The past few years of drought had really put a damper on our holiday plans. Two years ago we went up to Oregon in search of snow and failed. While we got in some nice hiking at Smith Rock and around Mt Shasta, the snow gear wasn’t needed. With the welcome appearance of fresh snow this year we decided to try again.

After a relaxing Christmas morning at home, we loaded up the truck and headed north towards Mt Shasta. Arriving in town with a little bit of daylight left, we drove out to National Forest lands so Thor could play in the snow. He was a happy pup!

Thor was happy to play in the snow!
Thor was happy to play in the snow!

We stayed in town and the next morning finished the drive to Bend. It was a cold, snowy, and absolutely beautiful drive! I was so happy to see fresh snow for the first time in years!

Ice coated trees at the Oregon border
Ice coated trees at the Oregon border
Fresh snow on the trees as we head north up 97
Fresh snow on the trees as we head north up 97

Our first stop was Sunriver where we walked some snowy trails and stopped at Sunriver Brewing for lunch – our first of 11 stops on the Bend Ale Trail. By the end of the day we were settled into our VRBO in the middle of Downtown Bend. Cozy, warm, clean, and within walking distance of a lot of those breweries!

We stayed for a week and had a ton of fun! Both of us had to work and spent the mornings in our cottage, then spent the rest of the day playing outside and visiting breweries with friends.

To the east of town we found dry trails at the Badlands and Thor got to hike with jack russell puppy Trooper.

David, Thor, and Trooper at the Badlands

To the west of town, Mt Bachelor was enjoying lots of fresh snow so we went up the hill to the dog-friendly Wanoga sno-park a couple of times. David tried skijoring with Thor – it was pretty fun to watch, especially since labs don’t like to run in straight lines.

Skijoring with Thor
Skijoring with Thor

The snow conditions were perfect!

Groomed ski trails at Wanoga Snopark
Groomed ski trails at Wanoga Snopark

We found more hiking about 30 minutes north of town at Smith Rock.

Smith Rock, Oregon
Smith Rock, Oregon

And after all the adventure, there was beer. We went to 11 breweries in total (to win the free pint glass) but our favorite was Crux. We made many stops there – it was walking distance from the cottage.

Crux Brewing, my favorite
Crux Brewing, my favorite

On New Years Day morning we got up and hiked up Pilot Butte for sunrise. It was the perfect way to welcome in 2016.

Sunrise from Pilot Butte. Happy New Year, Bend!
New Years Day Sunrise from Pilot Butte. Happy New Year, Bend!

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