Fire Season

Smoke in the Trees at Newberry Caldera

Where's the fire? Well, a lot of places right now. After a few years of tame fire seasons, and a few years of great winters, we were almost due for a forest fire outbreak. 

How do these fires occur? There are two ways a fire can start: naturally or by humans. The National Park Service states that 90% of wild forest fires are caused by humans. Yikes. Campfires that haven't been put out fully, burning debris, or cigarette butts are some unintentional causes. Sometimes, an intentional act of arson burns down the forest. 

The other 10% are caused by either lightening or lava. When a thunderstorm rolls in it's both a relief for the dry summer grounds, and a potential start of another forest fire. 

While the fires have stayed away from the direct Bend area this summer, we have not been free of smoke. Our beautiful Cascade Mountains are hidden and the smell of campfire has lingered for quite a while. 

So that you are best prepared for your trip to Oregon this summer, you can check the air quality in real time as well as the locations of current fires and road closures. Our tours will continue to run throughout the summer while conditions are still safe to operate. Please call our office if you have any questions about your specific tour. Pro tip: join our Cave or Brew Bus Tour for something a little less smoky! 

In the meantime, start your snow dances! We want to see our mountains again! 

Fires in Oregon

The Great American Solar Eclipse

There’s a short span of time burned into my memory, roughly 10:18 to 10:20 am. Many of us had turned away from the Sun and Moon to watch the gathering darkness in the west. It did not take long for the temporary night to fall. First, the light left the clouds behind Mt. Jefferson and then the mountain itself. Suddenly, we were in darkness, too, surrounded by a sunset that illuminated the slopes of Mt. Hood to the north. I turned back towards the Sun and was awestruck by the wonder of the corona. That moment, that turn, has been playing over and over in my mind ever since.  -Chaney Swiney, Wanderlust Tours Naturalist Guide

Total Solar Eclipse Photo by Chaney Swiney

The weekend (and those two particular minutes) that we anticipated for so many months has finally come and gone. If you were lucky enough to find yourself in the path of totality, you know that this moment really was the moment of a lifetime. We are still sharing stories, recalling the magnificence, and wondering how everything turned out just perfectly. 

Total Solar Eclipse Green Ridge Oregon

Months ago we sent a team out to find the perfect spot to camp. What the Wanderlust team found was beyond perfect: we all dreamed of the magic that would take place on this ridge. Some of us have hiked this ridge in the past, many of us have gazed upon it through the window of an airplane on it's way out of Redmond. Needless to say, we knew it would be the right place to attend this cosmic rendezvous between Sun and Moon.

With all the behind-the-scenes logistics taken care of and our permits in place, we left our office early on the morning of August 20th to beat the anticipated traffic. Leading a small group of enthusiastic eclipse-chasers to our camp ... 

Nature took heed as totality neared – resemblance to dusk, shadows looked different, breezes dissipated, wildlife took pause, and the temperatures dropped almost a full 13°. Naturalist Guide Danny recorded the temperature every 9 minutes as part of NASA's Citizen Science campaign. By collecting and submitting this data, we were able to observe the effects of the solar eclipse on our atmosphere. Events like this bring people an awareness and appreciation of the value of science, and we jumped at the opportunity to geek-out over sun-planet-moon systems.

"Taking in this celestial event from the best possible viewing location was one of the most unique experiences of my life. The best part? Seeing Mt. Jefferson cloaked in darkness while Hood, outside totality, was lit up like a candle." - Danny Walden, Wanderlust Tours Naturalist Guide

"Taking in this celestial event from the best possible viewing location was one of the most unique experiences of my life. The best part? Seeing Mt. Jefferson cloaked in darkness while Hood, outside totality, was lit up like a candle." - Danny Walden, Wanderlust Tours Naturalist Guide

Wanderlust Tours Solar Eclipse Group
Viewing the Solar Eclipse Oregon 2017

Transfixed by the ethereal vision in the sky, when the precious two minutes passed, your first thought may have been 'when and where is the next eclipse?' Well, the next North American total solar eclipse will be enjoyed by our neighbors to the east on April 28, 2024. If you can't wait until then, try traveling to Rio Cuarto, Argentina on July 2, 2019 for a full 2 minutes and 2 seconds of a totality awesome experience!

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