The Best of Bend

As many Bend locals know, The Source Weekly has been rounding up everyone's favorite spots around town for their 2017 "Best Of Central Oregon" issue, which was released this week. We are SO grateful to our awesome community for awarding us with Best Tour Company. Beginning with our humble origin, Dave and Aleta Nissen desired to inspire our clients with the intricacies of Mother Nature. Now our incredible staff maintains the vivacity for sharing nature's beauty along with our cultural history in ways we hope have left an impression on you. Our community is important to us; we strive to model stewardship in every realm of our undertakings. Thank you Central Oregon!

The Source Weekly's Best of Central Oregon

The Source Weekly's Best of Central Oregon

In the spirit of the best, this week we've put together a Day of Bests in Bend. Travel with us through the day in the life of a Bendite as we pay tribute to other local businesses featured in this week's issue of The Source... 

In order to make the most of everyday, you wake up with the sun around 6:15 and scroll through the best blog, Living The Bend Life, while listening to 92.9 KRXF, Bend's best radio station. Now you grab your bike and ride over to barre3 for a class at the best exercise studio, making sure to stop at Backporch Coffee Roasters for Bend's best cup of coffee to get you started. After a high-intensity workout, you're feeling great - and hungry! Best breakfast in Bend is at McKay Cottage, so you meet some friends to grub on their lemon ricotta pancakes with fresh summer berries. 

Now that you've eaten all the calories you burned off this morning, it's time for your volunteer shift with Bend's best nonprofit, Bend Spay and Neuter Project. Because this is Bend, of course you have your own dog! So you make sure to grab a new bag of treats at BSNP's sponsor, Bend Pet Express, which also happens to be Bend's best pet store. 

A few hours and a lot of belly rubs later, you've worked up an appetite again. It's a gorgeous, quintessential Bend day so of course you want to hit the best patio dining at Cabin 22. You order the RPM pork wings because 1) they're delicious, and 2) they're made with Bend's best locally brewed beer AND best IPA, Boneyard's RPM. As you digest your yummy lunch you start to think about your evening plans.

You've got a birthday dinner to attend for a friend, so you head to downtown to shop for a gift. But you can't make it out of the Westside without stopping at Bend's best growler fill, The Growler Guys, to fill up your Hydroflask (aka Bend's best locally-made product) with some fresh Humm Kombucha, another best in Bend. Sensing a pattern here? 

With a full tummy and a stocked growler, you ride over to Ju-bee-lee to shop for a birthday gift. Where else would you shop for a gift, besides Bend's best gift shop? After you find the perfect present, you stop by Bend's best bank, OnPoint Credit Union, to pull some cash for Bend's best produce at the Brooks Alley Farmers Market. 

After a day full of exercise, good eats, volunteering and shopping, you deserve a drink. 900 Wall has the best happy hour, so you go for a lemondrop to pass the next hour before meeting for dinner at the best fine dining restaurant, Zydeco. No birthday dinner is complete without birthday dessert, which you find around the corner at Bend's best Bontà Gelato. Then the real festivities begin at the best bar, Dogwood Cocktail Cabin, down the street. You enjoy a few celebratory drinks, but you're not in college anymore so you wake up the next morning with a bit of a headache. You know you HAVE to start your day with the best hangover grub in town, at the D&D Bar and Grill, and go on to live another day to the fullest in the best town, Bend. 

And now it is our turn to have a celebratory drink, and to once again say thank you to our Bend Friends. We love our community and are thrilled to continue sharing the natural wonders and cultural history of Central Oregon.

Wanderlust Tours Staff

Animal of the Month: California Tortoiseshell Butterfly

You may have noticed the ground around Bend has been covered in a sea of orange and black over the past few weeks. Maybe you've had to wash your windshield more frequently, or maybe you've been dodging these flying beauties while out on a trail. Well, the reason for this explosion of orange and black also happens to be our animal (or rather, insect) of the month: the California Tortoiseshell Butterfly. 

Photo courtesy of Frank Townsley,

Photo courtesy of Frank Townsley,

The Nymphalis californica, or California Tortoiseshell, was first identified by entomologist Jean Baptiste Boisduval in 1852. The top side of the wings are orange-brown with large black spots and dark wing borders. The underside of the wings are dark mottled brown with darker wing bases. This coloring serves as camouflage for the butterflies - when the wings are closed the butterfly looks like a dead leaf. Their wingspan measures between 3.2 and 7 cm. 

The "Tortie" overwinters as an adult and on mild midwinter days, can be found enjoying the sunshine outside of their overwinter location. Adults emerge in late May to early June and emigrate soon after, going north or east to higher elevation. This species is known for having population explosions. They are currently making their way through Oregon and the PNW, which explains why we're seeing such an abundance as of late! 

The cause of these population explosions is not as random as one might think. Entomologist and UC Davis Professor Arthur M. Shapiro, Ph. D., explains the reason for the California Tortoiseshell's massive population boom: 

"Occasionally the upslope movement encounters the retreating snowline, forcing females to lay only on Ceanothus that have melted out. This can result in enormous larval densities, total defoliation of the hosts and mass starvation -- while close at hand, plants that were still under snow when the eggs were laid sit absolutely untouched!" 

The range of the Tortie remains mostly on the west coast of the United States. From British Columbia south along the Pacific Coast to Baja California Norte, east to Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. Rare migrants to Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, and Vermont after periodic population explosions in Mexico.

California Tortoiseshell Habitat

Various species of wild lilac (Ceanothus) provide habitat for the butterflies to lay eggs, and food for caterpillars. Adults visit flowers of many kinds, aphid and scale honeydew, damaged fruit, sap. A particular favorite of the California Tortoiseshell is a mud puddle. The insects enjoy the damp surface, and it is possible to see hundreds or even thousands packed side-by-side enjoying the mud.

If you thought this year's population explosion was bad, just wait for next year! Following wildfires, buried Ceanothus seeds germinate and surviving Ceanothus resprout profusely, growing more rapidly than young conifer seedlings. This means we will likely be seeing a lot more of these guys next summer!

2017 Deschutes River Clean-Up

This Saturday, Wanderlust Tours joined some of Bend's most committed environmental stewards at the 2017 Deschutes River Cleanup along Riverbend Park! The Upper Deschutes Watershed Council (UDWC) teamed up with the City of Bend, REI of Bend, Bend Parks and Recreation District, Tumalo Creek Kayak and Canoe, Bend Paddle Trail Alliance, and Central Oregon Divers for a day of learning and taking action to clean up the Deschutes River as it runs through the Old Mill District. We walked, paddled, floated, and swam our way to a cleaner river! 

A patio chair and two wasted pipes were recovered from the bottom of the river.

A patio chair and two wasted pipes were recovered from the bottom of the river.

Using the three tenets of the UDWC, we connected with our Central Oregon community to educate locals in forging a life-long commitment to protecting and restoring the 2-million acre Upper Deschutes Watershed. The day began with a lecture in stewardship from the UDWC and its affiliates. Groups of volunteers split up based upon their preferred method of travel: paddle boarders, kayakers, rafters, and scuba divers headed to the river launch while dry-land volunteers spread across the edges of the river toting trash bags and rubbish grabbers. While the debris collectors hunted down and plucked harmful waste from the river, another portion of volunteers focused on the removal of invasive weed species. All efforts are necessary to ensure a happy and healthy Deschutes River! 

Below are a few unfortunate facts (and positive solutions!) we learned during the cleanup event that we think everyone should know!

•   Fact: Cigarette butt litter is the #1 most prevalent form of litter on Earth, accounting for 1/3 to 1/2 of all litter, and  adding up to 176,000,000lbs each year in the US alone. Careless disposal of cigarette butts and smoking material is the #1 cause of fires in Bend, and accounts for an average of $170,000 of our tax dollars every year to remedy. 
•   Solution: Dispose of smoking material into a non-combustible (metal or clay) container filled with sand and water to help extinguish the material. Make these receptacles easily accessible and abundant in numbers to remind smokers to dispose of their butts correctly.

•   Fact: Improperly secured or poorly functioning gear is one of the leading causes of litter and contamination in and along the Deschutes River. Pieces of foam, goggles, plastic, buoys, paddles, etc. all sink to the bottom or get caught along the edges of the river, contributing to the external litter sources.
•   Solution: Before you head out for a day of adventure and recreation, make sure to check all of your gear for safety, performance, and durability. Mend any impairments and secure any loose objects to your vessel. If an accident occurs and a piece of your gear goes missing, hunt it down and dispose of it properly!

•   Fact: Three common invasive species are detrimental to the health of the flora and fauna along the river. Spotted Knapweed (Centaurea maculosa) is an aggressive species that outcompetes native plants, causing soil erosion, surface runoff, and stream sedimentation. Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsis) houses many insects and toxic compounds that are harmful to other plans and fish. Dalmation Toadflax (Linaria dalmatica) is difficult to manage due to its deep and extensive root system and heavy seed production. Its colonies can push out native species, altering the composition of natural communities. 
•   Solution: Remove it! Using a pair of gloves and a shovel, gently tug repeatedly on the base of the plants until the root system has released its hold from the ground. Be sure to pick up any loose seeds and buds to keep the plants from manifesting in future seasons.

Invasive Species in the Deschutes River

We all have to do our part to #enjoyprotectrespect the Deschutes River. Bendites must hold each other accountable and lead by example when it comes to preserving our beloved corner of the Pacific Northwest. When we host visitors, we should go the extra step to make sure those we invite to town understand the Bend way. And when the rude people do show up, exercise patience and do little things to help. Start carrying an extra baggy on your hikes and walks to practice leave no trace. Educate our friends, neighbors and especially our kiddos on habitat restoration and environmental preservation. And finally, let's ignite that sense of community that is so strong in Bend to continue hosting awesome stewardship events like the UDWC Deschutes River Cleanup!