Whenever I visit Bend, I always make time for a run. In early June, I’d traveled to Bend on business. I visited some colleagues and met with some clients. At the end of the day, I put on my running shoes.
I wasn’t exactly sure where I wanted to go, but spotted the radio towers atop Awbrey Butte, the highest point in the city, to the Northwest of town.
As has become customary, I parked down on Riverbend Park. It’s special to me for a few reasons. First, it’s right along the beautiful Deschutes River and opposite the Old Mill District. Second, the park serves as the finish line for the Cascade Lakes Relay. Third, they have clean restrooms and are a perfect place for changing.
I followed the Deschutes River north, winding along its banks, crossing the river at the Whitewater Park, which features both manmade rapids and protected habitat. I then headed north along the east bank, finally crossing again at Galveston Avenue, before heading up Awbrey Butte along 9th Street. It was about mile 2, and the humid, partly-cloudy afternoon already had me sweating hard.
I remembered the local elevation, as I started up Awbrey Butte. I was breathing hard the whole way up the butte. As I crested the top, I realized I still had a ways to go, and a few blocks later found my way to the radio towers.
Feeling victorious of the summit and the incredible views, I decided to chance a run around the West and North sides of the butte. This proved to be more miles than I’d expected or prepared for. I was running short on time, as I’d hoped to meet colleagues at a nearby restaurant.
The views north of Awbrey Butte, the plains of the high desert, were stunning. Black Butte and the Three Sisters stood proudly along the horizon.
At mile 8, I realized I was retracing portions of the Bend Marathon. A foot path took me down along the West bank of the Deschutes River. I followed it until Portland Avenue, before heading south on Wall Street.
As I returned to Riverbend Park, I realized I’d run a solid 12 miles. I was able to take in an incredible sunset as I departed for my evening stay with friends. Everywhere I turned this day, I was greeted by incredible space. It’s one of the reasons Bend is so special to me.
The course and elevation profile from the day: