Camp Sherman, Oregon


Metolius_cabinsWe spent a wonderful four days at the Cold Springs RV Resort in Camp Sherman, Oregon alongside the Metolius River. We heard about this place on a previous wine tour in the Willamette Valley and checked it out last season. The Metolius River starts from a spring below Black Butte that is fed from snowmelt from the Three Sisters Wilderness Area. The water is clear and cold (41 degrees Fahrenheit).

Doug’s post: Wendy is the official “birder” in the family but I guess I’m slowly earning my wings. A focus for me on this part of our trip was to find a White-headed Woodpecker that is known to frequent the mature Ponderosa Pine forests along the banks of the river. Amazingly I found my subject within a short distance of our camp! I guess going to a place to actually look for a specific bird makes you a birder?  Lots of other birds in the riparian zone; Western Wood Peewees, Cedar Waxwings, Spotted Sandpipers, Evening Grosbeaks, Western Tanagers, Pacific Wrens, Song Sparrows, Brown Creepers, Rufous Hummingbirds, Red-naped Sapsuckers, Yellow Warblers and a few that I couldn’t identify.

Many tourists come to the Metolius to camp, hike the river trails and enjoy the scenery, but some come to try the fly fishing for the wild trout that inhabit the cold clear river. The Green Drake hatch had finished and Golden Stones were just starting so the fishing was typical for the river: difficult. I spent a lot of time watching the water for fish rising and then attempting to entice them with one of my dry flies. I had two wily trout take my smaller Golden Stone fly in what I call catch and pre-release. For this river you need a 12-14′ leader with another 18-24″ of 6x tippet. About 20 years ago the Metolius River received a wild and scenic designation so there are no hatchery fish stocked anymore. All the fish are “wild” and having been fished and caught a gazillion times are extremely wary. I spent time with some local anglers and they gave me tips and hints that I’ll put to use next year when we come back for the quilt show.

While I was fishing a hole called the Big Eddy, I noticed something in the water bumping against my waders. Looking down I saw three ducklings merrily swimming and feeding around me as if I was a log or other normal object in the river. Quite cute to watch them!


Wendy’s post: I enjoyed the birding and mountain biking around Camp Sherman. One day, I walked from where Doug had parked to go fishing, back to camp. It was a cool day, so I set off with my binoculars and field guide, and a jacket. Luckily, I was wearing my good sun hat and had a couple of Werther’s in my pocket, because I didn’t make it back from my “short excursion” for over three hours. The scenery and the birding were great, especially at the beginning, but I was really glad to get back to the trailer for a cold beer. Next time, I’ll take along water (and snacks) like I usually do. In one section, Western Tanagers were swooping insects from above the water, and perching in the nearby bushes. They competed for my attention with my other favourite bird, the Cedar Waxwing. I now officially have two favourite birds. No bird photos, but here is a photo of one of the fast water sections of the Metolius.   Metolius_stream

We’re back in Canada now… the blog will resume in the fall.

Sisters hiking, fishing and beering…

Roughing it at our campground in Sisters, Oregon

Doug’s post: While Wendy was off quilting for the week I was forced to find activities to entertain myself with: a bit of hiking, a bit of fishing at 3 Creek Lake and the Metolius River and of course sampling the craft beer that Bend has to offer. Not a bad week so far!

Trail to Black Butte


Summit of Black Butte

The hike to Black Butte is similar to our local favourite, Lakit Mtn with gorgeous views of the volcanic summits of the Cascade range. the locals said it was a “steep” climb that might be difficult for me with my new knee but it was definitely National Park standard grade all the way, with beautiful Ponderosa Pine forest to walk through for the first half.

I’m slowly learning how to fish the Metolius River; 5X leader about 12-14′ with a 6X tippet about 18″ and careful placement of the dry flies. PMD’s and GoldenStones went well but the fish are cagey. Water is so clear you can see the bottom easily in 15-20′ pools. That means the fish can see you as well. The folks at the the local fly shop are quite helpful and great at giving advice. All catch and release and being by myself I really can’t take pictures while standing in the middle of the river. Maybe next week when Wendy and I are camped at Camp Sherman I’ll get some good pics.

3 Creek Lake where you can easily fish from shore.

Three Creek Lake has some good shore fishing, but next time I’ll bring my belly boat so I can get out to where the fishing is really productive.

Wychus Overlook with the 3 Sisters in the Background

There are a lot of well maintained hiking trails in the Sisters area within Ponderosa forests and rocky outcroppings. They are rehabilitating the Wychus Creek so that steelhead can make a return to the area. Over the years so much water was diverted from the creek that fish were unable to make it upstream to spawn. The local conservation group and USFS has  regained water rights and have allocated them to the steelhead project.

Enjoying a flight at 10 Barrel before our dinner.

What can I say about the Bend Craft Beer scene except “WOW”. We visited 5 brewpubs on this trip starting with Crux Fermentation Project, one of my favorites! It was a busy Sunday and there were close to 100 people gathered in the open area outside the pub.

Mid-week we drove into town to get some more fabric…I guess you can never have enough fabric if you’re a quilter… and headed over to 10 Barrel Brewing for dinner and beer. Quite the brewpub scene with people showing up after a mountain bike ride at Phil’s Trail system or stopping by after work for a cold one. I don’t think we were the oldest folks there but very close to it. Good food and some excellent beer. They had a very tasty “sour” that Wendy liked.

Wendy at North Rim Brewing (Formerly Rat Hole Brewing)

Saturday after the quilt show was over it was time for another trip to Bend to continue on the Bend Ale Trail. We looked for Rat Hole Brewing but found that they’ve now become North Rim Brewing and gone from a 2 barrel operation to a 10 barrel one. They still had a Rat Hole sticker that is now adorning our trailer:)

Next stop was Boneyard Brewing which has a taproom only. Not pints, just 1 oz samples (first one free) and crowlers, growlers and other sizes of refills. It would be hard to find without the GPS if you didn’t know the Bend area. Heavy on the IPA’s but that seems to be the Bend “speciality”.

These folks are very anti-establishment:)
Sampling the Boneyard offering




Last stop was at Silver Moon for a flight of their brews. Their  “97” IPA is the brewery’s flagship beer and  a great example of west coast IPA style. But they also had an Imperial Stout that really had the WOW factor. I don’t think you could drink much more than a small glass of this but what a taste! I could see having this in front of the campfire instead of a glass of scotch.

Time to pack up and head to Camp Sherman; maybe some internet there but not sure.




Quilting in Sisters, Oregon

Wendy’s post: I took  five days of quilt classes at Sisters High School, while Doug went hiking or fishing. (Doug’s adventures will be in another post.)

I took three classes, all taught by the pattern designers. Each instructor had different  styles, but all shared their passion and encouraged their students. “Sequoia” was a two-day class on Monday and Tuesday. Here is a photo of the lap size quilt by Pam Raby, the instructor.


Many people chose to make the quilt from the same fabric as Pam, while others made their own choices. I chose my own solids to construct smaller blocks that will make a table runner. (Thanks to Maxine for some of the colour and fabric advice.)

Wednesday was another tree related quilt. Instructor Scott Hansen grew a beard for his Santa Claus impersonation to teach his “Christmas 1964” pattern.


It was a bit crowded in the high-school science lab, so I chose to sew “side-saddle” for some of the day. There was a lot of “cut, sew, press, cut” steps, so I liked the extra height for the cutting time.

I made a large block with rusts, golds and teal blue, aiming for a “southwest” feel.


The Thursday and Friday class was the biggest challenge. I love sunflowers but overlooked how big the quilt, “Summer’s Smile” was, and how many different fabrics would be required.

Luckily, the two-day class allowed me time to go shopping for more fabric for the second day. (Thanks to Peggy for giving me one of the three fabrics that I brought from Cranbrook that made it into the quilt, and for Doug for waiting outside quilt shops in Bend.) I’m happy with my progress so far. I will need to do some searching for appropriate large-scale background fabric because I’m not keen on the lime-green stripes. Below is my version with the fabrics pinned to a foam board. It will be interesting (and challenging) to sew together all the curved seams. I met Ann at the quilt show on Saturday and Doug took our photo in front of  a section of one of Ann’s other quilts.

Saturday “Quilt Show Day” was cloudy (but not rainy, like Friday). Here are some photos to give you a sense of the size and variety of the show. Doug walked around town with me and took photos with his good camera and lens. There are way too many photos of beautiful quilts to post.






It was an amazing week for me. I met interesting quilters from all over the US and the world, including Scotland. I can’t wait to get home to finish my projects.

On the road again

We decided to take a few days getting down to Sisters, Oregon for the Outdoor Quilt Show and five days of quilting classes for Wendy. Our first night was spent in a newish RV park in Connell, Washington, about a five-hour drive from home. Connell’s main industry is the correctional facility just up the hill.

We set off relatively early for our drive to the Deschutes River State Park on the Columbia River, with plenty of time for the four-hour drive. We chose to travel along the north side of the river, on a two-lane highway. Nice views and sparse traffic. We stopped at a boat launch and park in Roosevelt and saw a couple of Bullock’s Orioles on our stroll with the dog. Coming our of the park, we got a phone call from the State Park informing us of a grass wildfire that was burning just west of the campground. By the time we got to the Maryhill bridge, we could see the smoke settling right in the area of the park.


The smoke was pretty thick when we reached the state park and let them know we wouldn’t be staying. We headed south up to the plateau and were lucky enough to have good cell reception and a phone app that allowed us to search for RV parks on the way. We found a place in the rural community of Metolius, Oregon, just a few miles south of Madras. The RV park was decent enough so we booked it for two nights. The wildfire meant that we missed floating in the Deschutes River, but we gained the chance to explore a new area. Here’s the view from across the road from our RV park.

View across the road from Mountain View RV Park, Metolius, OR

The afternoon we arrived at Metolius, we took a drive to the nearby Billy Chinook Reservoir. A dam backs up three rivers into a dramatic cliff-edged desert canyonland.

Billy Chinook Reservoir overlook


The next day, we explored Smith Rock State Park. Way back when Doug was still rock climbing, Smith Rock was one of those places he’d hoped to visit. I think we still own a vintage rock-climbing guide for the area. We were pleasantly surprised to see that the park offered hiking trails as well. We walked down into the Crooked River valley and up the Misery Ridge trail. It was hot and steep, but Doug’s new knee handled the steep steps easily.


Smith Rock State Park (Misery Trail on right side of photo)


The trail winded over to a view of Monkey Face and down the other side. There was a group doing some rope work across and down.

Along the trail, we saw Sage-brush Mariposa Lilies and viewed this family of ravens on the cliff above.

A peregrine falcon family was nesting on the cliff facing the visitor centre (no picture but Wendy had a good long look in the binos). She also saw bank swallows feeding young, vesper sparrows and rock wrens.