Stop #9: Smith Rock, Oregon
We left Yellowstone National Park on Thursday but before we did, we had a grand breakfast at the Old Faithful Inn. After 8 days of oatmeal and PB&Js, we splurged on a proper breakfast and Huckleberry pancakes! 😋
We took a scenic route out of Yellowstone and stopped quickly at the Grand Prismatic Spring, then it was the start of a day of driving to Boise, Idaho.
We passed a cool area in Idaho called Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve. We didn’t have time to stop but it was such an interesting landscape change from what we had been seeing. We were meeting our friend Christina in Boise, since it was about the midpoint between Yellowstone and Smith Rock. Christina had lots of hotel points and got the three of us a room for the night. Jess and I were excited to take a shower 😝 and do some laundry. And sleep in real beds! Thanks Christina!
The next day, Jess, Christina, and I made our way to Smith Rock State Park in Oregon. We had planned to meet three other friends there for some camping and climbing. We arrived in the late afternoon, and it was HOT. It’s dry heat like the desert, so slightly more tolerable, but still, we all lazed about in the picnic table area of the park in the shade. We finally decided to get moving and do a short hike around the park while we waited for our other friends to arrive.
Smith Rock has stunning rock formations and we kept saying it could have been the setting for Land Before Time. 😂 Towards the end of our hike we met an older gentleman who had two fancy SLR cameras set up near the visitor center. He showed us some of the images he has taken at the park and they were amazing! He knows a lot about the animals that make their home in the park such as a pair of eagles, falcons, and coyotes. He was generous enough to give us several of his prints he had in his car.
When all of our friends arrived, it was late. They had some drinks as we all stared at the stars in the night sky. Luca pointed out the International Space Station as it sailed past us! I didn’t realize it was something you could see with the naked eye.
We headed to our tents for the night for an early morning. The next day, we set out for a climbing area called Mesa Verde; it was on the west side of the range, which meant precious cool shade for the morning. We forded the Crooked River and made our way around. The climbs were fun, and on rock where it seemed like pebbles were glued onto the rock for holds. By 2pm the sun was over the ridge and it was too hot to climb.
For the afternoon, Sarah had a grand idea of tubing down a river in nearby Bend. We drove over and just made the last shuttle bus to the tubing start. The water was ice cold, so nice! The middle of the tubing route had some “rapids.” 4 of us had tied our tubes together and as we bounced through the rapids, Christina lost her water bottle overboard! Luckily, a kid nearby grabbed it as it floated by and handed it back to a Christina. Lukasz and Sarah waited for us ahead and when we met up, we heard how Lukasz flipped off his tube going over the rapids and somehow made it back on his tube before the next rapid.
We continued our lazy float down the river and ogled at the riverside homes and guessed how much they were. With our tubing adventure complete, we went in search of food. We found a brewery that had a few food trucks. They had a large lawn where we sat on the ground to enjoy our meals and drinks. The sun set in the distance as families played corn hole and people hung out with friends and dogs. It was a great end to a fun day.