On day two of our Oregon excursion, we woke up before the sun and drove straight to Terrebonne from Madras to explore Smith Rock State Park.
Smith Rock State Park was an amazing experience for a few reasons. First off, it's unlike any scenery you would imagine when thinking of Oregon or the Pacific Northwest in general. Instead of being covered in greenery and overcast clouds, the park looks more like it belongs in Utah than the PNW. This place is famous for rock climbing, and when we arrived as the sun came up, we were surprised at we saw. We expected to be one of the first and only people at the park (as we usually are to most parks on these trips), but this case was quite the opposite. We arrived to about 100 converted vans and other cars that were packed full of climbers of all skill level, ready to spend the day hanging on the rocks. Groups were heating up breakfast after jumping out of their homes-on-wheels and we felt so inspired to be able to witness this sort of morning ritual by this unique group.
We wanted to watch the climbers, but we came there to hike- little did we know this park was perfect for doing both of those at the same time. We started out with the 5 miles Misery Ridge Loop hike, and the majority of the time we were hiking, we could look anywhere and spot climbers on rocks, near and far. We would spot some so far away they looked like ants, and others were climbing right above our heads! I honestly couldn’t get over how unique this park experience was.
Misery Ridge offered some of the coolest scenery. I was amazed that this was in Oregon. Misery Ridge offers so many look outs and overviews, and the hike wasn’t very difficult at all. 10/10 would recommend! At the end of Misery Ridge, we took the easy and short River Trail. This 2.5 miles trail was the perfect wind-down after Misery Ridge and our time at Smith Rock. The flat loop trail is stunning in mid-October, covered in fall colors, climbers wherever you look, and otters playing in the river! We must’ve sat and watched one family of otters play and sunbath on a rock for half an hour! We had sunny skies and high-60 temps and we couldn’t have asked for more.
After Smith Rock, we jumped in the car and drove to Bend for the night. We grabbed lunch and much-needed brews at Immersion Brewing (and added it to the list of our favorite breweries in the U.S.). Afterwards we stopped at Gear Fix, the coolest consignment camping store, right next to Immersion Brewing. Talk about the perfect day for Blake and I! We got some gloves for myself and talked to an awesome employee named Luke who gave us tons of advice for hikes in the area. Luke also gave us our camping spot for the night since we had no idea where we were sleeping. If you ever need a place to camp in Bend, Oregon, try out Fire Road 4610 - it was perfect for us and our busy schedule. We set up camp in late afternoon, and then decided to head to Tumalo Falls as the sun set. We met some new friends, Andrew and Carley, who showed us how to get to the bottom of the falls (just look for the safest side path off the main trail & be careful!). The bottom of the falls was so powerful. It was roaring loud, and being sprayed with the mist of the falls was refreshing, even in the October chill.
After Tumalo, we spent a couple of hours at an awesome hidden gem coffee shop/ local brewery called Spoken Moto. At Spoken Moto, we ran into Luke from Gear Fix and we chatted all about our trip. After a couple Oregon Chai's and cold brews, we said goodbye to Luke and headed back to our fire road campsite to get some sleep so we could wake up before the sun the next day. Little did I know that the next day was not only going to be my favorite day of the trip, but my favorite day EVER. :)
Just Go With It