The A-to-Zs of Central Oregon: X is for XERISCAPING

It’s true: Central Oregon is the high desert! We have less water at our disposal: a large portion of our water derives from melt-off in the Cascades rather than rainfall, and for this reason, Bend imposes strict limitations on irrigation within city limits. Because of this, gardeners and designers in Bend have had to get creative with their landscape planning.

  An example of xeriscaping in California

An example of xeriscaping in California

WATER CONSUMPTION

You might not consider a garden a great consumer of water. On the contrary, gardens that require a sprinkler system can consume HUGE amounts of water! According to the Washington Suburban Sanity Commission, “running a typical sprinkler from a standard garden hose (5/8”) for one hour uses about 1,020 gallons of water; if you run it three times per week, that is about 12,240 gallons per month.” That’s a whole lot of water!

  Photo courtesy of    Nature’s Plan, LLC

Photo courtesy of Nature’s Plan, LLC

THE 7 PRINCIPLES OF XERISCAPING

According to WaterUseItWisely.com, the most important principles of xeriscaping are the following:

  • Planning and Design

  • Soil Improvement

  • Practical Turf Area

  • Efficient Irrigation

  • Mulch

  • Low Water-Use Plants

  • Appropriate Maintenance

Check out their website for more tips on how to xeriscape in your own yard!

  The careful use of stone is quite common

The careful use of stone is quite common

  A garden like this can require over 12,000 gallons of water a month!

A garden like this can require over 12,000 gallons of water a month!

In the desert, we simply can’t afford to use that much water for our garden. For this reason, xeriscaping is super popular for the homes and public spaces in Bend.

This philosophy conserves water, and ultimately protects the environment by encouraging native plants to grow and thrive. Native plants in Central Oregon are naturally drought-tolerant, and require very little to survive.

  Succulents and hardy drought-resistant plants are popular in xeriscaping

Succulents and hardy drought-resistant plants are popular in xeriscaping

  You can even have flowering plants!

You can even have flowering plants!

RESOURCES

It’s always a great idea to learn about the native plants in your area. These are always the best choice for planting a garden, because they are meant to thrive in your yard’s particular climate. It’s also important to encourage the thriving of native plant species (being mindful of invasive species, of course!) in order to support a healthy local ecosystem.

Check with your local plant nursery to see what native plants require the least amount of water. In Bend, Clearwater Native Plant Nursery and Wintercreek Restoration and Nursery are great resources for purchasing and consulting about native plant varieties.

PlantSelect has some ready-made landscape designs to get you started on your design ideas. Check Pinterest and YouTube to see what other people have done. With xeriscaping, you can have a beautiful garden in the desert, while protecting the local ecosystem!

  Enjoy lush greens, without the water consumption!

Enjoy lush greens, without the water consumption!

The A-to-Zs of Central Oregon: W is for WARM SPRINGS

  Three women on the Warm Springs Reservation in 1910.

Three women on the Warm Springs Reservation in 1910.

  Photograph of a Warm Springs Brave, from the    Smithsonian Museum

Photograph of a Warm Springs Brave, from the Smithsonian Museum

THE NEWCOMERS & THE NATIVES

In December 1843, John Fremont was leading an expedition of discovery through a wintry Oregon landscape. After traversing a particularly snowy ridge (which he aptly dubbed “Winter Ridge”), Fremont and his party found themselves stuck in high snow, unable to move quickly or keep warm. It was a dangerous and unfamiliar landscape for these explorers, but they pressed on, in order to learn the geography of their relatively new surroundings.

It’s widely agreed upon that, though brave, Fremont and his party likely wouldn’t have made it very far on their subsequent journeys had they not had a chance encounter with a few hunters from the Northern Paiute tribe. You can imagine the scene: the Europeans attempting to conquer their unfamiliar surroundings, and the native people happening upon a (likely comical) scene of immense effort. Luckily, the Northern Paiute hunters shared a simple, elegant solution for traveling by foot in the winter: snowshoes!

This is just one anecdote revealing how early American pioneers relied on the native people to survive in the West, learning from them and adopting their skills and habits.

  An old photo of the reservation, dated 1910.

An old photo of the reservation, dated 1910.

WARM SPRINGS

Today, we’re talking about an important link to the long history of Central Oregon: the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. The Confederation consists of the Northern Paiute, the Wasco, and Warm Springs tribes.

The current Confederation was officially formed in 1938. Today, the enrolled membership of all three tribes totals over 5,000. Over 3,000 enrolled tribal members reside on the Warm Springs reservation, which contains the tribal headquarters.

  Location of the Warm Springs Reservation in relation to the lands the tribes used to occupy before white settles uprooted their people. Image courtesy of the    Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission.

Location of the Warm Springs Reservation in relation to the lands the tribes used to occupy before white settles uprooted their people. Image courtesy of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission.

1855

1855 was a landmark year for the relationship between the United States government and Native Americans in the Northwest. That year, the US government presented treaties to several tribal leaders in the Northwest, most with terms that significantly reduced the rights and lands of the native people.

Among these are the Treaty of Washington (which affected the Chippewa, Wyandot, Chicksaw, Winnebago, and Choctaw tribes), and the Treaty of Point Elliot (signed by Chief Seattle and members from the Duwamish, Suquamish, Snoqualmie, Snohomish, Lummi, Skagit, and Swinomish tribes).

Warm Springs and Wasco tribes treated with United States in the Treaty with the Tribes of Middle Oregon, officially ceding 10 million acres of native-occupied lands to the United States.

Warm-Springs-Reservation

WARM SPRINGS TODAY

The Warm Springs Reservation encompasses 1,019 square miles (640,000 acres), and is bordered by Mt. Jefferson, the Deschutes River from west to east, the Mutton Mountains, and the Metolius River from north to south. The reservation lies primarily in parts of Wasco and Jefferson County, but small parts fall into six other counties.

One of the main tourist attractions in Warm Springs is the Indian Head Casino.

We recommend stopping by the Museum at Warm Springs for a deeper experience of the history, art, and culture of the Warm Springs people.

The High Desert Museum will also have an excellent exhibit through January 20, 2019 called By Her Hand: Native American Women, Their Art, and the Photographs of Edward S. Curtis. Curtis was a prolific photographer of the native people in the Pacific Northwest, and a great many Warm Springs tribal members are included in his portraits.

Today, Warm Springs regularly hosts events celebrating the culture and heritage of the Warm Springs people. These are very special events, with music, dancing, and rituals passed down from generation to generation. You can check out the Warm Spring website, and like their Facebook page to be kept in the loop!

Wanderlust Tours Highlights: Black Rock Desert & Steens Mountain Overnight Trip!

  Steens Mountain valley

Steens Mountain valley

Last week, we lead a fantastic, educational journey through the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, and to Oregon’s remote Steens Mountain. The trip included visits to historic small towns, remote desert trails, landmarks for the Oregon Trail, and to the stomping grounds of the cowboy Buckaroos.

  The group hiking along a portion of Steens Mountain

The group hiking along a portion of Steens Mountain

  A scene from the High Desert Museum’s Spirit of the West exhibit

A scene from the High Desert Museum’s Spirit of the West exhibit

For 22 years Dave Nissen— owner of Wanderlust Tours— has desired to partner with the High Desert Museum in offering tours to the scenic locations found in the museum’s Spirit of the West hall of exploration. This dream came to a beautiful manifestation this September with a 4-day, 3-night natural and cultural history exploration to the Black Rock Desert of Nevada and the Steens Mt. area of Oregon. 

These two locations are represented in the exhibit’s Applegate Trail covered wagon scene as well as the Buckaroo scene. Dave was absolutely pumped to enable our tour guests to actually walk on the Applegate Trail (a part of the Oregon Trail) and walk across portions of the Black Rock playa as well as climb up the Black Rock itself!

The trip coursed its way up to the top of the Steens fault escarpment and hike at 9,000 feet to set our eyes on a stunning body of water.  We meandered through 100-year old homesteads, stayed at a working cattle ranch, and stood before the 166-year old George N. Jaquith inscription in High Rock Canyon. 

  The group in the Black Rock Desert

The group in the Black Rock Desert

The inaugural trip to highlight the museum’s famed exhibit proved that we desire only to offer more of these experiential trips. Dave believes the impact such a trip makes on our lives is found in the enrichment of our understanding of Native Americans who lived on this land and what it took for tenacious people to fulfill their pursuit of the American Dream. Combined with the sheer beauty of the Great Basin Desert, one can expect the museum and Wanderlust to team up in the future for more such experiences!

WANNA DO SOMETHING LIKE THIS?

  An early domicile in the Black Rock Desert

An early domicile in the Black Rock Desert

WE AIM TO INSPIRE

Every tour we embark upon is designed with specific goals in mind. We always aim to provide an enlightening, educational experience for our guests.

For this reason, we partnered with the High Desert Museum to explore remote locations important to the early American westward pioneering movement. With overnight trips like this one, there is plenty of opportunity for our Naturalist Guides to share their interpretation of the rolling landscapes, as well as their extensive knowledge of the area's cultural history. 

WANT TO HEAR ABOUT THE NEXT STEENS OVERNIGHT TRIP? SIGN UP FOR NOTIFICATIONS HERE!

We love creating unique custom trips for our guests! 

You may know us for our daily tours around the beautiful wilderness in Central Oregon. Did you know we lead specialty trips as well? Our overnight tours are always a creative endeavor, seeking out new adventures in the unique and beautiful locations across the Pacific Northwest and Western United States. 

Our Custom Group Coordinator, Courtney, and Wanderlust Tours' founder and owner Dave Nissen will work tirelessly to arrange a magnificent journey for groups of 10 or more (or an equivalent price). 

You can check out the itinerary for the Black Rock/Steens trip here. We can recreate the same thing, or pick and choose elements from this trip to create something unique for you!

  Inscription from an early pioneer

Inscription from an early pioneer