Deschutes River Trail Urban Snow Walk

January 18, 2017.

10 mi. | 250′ ele. gain | 3:30 hr.

“It never snows much in town,” they said.

And then the winter of 2017 came, burying Bend in all the snow. All of it. I have been shoveling and shoveling this snow that wasn’t supposed to fall at my house. Or, if it did, the sun would surely come out soon and melt it all away. They said.

Well this was a big, fat lie and I had finally decided to accept that I was now living in a snow globe. Today’s hike began from my front door and off into the wilds. It was an urban hike, similar to the one I did in the 2014 Corvallis Snowpocalypse.

It was a very overcast day. It was surely snowing at higher elevation so I was safest recreating down here. I packed a small bag, layered up underneath my rainshell and set off into the cool, morning air.

From midtown Bend I headed downtown and then to the Old Mill. Several businesses had chosen not to clear their sidewalks. But people had to get from A to B, so there were deep postholes in the heavy, wet snow. I was wearing my winter boots, gaiters and Yaktrax to minimize the misery.

From there I picked up the Deschutes River Trail and headed south. There’s sections of trail on both sides of the river, so I decided to stick to the side I was on and just keep walking. The warming temperature had turned the snow to slippery death slush and I did everything I could to keep upright. At one point I encountered this sign:

I assumed this meant there were snow bombs falling from trees overhead, but the wording sounded so much more sinister.

I continued along the slick trail, being mindful of airborne objects and breathing in the delicious winter air. I’d left the noise of the traffic behind and heard only the gentle flow of the river at my side.

At one point along the trail I passed a tree decorated with Christmas ornaments. The bright and shiny orbs brought some much welcomed color to the drab, gray scenery.

As much as I loved being out in a more wild environment I knew I had to turn back at some point. When I reached the foot bridge I returned the way I came, preparing to re-enter the civilized world.

One benefit of being in a commercialized area was: coffee shops. I ducked into a shop for a hot beverage to take back with me for the last stretch of my hike. I was starting to feel run down by the cold and wet air. The coffee helped.

But now I was back to posthole hell, working my way back to my neighborhood. Walking in the street was no better because there were massive puddles everywhere and my boots were only kind of water-resistant. I was just going to have to get my feet wet.

Rounding the corner onto my street was a bit of a relief! I knew I had a warm shower and dry clothes inside. I thoroughly enjoyed my city adventure, but I wished the weather would hurry up and get much warmer or much colder instead of hang out around the dreaded 32 degrees.

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