Friday, October 13, 2006

On a Bender, part deux

So, we went to Bend, although I have no photos of Bend itself, which does seem strange, especially since I carried my camera around the whole time. During this trip I sniffed out three (yes, three!) yarn shops, but you'll have to wait until the end of the post to see the haul. Dave and I have this tendency to go to outdoorsy places on our mini-vacations, and then to do outdoorsy things whilst there. Last year we went to Squamish, BC, which is the (self-proclaimed) outdoor capital of BC, and this year we went to Bend, the (self-proclaimed) outdoor capital of Oregon (or the Pacific Northwest, depending on who you ask). Overall this was a much better trip, for several reasons. For one, the weather was great. It was a bit chilly, but it was sunny and we stayed in a hotel so the cold wasn't really an issue. In Squamish we camped, and it was cold, and drizzly, and we had loud neighbors, and so on. Plus there really isn't much to do there, unless one is participating in the myriad of outdoors activities (the capital of outdoorsy stuff title is fairly accurate, I'd say) or going to Whistler (which we did, but it was September, so no skiing for us), especially when the weather is uncooperative. Bend is a bigger town and therefore one can browse the shops, sit in coffeeshops, eat at good local restaurants, and buy yarn (as well as go hiking), which always makes for a happy Emily. So, what did we do?
We went to Shevlin Park, which is a state park just outside of town. The scenery was very different from what we're used to in Western Washington. Bend is essentially in a high desert environment, so the air is very dry, it's sandy, and the flora is completely different. Lots of scrubby plants and dustiness. There are signs everywhere warning people not to start forest firest, and they all say "Keep Oregon Green," which I found ironic since there wasn't a whole lot of green to be found...there was, however, some fall foliage. By the way, to all my East Coast readers, this is what we consider impressive fall color in the Northwest. While it's nothing like the Northeast, it's what we have and we will be happy with it. Or we'll try anyway...Instead of red and orange, we get yellow and brown. Lack of maple trees you know. Ahem...
Shevlin Park is lovely. We did about a 5.5 mile loop along the Shevlin River (note additional fall color on the lower left!). I was fascinated by the trees, which we determined were Ponderosa pines. These trees make HUGE pine cones, some of which came home with me to be put in a big bowl with my cool seed pods. I'm pretty sure we don't have these trees around Seattle, but they're quite lovely with long, soft needles. After Shevlin Park we got more ambitious, and hiked up Tumalo Mountain, which is right next to (literally, the parking lot is across the road) Mount Bachelor. This was a pretty easy hike, only 3 miles roundtrip with 1350 ft elevation gain, but looks are decieving. The base elevation is 6350 ft, and the top is 7700 ft, and that is altitude you can feel. So we huffed and puffed our way up there, and were rewarded with spectacular views of Mount Bachelor (I love looking at ski resorts in the summer, I find them fascinating) and some of the Three Sisters. This is, from the left, South Sister, Middle Sister (in the back), and Broken Top. They're all volcanos, which is fairly obvious in the case of Broken Top. For scale, the Sisters are all just over 10,000 ft. South Sister can be climbed without any technical skill, so think that might have be accomplished if we go back to Bend. You probably gathered this from the name, but there is a third Sister hiding behind Broken Top, which is the one on the left in the photos from my last post. On our way home the next day we stopped at Smith Rock State Park, which is a famous rock-climbing area.

It was really neat - so different from anything around it, and more like Southern Utah than the Pacific Northwest. There were indeed many rock-climbers (who are all insane, just sayin'), and many big rocks.

All in all we had a great trip, and I'd definitely recommend Bend as a destination should be in the vicinity. Of course what you really want to see is the yarn, so here you go:
The skeins on the left are from Juniper Fiberworks, in Bend, and the others are from the Stitchin' Post in Sisters. The orange on the left is for armwarmers (for me), and the sock yarn was too lovely to pass up. The grey alpaca at the bottom was on sale for almost nothing, and amazingly soft. Dave had his eye on it but I'm not sure what I would knit from it for him. At the bottom are some short size 1.5 DPNs, which NO ONE in Seattle sells, and which I was very happy to find. I probably should have bought several sets and sold them up here! The other yarns are a skein of Noro Kureyon, for the Lizard Ridge blanket I hope to start sometime moderately soon. I'm thinking it would be fun to get a skein in different places I visit, so the blanket becomes a souvenir. The ugly blue skein is Atacama 100% alpaca. I will admit I think it looks awful in the skein, but the swatch was lovely, and the colors are so me, and I had to have it. We went to another yarn shop in Bend, which I think had just opened, but I didn't buy anything and I have nothing good to say about the shop (except that they had a cute cat) so I'm not going to tell you what it was called. I could give them the benefit of the doubt, since I think they just opened, but if you can't put prices on your products, or at least on the shelves, and you stand around looking snotty and talking to your coworker, I'm not going to bother interupting and asking how much your lovely Trekking XXL is going to set me back. I'll take my money elsewhere. Thanks. As for Juniper Fiberworks, now that is a great shop. First off, it's huge. Secondly, they had my little 1.5 needles. Third, the shop was organized in an interesting fashion. In retrospect this is good and bad. They have their yarn organized by color, for the most part, although some things like Manos (ah, Manos) and sock yarn are in their own sections. So, this was great when I decided all of a sudden that I needed to have pumpkin orange armwarmers, and I could go to the orange section and find the perfect yarn. Not so good if you were trying to match five colors of Cascade 220 for a project and had to keep finding it in each section. From a visual standpoint this organization scheme is very appealing, at least to me, but it could make finding things a bit difficult.

So, there you go, that is the Bend trip, all wrapped up! I've been knitting a ton and maybe I'll show some things off over the weekend, but for now I'm out. Happy Friday the 13th! Hope nothing bad happens to you - me I've been dropping things all day, but thankfully none of them have been fragile (or stitches!)...

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