fall” I’ve ever seen.

After lunch we traversed the mountain side and then steeply up to some of the higher passes where we became aware of distant thunder followed by a light hail storm which transitioned into a steady, enjoyable rain.