I have been trying to visit my pal Emily in Bend, OR for quite some time and finally made it down last weekend. The cool thing about living out West is how many different terrains and climates you have access to. I haven't explored the central part of Oregon much, which is very mountainous and desert-like. You see many more mountains as you're driving around town, it's pretty amazing. I don't think I've seen Emily in over a year, since she visited Minneapolis. So, we were due for a hang-out. Boy was it a good one! We both saw our first rodeo, tried some delicious local brews and ate some really amazing food. I had the pleasure of meeting some of her co-workers and having a BBQ with the 3 sisters mountains looming in the distance. I can't imagine walking outside and seeing that every day.
Before I went back to Portland I made a side trip to Smith Rock State Park, a place I've been wanting to visit for quite some time. I wanted to see all the rock climbers in action and do some solid hiking. The climb was pretty steep and treacherous on the way down, very slippery dirt. I had a few close calls. But once I got back down, the rest of the trail was really fun and looped around a river and huge rocks.