Hydro Flask Ambassador and Adventure Photographer Nate Wyeth has been a Bendite (yep, that’s what we call ourselves) for 11 years. Nate sat down with Hydro Flask and gave us some insight into his favorite things about Bend.
Hydro Flask (HF): You’ve been in Bend for over a decade now. What is it that keeps you here?
Nate Wyeth (NW): There’s so much that makes Bend special. The obvious draw is the unparalleled access to so much outdoor recreation and our wild places. But, it’s the people who really make Bend what it is. Random strangers who smile and strike up a conversation on a trail, the humble and happy attitudes of everyone around, there’s no place like it anywhere else.
HF: There’s no shortage of things to do in Bend. What are some of your favorites?
NW: Oooh, that’s a tough one, like asking a parent to choose their favorite child. We get real seasons in Bend, which means there’s always a new activity to get excited about. Right now, I’m all about backcountry skiing. It’s a great workout and an amazing way to explore the beauty around Bend. Come spring and summer, I’ll dust off the gravel and mountain bikes and ride as much as I can. There’s no way to go wrong in this town.
HF: What sets Bend apart from other towns?
NW: It’s this magical combination of the people and the places, in my opinion. Bend is approachable, like that sessional IPA. Its people are inviting in a way that makes you not feel out of place wherever you go, which is unlike any other mountain town I’ve been to. The rivers, the lakes, the mountains, and other endless recreational opportunities, when paired with Bend’s recherché beer and craft culture, makes it all click.
HF: You have a full-time job, you’re an ambassador for multiple companies, and you have your own adventure photography business on the side. How do you ever find time for adventure!?
NW: For me, getting outside and adventuring is my meditation. It’s what keeps me sane and helps to put life into perspective. I work hard to align my clients with my passion for being outside adventuring, and I’ve been lucky enough to find that balance and make it all work.
HF: If someone has 48 hours to visit, where should they go?
NW: I’ll preface this by saying not to try and squeeze too much into a couple of days in Bend. To do Bend best, you’ll likely be returning a few times. All of that said, during either winter or summer, point your car toward the West and head up the Cascade Lakes Highway. Before you leave town, though, brunch it up at Jackson’s Corner or Chow to give yourself a good base of energy for the day ahead. If the snow is still falling, spend a day at Mt. Bachelor, a ski resort that’s also a volcano, meaning you can ride a chairlift all the way to the top (over 9,000 feet) and ski down in any direction you’d like. Pack your snowshoes and climb up Tumalo Mountain to catch a magical sunrise, or cross-country ski into Tumalo Falls. If it’s summer, continue on past Mt. Bachelor and hit up one of several lakes along the Cascade Lakes Highway. You can easily spend 48 hours exploring them. Bend’s dining and drinking scene is unmatched for a mountain town. A trip to Bend isn’t complete without visiting a couple of craft breweries, and my personal favorites are Crux Fermentation Project, Boneyard, and, of course, Deschutes Brewery.
HF: What’s a must-have if you live in Bend?
NW: Besides a Subaru and a Golden Retriever? Definitely a Hydro Flask. Not only is it a local’s badge of honor, but we get some seriously crazy temperature swings in our high-desert town. Whether it’s 95 degrees or 5 degrees out, there’s definitely something to be said about your beverage of choice, well, not being lukewarm. And, seriously, have yourself an adventure dog or two. They’re the best companions possible for all of Bend’s escapades and I hit the jackpot with my two pups.
HF: Last question – tell us a fun, locals-only fact about Bend?
NW: I love me some good Bend trivia. In 1834, a guy by the name of Nathaniel Wyeth (hey, that’s my name) came out west from Boston seeking riches, settling for a short time in the Columbia River Gorge before grouping up with some Native Americans to follow the Deschutes River south. They ended up spending time in Bend (way before it was Bend), and Nathaniel Wyeth was the first person to go down the rapids of the Deschutes River in a hollowed out log. When I decided to move here almost 12 years ago, I had no idea that I had an ancestral connection to this place, but now it makes sense why I feel such a strong sense of belonging.