Maybe its gazing upon the Cascade Range rising impossibly up, the smell of the pine trees, or perhaps the calm of the meandering Deschutes River... I'm not sure but what I do know is we have something special here and my wife and I did not hesitate to pack up and set our roots in Bend, OR 11 years ago when the chance arose. Our family tree has grown since and now includes our 7 year old boy Atlas, 4 year old girl Arden and 2 year old Vayle.
In addition to Bend's wonderful Cascades backyard, let's not forget our local legacy as a craft beer mecca. Touted as "Beer Town USA" I have been inspired by the amount of world class beers that are being produced in our small town. I enjoy all our local beers from the light ales to a hoppy IPA... as well as a Oregon Pinot. With that being said I have always had a lingering feeling that something was missing. "Discovering" cider when my wife introduced it to me on a backpacking trip through Europe in 2003 opened my eyes to another whole segment of drinks, one that is commonplace in Europe, as it once was in America in the 1700's. When returning home I began more and more to appreciate fine cider. Not fully satisfied with the amount, variety, and type of ciders being sold in our region I set coarse to join the cider revolution when I went back to University to study the fermentation of fruits. I went to work gaining the knowledge necessary to produce a local craft cider; from learning about tree varieties to the biological process of fermentation. I found it all quite fascinating. The next year was devoted to traveling throughout Oregon and Washington meeting and partnering with farmers, testing their products as ciders, and finally selecting local providers who could meet our needs.
Previously I worked for the Redmond School District. I found a passion in teaching my students about other cultures, places, and histories of the world. In addition I ran an action sports program that focused on trips around Oregon to skate/snowboard spots and allowed me to share the value of perseverance and hard work. Action Sports has always played a big role in my life as I rode for various snowboard sponsors throughout my youth and was lucky enough to live in Squaw Valley at one time.... rent was cheap... never mind the house did not have heat! It was these years filled with college and snowboarding when I spent my first of many summers in Oregon working at the Timberline lodge. My job duties included setting up the parking lot pre-sunrise... What a view. Or another summer I found myself working housekeeping, it was all worth it as my days off were spent training on the glaciers of Mt. Hood while my friends and I camped under the stars.
I have always have felt close to the natural world and find the need to be immersed in it from time to time. I got hooked backpacking the High Sierras as a college student at the University of Nevada, Reno and each year I embark on treks deep into the wilderness areas of the West, for me it's a yearly pilgrimage. I wanted to share with others my experiences on these seldom hiked routes and started a resource page at trekkingthewest.com. But I have to say my favorite short hike is closest to me along the Deschutes River.
Not only do I find exploring the land and mountains of our area fulfilling, but also exploring the fruits that grow in our region and inventing ways to make them into enticing ciders. Our region seems perfectly designed in its soils and seasons to grow apples and fruit more than any other place on Earth. As Atlas seeks the golden apples in Greek mythology, I myself am continually exploring the craft of forging NW fruit into ciders. Hope you enjoy them -