25 June 2019
The town of Bend is only 30 miles north of La Pine, where we stayed for the night. We’re not here to take the direct route, so instead we took two and half hours on Cascade Lakes National Scenic Byway. The highway ends in Bend but we took another diversion to hike the Rim Trail of Lava Butte at Newberry National Volcanic Monument. When I planned the trip I expected the scenic byway to be the day’s highlight and tacked on Lava Butte as a fun side trip. The scenic byway was nice but the Rim Trail became today’s highlight.
Newberry National Volcanic Monument has several places to visit. We chose Lava Butte, a 500 foot tall volcanic cone. You can hike or take the park shuttle bus to the top. We opted to take the shuttle up and walk down. The Rim Trail is an easy walk but it provides great views of the lava field and surrounding landscape. The Lava River Cave also looked interesting but I was warned by my wife years ago – no more caves! – so we took the short drive to Bend.
Bend is an idyllic small town tucked between the mountains on the Deschutes River. There is not a lot to do in town but it serves as a great base camp for exploring the area. Bend is also known as the location of the last Blockbuster store in the world. It has become a bit of a tourist destination for the nostalgic. Inside they have a display of Russell Crowe’s movie memorabilia bought at auction and donated by John Oliver’s from HBO’s Last Week Tonight show. The movie props were originally donated to a store in Alaska but when it went out of business, they sent most of the items to the last store standing. All-in-all, we had a great day.
Last of Its Kind