Rain has splattered the High Desert over the last few days, reminding me how much I love Central Oregon.
That might sound weird, but rain gives us options. Rain can mean snow in the mountains, to extend those backcountry skiing and snowboarding possibilities. In light to moderate amounts, rain can also mean firm and tacky mountain bike trails.
We can complain about the rain, but Mount Bachelor and surrounding peaks received more than a foot of snow earlier this week. Late-season riding, backcountry or resort, offers mostly empty slopes and occasional new snow — often wet snow, but snow nonetheless.
And, come on, it hasn’t rained that much. How many of you have ever lived in Portland or Eugene?
We can also complain about the economy, but many potential adventures can be had for cheap. No matter how bad it gets, we can walk outside and find an adventure — often for free — to take our minds off other matters.
Here is a sampling of adventures to put on your list for this late spring and summer. Take the proper safety precautions, and go with a friend:
• Snowshoe and ski/snowboard Tumalo Mountain before the snow melts.
• Discover a new mountain bike trail.
• Raft the Deschutes River.
• Go for a long, extended road bike ride.
• Hike in our Cascade Mountains.
• Paddle a canoe or kayak on our Cascade Lakes.
• Wet a fly on Hosmer Lake.
• Go for a long trail run.
• Try rock climbing at Smith Rock State Park.
• Find a friend with a boat, and wakeboard or water ski on Lake Billy Chinook.
• Go skateboarding at any of the various skateparks in Bend, Redmond and Madras.
• Ride an all-terrain vehicle on the myriad trails east of Bend.
Some of these activities remind us of that little event coming up next Saturday, the 33rd annual Pole Pedal Paddle multisport race. Featuring alpine skiing, nordic skiing, biking, running and paddling, it can be regarded as Central Oregon’s ultimate adventure — a sort of kickoff to the warm season of endless outdoor possibilities.
Participants come from around the Northwest not only to race in the PPP and party afterward, but to just be in Central Oregon, a place where they know that adventures — and perhaps a few microbrews — are just around the corner.
My guess is that some of these out-of-towners have other outings planned in addition to the big race — outings in which they won’t necessarily have to worry about competing but can just enjoy the outdoors on a limited budget.
And rain or shine, they will come.