Intermountain West

Have you ever heard of a cold desert? Do you know what kind of landscape lies east of Bend? Read on to learn about Dave's recent exploration.

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Fall in the region known as the “Intermountain West” is completely enriching. This area is defined by geographic boundaries surrounding the Great Basin Desert. It is a vast landscape characterized by volcanic mountain ranges separated by deep basins which hold desert overtures. This desert is, however, a cold desert which means if it precipitates it falls in the form of snow rather than rain. It is the United State’s only cold desert. So, the mountain ranges collect wonderful snow in the winter which come spring naturally melts and tumbles down canyons in the mountainside dug over millennia. These canyons deposit the water into the basins, which by definition and practicality, does not dispense into the ocean. It evaporates or seeps into the porous earth below. Those canyons, in the riparian zone- that is where the creek or river flows, are, in the fall, lined with breathtaking beauty in the form of willow, red osier dogwood, aspen, larch and other wonderful deciduous plants and trees. The Intermountain West becomes a palette of stunning colors. This beauty lies just east of Bend. We are fortunate for such wonder in Oregon!

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Early Season Snowshoeing!

Snowshoe in Bend with Dave Nissen

If you've been watching the weather lately, you may know that Mt. Bachelor has received about 3 feet of snow in the last 24 days. RIGHT?! We are all doing our snow dances and getting very excited about the upcoming winter. It's still pretty early in the season, but we're ready to start offering snowshoeing to anyone interested. Fall is a unique time of year where you can snowshoe in the morning on freshly fallen snow and kayak on the Deschutes in the afternoon. (The leaves this time of year are out of this world. After that you can cruise downtown for dinner... but we don't need to plan your whole vacation. You get the idea.

What's so great about snowshoeing you ask? Think of snowshoeing as your all-access pass to the outdoors. These long, wide shoes allow you to travel where you couldn't get on your own. You can get off the beaten path and head to high peaks or deep forests. Or join us this winter and we'll take you straight to a bonfire complete with hot chocolate + hazelnut espresso vodka. Yep, that's real. 

Until then, call our office to book your early season snowshoe tour! 

Snowshoe Tours at Wanderlust

She Said YES!

Our guide Danny shares a story about two special guests on a Moonlight Canoe Tour

"Dusk turns to darkness as we drive up the Cascade Lakes Highway towards Elk Lake. Already some stars are twinkling above as the last rays of sun paint the sky red. Canoeing under the full moon is a magical experience, and tonight will be no different: one participant, Nate, has let me know that he is planning to propose to his girlfriend. Of course, Kara-Mikel has no idea, but I can hardly contain my excitement!

We set out on the water under the night sky, the glow of the moon eclipsing the stars as it rises over the flanks of Mt Bachelor. The air is cold, but I warm up quickly as my canoe glides through the glassy water. Fresh snow glistens on the mountains. We paddle for a bit then pull over on a beach, our moon shadows stretched out on the sand. I start a small campfire. Nate and Kara-Mikel explore the shoreline on their own, and when they return, Nate says casually, "Well that just happened!" Kara-Mikel proudly holds out her new ring, and we raise our glasses of sparkling cider and hot chocolate in a toast to love, laughter, and crackling campfires in the moonlight.


Proposal on Sparks Lake
Moonlight over Sparks Lake
Nighttime Canoe Tour Sparks Lake

There could be no more perfect end to canoe season. Next up: Snowshoeing