News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Articles written by Craig Eisenbeis

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  • Sisters Bridge Club to offer free lessons

    Craig Eisenbeis|Updated Jan 9, 2024

    Every few years the Sisters Bridge Club gears up to offer free bridge lessons to anyone who is interested in learning or reacquainting themselves with the game. So, the club wants to get the word out that free lessons will start up later this month! Organizers are interested in recruiting - and mentoring - new players, especially since some past players have migrated out of the area; and snowbird lifestyles also create plenty of room for newcomers. Jane Bubak is one of the... Full story

  • Be safe while exploring our winter wonderland

    Craig Eisenbeis|Updated Nov 22, 2022

    Although the winter snow pack has only just begun to settle onto the mountains of Sisters Country, winter sports enthusiasts are already starting to venture out into the developing winter wonderlands. Accordingly, it is never too early to start thinking about winter safety. While winter safety precautions are particularly important for backcountry travelers, others need to take safety measures, as well. Just because most outdoor enthusiasts may not consider themselves to be wilderness adventurers, “light duty” bac... Full story

  • Christmas tree hunting is a Sisters Country tradition

    Craig Eisenbeis|Updated Nov 30, 2021

    For most of us, last year’s Christmas season was a significantly subdued one due to the shadow cast by COVID-19. To our continuing dismay, the virus is still with us; but, thanks to vaccines and the resultant declining infections, there is some cautious optimism that the worst may be behind us. As a result, many of us are starting to look at ways to resume some sense of normalcy in our lives; and, for our family, the annual Christmas tree hunt was a step in that direction! A... Full story

  • Sisters bridge players are back in action

    Craig Eisenbeis|Updated Oct 12, 2021

    After a year-and-a-half pause brought on by the pandemic, the Sisters Bridge Club is up and running again. Organizers want to get the word out and are interested in recruiting — and mentoring — new players. The local organization has been playing bridge in Sisters for more than 40 years. Some of the people who have played in the past have migrated out of the area, and snowbird lifestyles are also creating plenty of room for newcomers. To help players who are out... Full story

  • Sisters Tie Trail is STA’s backyard secret

    Craig Eisenbeis|Updated Dec 15, 2020

    The Sisters Tie Trail is a frequently overlooked all-season outdoor opportunity that actually begins right in town. This trail is not at all wild, especially at the eastern, in-town end. However, it couldn’t be more convenient or accessible. This inviting path is part of the local trails network established and maintained by The Sisters Trail Alliance (STA) for the enjoyment of the public. The trailhead is located off North Pine Street where the pavement ends. From the STA k... Full story

  • Christmas tree hunting in a COVID world

    Craig Eisenbeis|Updated Dec 1, 2020

    Like most everything in 2020, Christmas is looking to be a bit different this year. For many who heeded COVID warnings, Thanksgiving already fell victim to the rampaging virus, with infections skyrocketing in Deschutes County, most of Oregon, and the nation as a whole. Although promises of a vaccine are tantalizingly close, all indications are that the heightened danger from the virus will continue for at least several more months. So, this is definitely not the year for the... Full story

  • Thanksgiving traditions and turkey

    Craig Eisenbeis|Updated Nov 24, 2020

    Nothing evokes the image of Thanksgiving more dramatically than a turkey. So, when a flock of 18 wild turkeys wandered through my yard the other day, I saw it as an appropriate harbinger of the approaching holiday. Traditionally, we’re taught that Thanksgiving dates back to the Pilgrims at Plymouth in 1621. While that’s not exactly wrong, it’s not really the whole story, either. First off, the term “Pilgrim” didn’t even come into common usage until the nineteenth century, an... Full story

  • STA carves out new trail

    Craig Eisenbeis|Updated Nov 17, 2020

    Last week the Sisters Trails Alliance (STA) announced that they had just completed a new trail and invited me to check it out. This trail is so new that I could still see, in the fallen pine needles, the blue paint marks that were used to mark the trail’s construction route. It was a great feeling to learn that the STA is continuing to expand on their already impressive inventory of local trails. Gary Guttormsen served as STA’s host and guide, and we met at the new tem... Full story

  • Irrigation project brings changes to trail

    Craig Eisenbeis|Updated Nov 17, 2020

    Most local hikers know that the popular Whychus Creek Trail has a temporary trailhead and parking lot because of the ongoing construction project associated with the Plainview Dam removal and irrigation rerouting. Introduced in 2012, the trail has become a staple for local outdoor enthusiasts in search of a quick, nearby trail getaway. What many local trail users may not realize, however, is that the trail itself will have some lasting — and significant — changes... Full story

  • Proxy Falls is an excellent fall hike

    Craig Eisenbeis|Updated Nov 3, 2020

    As we wait to see if the predicted La Niña actually comes to pass, I feel like the mountains are crying “Last Call” for hiking. So, we decided to take one last (maybe) trip over McKenzie Pass this year while we still had a favorable weather window. We selected Proxy Falls but then thought maybe we’d make more of a trip out of it and do the whole Santiam-McKenzie loop, so we added a couple of other stops along the way. So, even though it’s only about a 27-mile trip to... Full story

  • Robinson Lake is a little-known jewel on the edge of wilderness

    Craig Eisenbeis|Updated Oct 27, 2020

    A few years ago, a reader contacted me and suggested that I feature Robinson Lake in one of my columns. It is a special place, he said, and he wanted others to be able to share the unique beauty and sense of wonder he experiences there. His suggestion was a welcome contrast to the occasional complaint I get when one of my articles suggests a destination that someone would prefer to remain a secret. In fairness, though, I will say that such complaints are usually relatively... Full story

  • Exploring Scott Lake

    Craig Eisenbeis|Updated Oct 20, 2020

    Highway 242 over McKenzie Pass has reopened. So, now is the time to take advantage of the wonders of the McKenzie Highway before it closes again for the winter. Our visit to Scott Lake actually took place last month; but wildfire traffic and wind damage caused the highway to be closed for several weeks, postponing publication of this article. I’ve been to Scott Lake numerous times; but, other than a quick glance or a roadside post-hike swim, we had never really explored the pl... Full story

  • A fall visit to Clear Lake is a must

    Craig Eisenbeis|Updated Oct 6, 2020

    As soon as the calendar flips over to October, I start thinking about a visit to Clear Lake. Just over Santiam Pass, and only about a half hour away, there’s no better place to see fall colors in our area. This is always my favorite local fall hike. As far as that goes, it’s probably everyone’s favorite fall hike around here — and the long range weather forecast suggests that there will be many remaining opportunities in October. My hiking buddy and I do this hike almos... Full story

  • Little Three Creek Lake is a nice family hike

    Craig Eisenbeis|Updated Sep 16, 2020

    Last week, we had planned to hike on the west side of McKenzie Pass, but since all the roads were closed due to the fires, we had to come up with a different plan. My hiking buddy, who was already sheltering at our place due to Camp Sherman’s uncertain fire evacuation status, suggested we keep it simple with a short hike to Little Three Creek Lake. Off we went. This is a great little hike for a spur-of-the-moment outing. Also, this trail might be a good choice for your v... Full story

  • Cooler high country recreation at Big Lake

    Craig Eisenbeis|Updated Aug 18, 2020

    Big Lake and I have a relationship that goes back more than 60 years. So, on one of our recent 90+ degree days, when my hiking buddy suggested water sports at Big Lake, rather than a hot, dusty trail, it wasn’t a hard sell. Actually, we had considered the possibility on a weekend a couple of weeks earlier but were repelled by the great hordes of people crowding the lake. Having roundly rejected the idea on that occasion, we thought a midweek visit might be a more reasonable c... Full story

  • Santiam Lodge restoration continues

    Craig Eisenbeis|Updated Aug 18, 2020

    Eighty years ago, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) completed construction of a new recreational ski lodge at the summit of Santiam Pass. The unique architecture is characteristic of six ski lodges built by the CCC in the Pacific Northwest. For nearly a half century thereafter, the Santiam Pass Ski Lodge offered outdoor recreation opportunities, first as a public skiing area, hiking center, highway stopover and rest area and, later, as a church camp. It all ended in 1986,... Full story

  • Whychus Overlook Trail a cure for pandemic cabin fever

    Craig Eisenbeis|Updated Aug 11, 2020

    The Whychus Creek Scenic Overlook Trail is an ideal destination for pandemic shut-ins yearning for a pleasant escape into an outdoor experience. The overlook and adjacent trail were completed four years ago as part of The Tale of Two Rivers Treasured Landscapes Conservation Campaign involving Whychus Creek and the Metolius River. The overlook was conceived as part of a series of projects and improvements to enhance the region’s watershed restoration, recreation, and c... Full story

  • Dwarf mistletoe a problem in forests

    Craig Eisenbeis|Updated Aug 11, 2020

    Dwarf mistletoe continues to pose a threat to Sisters Country forests. Dwarf mistletoe falls into the broad definition of a pathogen and is a parasite that infects coniferous trees such as the firs and pines in our local forests. Although mistletoe does have some chlorophyll capable of producing nutrients, that capability is a mere fraction of what typical plants produce. As a result, mistletoe gets the vast majority of its water and sustenance from a host tree; and it’s v... Full story

  • Visiting Cuba is an eye-opener

    Craig Eisenbeis|Updated Jul 22, 2020

    International relations are always something of a puzzle, but none seems so peculiar as the relationship between the United States and Cuba. These two close neighbor nations, with quite a bit in common, have been awkwardly estranged for more than 60 years. When the Trump Administration announced that the Obama-era easing of Cuba restrictions was about to end, my wife, Kathi, and I decided that if we wanted to see Cuba, we had better do something about it. So, before the... Full story

  • Cavorting with penguins in the Falkland Islands

    Craig Eisenbeis|Updated Jul 7, 2020

    A Facebook item spotted by my wife, Kathi, noted the posting person’s most useless purchase of the year: “my 2020 planner.” The collapse of the travel industry in the wake of the novel coronavirus has definitely limited our adventures and unique wildlife experiences. One that we managed to squeeze in last year, however, was visiting penguin colonies in the Falkland Islands. Our first-ever wild penguin sighting happened to be a single, swimming specimen in New Zealand. Just... Full story

  • Oregon’s history steeped in racism

    Craig Eisenbeis|Updated Jun 30, 2020

    Many Oregonians have the impression that racism is not an issue in Oregon, and there are reasons for that. Oregon ranks 42nd among the states in its percentage of Black population, with only 2 to 3 percent. Many Oregonians, especially in rural areas, seldom even see a Black person; and it turns out that there is a reason for that, too. In fact, it was by design. In order to avoid the racial turmoil afflicting the rest of the country, Oregon’s founders sought to avoid all that fuss by simply creating what some envisioned as a... Full story

  • Valuing Black lives in Sisters

    Craig Eisenbeis|Updated Jun 30, 2020

    The Black Lives Matter movement has become visible in Sisters. By now, most Sisters-area residents have observed the sometimes lonely vigil kept by Elizabeth Fisher and others at the corner of Cascade Avenue and Locust Street at the east entry into Sisters. Fisher is one of seven volunteers who currently try to maintain a daily presence by the tennis courts to draw attention to the concept that Black lives matter. “We try to have someone out here every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p... Full story

  • A visit to historic Glaze Meadow

    Craig Eisenbeis|Updated Jun 9, 2020

    In keeping with our current emphasis on shorter, close-to-home hikes, my hiking buddy suggested that we visit the trails along the eastern edge of Glaze Meadow. I checked my files to see when I last wrote about this trail and was surprised to discover that I never have. So, here’s an easy walk in the woods that you may not be familiar with. Historic Glaze Meadow and the adjacent, more recently dubbed Glaze Forest, have been the subjects of various Forest Service land swaps a... Full story

  • Hanoi, a half century later

    Craig Eisenbeis|Updated Jun 9, 2020

    On our coronavirus-truncated Asian cruise tour, the final stop in Vietnam was at Halong Bay, gateway to Hanoi and home to the giant, picturesque, monolithic rocks frequently seen in travel photos and more recently made famous in the filming of the movie “Kong: Skull Island.” I never imagined myself visiting Hanoi, much less on a tourist bus; but there I was, bound for Hanoi on a six-lane freeway. As we passed through the busy port of Haiphong, I clearly remembered the U.S... Full story

  • Travels in 21st century Vietnam

    Craig Eisenbeis|Updated May 26, 2020

    Vietnam. For many, it’s more than just a place; it’s an era. Vietnam affected the lives of an entire generation. Although I never actually set foot in the country until earlier this year, Vietnam forever changed my life. It changed — and even ended — the lives of others I knew. My family has a history of military service: my father in World War II; his father in the National Guard during World War I; and two of my great-grandfathers fought in the Civil War. So,... Full story

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