I really like Bend but I love Sunriver even more! It’s my happy place and for 9 months out of the year I pretty much have it to myself. I can zip around the trails undisturbed, get into the brewhouse without waiting, and buy milk in under 90 seconds. Then there are the months of June, July, and August. I can barely make it past the roundabout without hitting a lost tourist. I’m not complaining, the tourism of this area supported my only paycheck for the better part of a decade (heck, it still does). I’ve just learned to go ‘off trail’ this time of year.
A nice unassuming butte is the perfect cure for an overcrowded resort. Who bushwhacks up unnamed lumps on the terrain for fun anyway? Until I hit my mid-20’s and developed a crippling fear of crowds I didn’t even notice buttes. A crummy day and a need for solitude lead me up Ann’s Butte. I had started out mad and grew angrier as I discovered the road to the top was closed to motor vehicles. I parked my jeep and took off, up the side of the butte, straight through the manzanita. I wrestled and clawed at the branches, stumbling upward. I huffed and heaved, my chest tight and my face wet. With gritted teeth I pushed through the last of the bramble and onto a cinder paved road. Giant boulders framed a golden meadow below and suddenly I was all better.
I’ve been climbing buttes ever since, it’s the cheapest therapy around!
Bates Butte is the closest Butte to my own house, it was named for Bates Ranch. Several walking trails exist around the base. I followed a deer trail up and the deer followed me back down. Views of Paulina Peak, Mt. Bachelor, and The Cascade Meadow (near Lapine) await anyone willing to travel to the top.