After a few days of 90-degree weather, I was feeling sticky and lethargic, and I couldn't get one thought out of my head: Time to go swimming.
I was looking for someplace I hadn't been before, but that wouldn't require a lot of work. I decided to check out local favorite Cline Falls.
The 9-acre park, officially called Cline Falls State Scenic Viewpoint, just east of Redmond on the south side of state Highway 126. A small, paved road loops through the park, which hugs the Deschutes River. A few grassy areas along the river open to the water, interspersed among more reedy, riparian patches. Picnic tables, a fish cleaning station, a scarred horseshoe pit and restrooms comprise the amenities.
When I arrived Monday, it was just after noon, and already every grassy opening had a few inhabitants. Most were families with young kids, but in one corner, some young sun worshippers were spreading out for the day, enjoying some tunes thumping from their nearby parked car.
It didn't take long, sitting on my towel in the sun, to work up the courage to step into the chilly water, and I was relieved when I discovered the river to be much warmer than I'd feared.
At Cline Falls, there are a variety of ways to enjoy the river. You can find sections shallow enough for an adult to walk across, areas with boulders to climb, and a even a fairly deep swimming hole.
The rocky, slightly slick riverbed made me glad that I'd worn my river shoes, and when I spotted a large crawdad (It was really big. Almost lobster-sized. A crawbster? A lobdad?) scurrying along the rocks underwater, I was grateful my shoes had closed toes.
As the day continued to warm up, the riverbank filled with coolers, folding chairs and sunscreen-scented kids.
A few bathing-suit clad revelers started working a circuit, walking upstream to the edge of the park and dropping inner tubes into the water. After about 10 minutes, they'd climb out at the opposite end of the park and walked back upstream again.
A warning: Don't get so lulled by tranquil scenery that you forget to hop out of the water before you leave the park. Cline Falls aren't far downstream, and they can be deadly.
“Cline Falls, Cline Buttes and a now-extinct community were named for pioneer dentist Cass A. Cline,” according to the book “Images of America: Redmond,” by Leslie Pugmire Hole and Trish Pinkerton. The site was originally given to the state parks division in the 1950s.
Alcohol was banned at the park in 2008 as a result of problems including fighting, drunken driving and minors in possession.
As I relaxed on the bank in the sun, taking a few cycles of my own favorite river circuit — sun, sweat, dunk, repeat — a nap sounded tempting. But I'd read the weather report and knew thunderstorms were on the horizon. I suppose there was also a part of me that knew I should get back to the office.
As I packed up and headed back to town, the clouds darkened. As I drove into Bend, I saw the first lightning bolt shoot down from the sky.
If you go
What: Cline Falls State Scenic Viewpoint
Getting there: From Bend, take U.S. Highway 20 to Tumalo. Turn right onto Cook Avenue, the road turns slightly to the right and becomes Cline Falls Highway. After 10 miles, turn left and merge onto state Highway 126 east; the park is about a half mile down the road on your right. From Redmond, the park is four miles west on state Highway 126.