Finding Bend

Annette had been asking me to visit for years. I had this sneaky suspicion that once I did, I’d never want to leave. Turns out, I was right. By day two, I knew I had found my new home.

I’ll admit, Annette laid on the Bend-charm thick! She has every toy known to woman—paddle boards, bikes, camper, kayaks, snowboards, 4X4 roller skates, the list goes on and on. Day one, four of us girls took a ski boat up to Billy Chinook lake and wake-boarded all afternoon, then filled up the ‘fatties’ and swapped out to wake surf. That evening, we biked around town, crossing the magical Deschuttes river where the river surfers were out playing, and ended at an outdoor concert venue to watch Brandy Carlisle sing her soul out. Day two, we hiked to the peak of Tumalo, where one is rewarded with 360 views of the valleys and other peaks beyond—most notably, Sisters and Broken Top. Afterwards, we threw the SUPs in the car and drove past handfuls of crystal lakes until we arrived at Hosmer Lake. The dogs both hopped on Annette’s board, as they’ve done hundreds of times before, and we roamed along the path that weaved like a river through the tall grasses that rose from the shallow waters. The image here is from a spot where we stopped along the shore to share cans of vino and gawk at the pristine landscape around us. While I was paddling down the ‘river’—snow speckled mountain straight in front of me, sunshine on my shoulders, dogs on SUPs behind me—the feeling enveloped me like no other: THIS was home. I knew it as sure as shit (as my Dad would say). I’ve been on cloud 9 ever since, envisioning my magical unicorn world (as I call it) and all of the adventures, love, and awe that await.

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