Archive for the ‘Outdoor Inspiration’ Category

New Album from Anna Fritz of the Portland Cello Project

Friday, January 4th, 2013

Anna Fritz CD Release Show – Thursday, January 17 – The Secret Society

Portland, OR – Long-time core member of the Portland Cello Project, Anna Fritz, will be releasing her new solo album “The Gospel of Tree Bark,” on Thursday January 17 at 8 p.m. at The Secret Society in Portland. Closing out the evening will be the sing-a-long carnival antics of The Saloon Ensemble.

Fritz wrote most of her new album, “The Gospel of Tree Bark,” in a little cabin in Southern Oregon, nestled within the coastal mountain range of Coos County. Two small creeks ran through the camp, and it was the first time in years that Fritz felt like she was in a place that was truly quiet, with only the sounds of the water, birds and wind to lull her to sleep.

“I had a strong connection with a place that felt sacred; the land all around me was an inspiration, and central to the creative process,” Fritz explained.

And so emerged one of the primary themes of her album: exploring the natural world as a place of comfort and spirituality, longing for this connection within an urban landscape. The video for the title track, produced and filmed by David Waingarten, depicts her waking in the morning in the city to find a string that she follows deep into the woods, where she is free to be her most natural self, finding music in everything around her. The video is a stunning work of art in itself, and helped Fritz to raise over $15,000 through Kickstarter to fund the recording of the record.

Her voice on “Tree Bark” hints at the vulnerable tremolo of Mira, with a contrasting soaring soprano like Sinead O’Connor’s. Musically, cello takes center stage. Fritz has been a core member of the Portland Cello Project since its inception, which has given her a sense of “freedom through limitation.” While most singer/songwriterly records are fleshed out by a rainbow of tonal palettes, “Tree Bark” is arranged for cello trios and quartets. The result is a style that blends Fritz’s orchestral sensibilities, with songs born from the folk rock tradition, layered with tasteful drums and percussion by Ji Tanzer. Jason Wells (March Fourth Marching Band, Trashcan Joe) recorded and produced the album, and his expertise and affection for Fritz’s music resulted in a record with equal parts professional polish and earthy luster.

Fritz’s first solo effort, “Wake,” released in 2005, was a much more overtly political album, oftentimes bordering on angry. Since then, Fritz has grown up a lot, both as a musician and as a person. On “Tree Bark,” anger, frustration and alienation are sublimated into songs that are experimental and playful, sweet and sad. One of the most poignant moments on the album is during Fritz’s rewrite of “The Water is Wide,” where she sings of the struggles of a transsexual lover, a boy trapped in the body of a girl. As the French Horn soars over the background, each verse unfolds the struggle: “And so began my true love’s journey to claim his body for his own, to find a way to bend and shape it, to find a way to call it home.” The familiar chorus takes this story—starring an otherwise invisible member of our society—and makes his story universal, inviting the listener to remember that hard times can be overcome with the help of another.

Other musicians featured on the album include David Waingarten (electric guitar), Alison Ippolito on piano, Samantha Kushnick on cello, and Leander Star on French horn. Album art by Aremy Stewart features a woman smiling peacefully, laying on the ground, her body blending into the earth and roots of a tree. The artwork, just like the chorus of the title track, ties the spiritual and natural themes of the album together. On the chorus of “Gospel,” Fritz sings, “Life is a prayer in the gospel of tree bark. There’s a voice that whispers in the branches at night. It says life has gone on and will go on forever and you’re just a droplet, a small beam of light.”

For more information about Anna Fritz and “The Gospel of Tree Bark,” visit

Suttle Lake Wedding Music – Sisters Oregon

Saturday, August 11th, 2012

Suttle Lake has to be one of the most beautiful resorts in Oregon, and a spectacular place to get married. Perched on the east end of the lake, views of the Cascades open to the southwest. A large lawn provides the perfect setting to march down the aisle, and the catering is provided by Suttle Lake’s own award-winning chef Michael Valoppi.

My wedding duo “The Ashlings” played there this August for the wedding of Megan Labhart and Peter Deam who were in Oregon from Florida having a destination wedding. I can’t say enough about how beautiful the grounds were that day, but I’m sure these photos speak for themselves.

Sisters Wedding Music - The Ashlings

A wedding duo from Central Oregon featuring guitar, vocals and cello

The couple had us learn “Marry Me” by Train, and I think we pulled off a rather touching version of the song with female vocals, guitar and cello. They also requested, “Amazing Grace” and the upbeat instrumental “Toss the Feathers” by the Corrs. Their family seemed to have strong Irish heritage.

If you are considering a destination wedding in Oregon, Suttle Lake has all the magic of a turn of the century lodge, but with all the modern amenities. Some of your guests might have to stay off grounds though as accommodation space is a little limited.

Our music duo, The Ashlings, will compliment your ceremony perfectly. We’ll learn your special songs that will help make your day unique, and play an upbeat set for the ceremony. Check out our Central Oregon Wedding Music website and hit us up here: or 541.604.0246.

Making a Music Video with Tim Cash

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

This video was shot on the Deschutes River at Dillon Falls in Bend, Oregon in December of 2011.

Laurel Brauns “Kaleidoscope Eyes” Music Video from FAR from EARTH Films on Vimeo.

As a child of the 80s, I’ve always wanted to make a music video. Of course my vision then was of big metallic hair, cheesy effects, and lots of hopping around throwing my leg in the air as a dance move.

How ever many years later, my dream came true, but its my 30-something self’s version of the dream where I am playing guitar and singing by my favorite river. The whitewater and mist erupting behind me is the most exciting action, and the only thing that might be considered an “effect” is the videographers skillful use of a 18 ft. Kessler Crane that he lugged through the woods for a ½ mile.

Oregon Filmaker Tim Cash has been specializing in creating music videos for close to a decade, and along the way he has produced works of art for many local Central Oregon musicians, exponentially increasing our professionalism overnight. The videos he made for Erin Cole-Baker and Leif James are some of my favorite.

So here is our little masterpiece. I think it is really different than anything else Tim has done, and I am so truly appreciative of his ability to create something that I feel is so authentic to me. To put things another way, this guy can basically do anything. He has the skill and most of the equipment to do what all the big budget guys are doing out there, but instead of adding all that stuff in, I feel the strength of this particular work is in the subtraction and simplicity. I think it takes a real sensitivity to an artist’s vision to help them find their own authenticity, and to be humble enough to do something understated. So thank you Tim for all of that, and for all of you musicians out there, if you are looking to make a music video, check out all of his other project on his website, and get in touch!

And if you’d like to see a little behind the scenes, check out Tim’s explanation of the Crane that he and his assistant Robert Slaney carried through the woods.


Oregon Filmmaker: Kessler Crane from Oregon Filmmaker on Vimeo.

Cow to Kettle: Farmstead raw-milk cheese makers embrace older cheese methods to produce a superior product.

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

Dairy farmer and Cada Dia cheese maker, Pat Sullivan runs his fingers through a combination of grass and clover on the ground few yards from where his 20 Jersey cows are grazing on his 80-acre dairy farm in Prineville.

“The clover is protein and the grass is starch for the animals,” Pat says with an endearing Virginia accent. “We are a ground-up operation here. The sun and the earth produce food, the cows make rich, creamy milk full of healthy vitamins like Beta Carotene and Omega 3 and 6, and then we turn that into raw-milk, farmstead cheese.”

At most large dairy farms, cows are fed dry hay and grains on large feedlots and milked up to three times a day. Pat’s Jersey cows are instead milked only once a day and are given five months off in the winter to restore their bodies.

“These guys have got it made,” Pat said with a laugh, scratching one of the cows behind their ear.

This farm operates on a micro-scale: on a typical day their cows produce 45 gallons of milk that are made into one or two wheels of cheese. Most dairy farms process 4,000 gallons of milk daily and most cheese makers have no involvement with the animals or the farm where they buy their milk.

Pat, his wife Cher, and their two teenage daughters, Afton and Hannah moved to Central Oregon from New Mexico a year and a half ago to live out a dream that has been ten years in the making. Together they built their straw bale home, milking parlor and cheese-making facilities from the ground up six months before their herd of cows and heifers arrived at their door in May, ready to be milked.

Pat worked as an engineer on the oil fields of New Mexico and Texas before taking an early retirement and buying an 18-acre farm in New Mexico in a town of only 100 people. For years, he raised cows, studied the cheese-making process and lived a back-to-the-land lifestyle without television and other distractions.

When the real estate market peaked in 2007, Pat put his property on the market as an experiment, and when it sold he had the capital to invest in a more serious farm in Central Oregon.

“Most people that have the kind of money it takes to get an operation like this up and running would not be interested in milking cows for a living,” Pat explained. Although his aspirations for marketing and selling his products are mostly on a local level, he described how the business will be quite lucrative once he develops a solid reputation as an artisan cheese maker.

The process Pat uses to make cheese is a New Zealand method called “cow to kettle.” Immediately after the cows are milked and each batch is filtered, it is poured into a 150-gallon vat filled with cultures to begin that turn the milk into curds and whey. The temperature of the milk goes from about 99 degrees in the cow to 105 degrees in the stainless steel vat. Most dairy farms pasteurize milk as soon as it leaves the cow, reducing the temperature to 37 degrees, killing off all the bacteria and then waiting 24 hours for other bacteria to multiply back in the milk.


“Milk never gets better; it just starts degrading once it leaves the cow,” Pat explained. “The best cheese in the world is made from raw milk, at least that is what the connoisseurs say – that it is richer, creamier and has more body. They can talk about cheese like fine wine.”


After stuffing the curds into a cheese mould, which squeezes out the last of the whey, a solid wheel is formed after 24 hours and then painted with wax imported from Holland to hold in the moisture before it is brought down to the cheese cellar and left to age. Nearing the end of their first year of production, the Sullivan’s have amassed 9,000 lbs. of cheese in their cellar and have begun to sell at local farmer’s markets.

“The dairy business in America is about quantity,” Cher said, “but we are focusing on quality by caring for our animals, and going back to cheese making methods that are 100s of years old.”

Cada Dia Cheese


9609 NW Sharp Road

Prineville OR  97754


Green Wineries in Oregon

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

Wineries in Oregon are Growing Greener

“Has the country caught up to Oregon, or was Oregon always so far ahead of the curve in terms of sustainable wine making?” asked Chris Martin of Troon Vineyard,

a Southern Oregon boutique winery that lives by the motto “good times and fine wines.”

Troon Vineyard also practices organic and sustainable farming methods and is certified “Salmon-Safe” by LIVE (Low Input Viticulture & Enology, Inc.), an international certification agency based in Salem. The “Salmon-Safe” label means that the vineyard has undergone a rigorous assessment to assure that erosion is reduced, and that there are very few pesticides and other chemicals flowing into the same waterways that Salmon use to spawn.

Troon is just one of many vineyards in Oregon that has taken great strides to “green” its production processes, in fact, Oregon has become a global leader in sustainable wine-making, partially due to the favorable conditions of the marine climate.

“In the Willamette Valley, vintners don’t really need to use pesticides and fertilizers to an extreme like you would in a warmer region,” said Chris Serra, Program Manager for LIVE.

Unlike organic certification, which forbids the use of chemicals, LIVE allows synthetics at certain levels, and also tackles other farming issues like worker health and safety. Currently 25% of Oregon’s wine growing acreage is certified by LIVE.

One of the historic leaders of the green winery movement is Sokol Blosser in Dundee, Oregon, just south of Portland. From its humble beginnings as one of the first vineyards in the Willamette Valley in 1971, Sokol Blosser now has over 13,000 acres. They have become famous for such award-winning wines as Evolution and Meditrina.

Besides being the first winery in the country to receive the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the United States Green Building Council, they are certified organic by Oregon Tilth, and run their tractors on 50% biodiesel. They also use solar energy to power the winery. Their innovative approach to environmentalism and wine making makes Sokol Blosser a must-see on your next Willamette Valley wine tour: check out of the living roof, which covers their underground barrel cellar.

While wine growers in Oregon have been practicing sustainability for decades, the numerous levels of “green” certifications, whether it is “Salmon-Safe,” LIVE or Certified Organic, have become major selling points for the earth-conscious wine drinkers.

Beyond that, many Oregonians support local wineries for their natural beauty, which is arguably one of the most joyful aspects of green living.

“Arable land is a lot more precious here then in other parts of the world,” said Martin. “There is always the looming threat of subdivision and development, but supporting local wineries embraces the need to preserve these agricultural expanses for vineyards.”

How to raise Chickens in Bend, OR – Chicken Coop Tour This Weekend!

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

The Give and Take of Raising Chickens in Your Backyard:
A quick-start guide to creating and maintaining your own flock in Bend


“Before starting my flock, I’d never a met a chicken with feathers,” said Liz Lotochinski , organizer of this year’s 2nd Annual Chicken Coup Tour. “My only exposure to the animal was seeing them wrapped in plastic at the grocery store,” she said with a laugh.

Now Liz is not only a highly successful chicken farmer, but a passionate advocate and educator for those interested in raising backyard chickens. If you are interested in raising chickens this spring, Lotochinski noted that the Chicken Coop Tour is an efficient and enjoyable way to learn more about starting your own flock. The tour will help novices gain the confidence to raise chickens, and attendees will glean many different perspectives and approaches to this enjoyable and economical hobby.

from the Bend Bulletin

Due to changes in city ordinances over the past few years, more and more people in Central Oregon have taken to raising chickens, both for the food they provide every day, and the pure enjoyment of caring for these charismatic animals. But what does it really take to start you own coop? How much does it cost, and what are the challenges and rewards associated with maintaining a micro-farm in one’s backyard?

A good place to start your research is the popular website Thousands of people log in every week to participate in the website’s forum where virtually any and all questions about raising hens can be answered.

Free range!

Most backyard farmers agreed that caring for chickens is no more time consuming than taking care of the family dog. Daily chores include giving the animals clean water and food, maintaining their roost, and deep cleaning their coop once a month.

Beginners should evaluate if they have the time available for daily maintenance and then factor in the space constraints of their property. Hens need about two sq. ft. each inside their coop (the inside enclosure where they sleep at night), and eight sq. ft. each for their outside run where they will spend all but the coldest days. While coop space cannot be compromised due to cleanliness issues, many urban chicken farmers have much smaller runs, which are still acceptable.

Chicken Coop Tour - May 7, 2011

Building the chicken coop itself is the backyard farmer’s next major consideration. Constructing your chicken’s home can cost virtually nothing if you have access to scrap wood and other building materials. Two separate lamp systems then need to be purchased: The first is a 250-watt lamp with a red bulb that is required to create a brooder (nursery for chicks.) The second is at least one 60-watt bulb to create the illusion of longer days in the winter, which is necessary for egg production.

Once your coop and brooder are in place – now comes the fun part – buying and raising your chicks! There are many differing opinions in the chicken community about breeds and resources, and the selection runs the gamut. Buying chicks can be as easy as purchasing everyday varieties available at local feed stores, to attending “Poultry Swaps” with more exclusive breeds, like the one that takes place in Salem every spring.

“Finding the right breed of chickens is sort of like finding the right kind of dog,” said Laurel Zepp who has 30 chickens on her farm out in Alfalfa, and will be featured on this year’s Chicken Coop Tour. “They all have different characteristics and personalities.”

Lotochinski recommends finding a breed that is cold-weather hearty so they will not get frost bitten. Lotochinski has Ameraucana chickens, also known as the “Easter Egg Chicken” for their unique gene, which produces greenish-blue eggs.

Once your hens mature to adults, you can start to reap the benefits of collecting eggs almost every day, depending on how many animals you care for. On average, hens will lay one egg a day, but without extra lamps, their production will slow down in the winter, because winter is a bad time to raise chicks.

The amount of chickens you have on property is dictated by city codes. For instance,

The City of Bend Development Code allows for no more than four chickens on lots greater than 6,000 sq. ft., which is about an eighth of an acre. In all instances, chickens are required to be fenced in so they do not leave the owner’s property.

Even if you don’t live within city limits, fencing is a major concern when constructing your chicken habitat. You must keep the chickens in, but perhaps more importantly, you have to protect these vulnerable creatures from a multitude of predators in Central Oregon, including coyotes and raccoons.

Besides the practical reasons for raising chickens, like having fresh eggs every day, and “closing the loop” by feeding them your food scraps, many chicken owners expressed that they receive a lot of joy and satisfaction through caring for their animals.

“My chickens give me affection without distraction,” Lotochinski said. “One reason I do this is for the adoration of my flock; they love me.”

Chicken Coop Tour Details

Date: May 7, 2011

Time: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.


Includes: 35 coops and hundreds of chickens throughout Central Oregon

Fundraiser for: Together for Children

Healing Reins Therapeutic Riding Center

NeighborImpact Food Bank

Tour Booklets Available for $10 or 6 items of non-perishable food at:

High Desert Ranch and Home

Earth’s Art Tumalo Garden Market

Newport Avenue Market

Eastside Gardens

Cowgirl Cash

Riverwoods Country Store/Pizza Subway

Tickets to the event: One tour booklet per carload of people

Details: Coops are located around Bend including 12 in town, 11 on the east side, nine in Tumalo and three in Deschutes River Woods. The tour booklet provides details about location, coop description and chicken breed variety for each coop. Highlights of the tour include The Cathedral Coop, a Bend coop constructed of all recycled materials, and the Chicken RV Coop, fashioned out of an old fifth wheel camper.

Mimicking Birds… Bend, OR loves you

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

Here's the album. Yep, it's on iTunes.

When I first listened to Mimicking Birds it was as if I was hearing a band I had always known and loved: Maybe it was the familiar lilt of lead singer Nate Lacy’s voice that sounded vaguely like Isaac Brock’s, maybe it was the universal themes of his lyrics that grounded the literate in me, or maybe it was just the fact that everytime I’ve listened to Mimicking Birds 2010 self-titled debut, I felt like I was bathing in the pure acoustic gladness of lying in dewy grass on a summer morning.

Here is my vision for this maybe-morning: Mimicking Birds is floating out my backyard window in Bend as I lay on the grass and fallen leaves. My eyes are wide open, ready for a beautiful blue-sky future, but my heart, and these songs, are heavy from the ghosts of life’s sad departures. Like the earth that is growing and dying beneath me, these songs have a way of paralyzing me into staying put, of really being present with this music and my surroundings, if only for exactly 40 minutes.

Mimicking Bird’s debut is much like entering into a relationship with a river you’ve never been down, but always wanted to explore.  Nate Lacy’s voice and lyrics have now been permanently burned into my mind. With this album, he offers both the shock and redemption of the chill of new waters, coupled with the warmth and comfort of those burning logs on the fire after a particularly difficult pursuit. Producer Isaac Brock’s otherworldly touch takes these post indie-folk melodies (can we say that now?) into a starry realm, with meaty electric overtones, playful distortion and effects, and delicate guitar and piano licks that could easily turn this album into any outdoor addict’s favorite road trip sound track.

Very much adorable.

While this is just the beginning for this Portland, Oregon band, I know know know I will be hearing these songs on many movies and commercials in the future. I’m so proud that Visit Bend, for whom I wrote music and web content in the past, has picked up these guys to use in their most recent commercial about the wonder of the outdoors through the perspective of a child’s eyes.  Check it below:

Congratulations to all that have been involved in these projects. Thank you so much to Glacial Pace and Mimicking Birds for letting Bend use your music for this commercial. Can’t wait to hear you all play here!

(((PS – I covered a MM song many years back, and Isaac Brock gave me free reign on it, for which I’m still eternally grateful. Thank you! Here she/he is Bankrupt on Selling.)))

Support My Own Two Hands – the Annual Fundraiser for the Americana Project in Sisters, OR

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

John on the mic at his venue in Sisters. One of his favorite bands, Weinland from Portland was playing that night and he knows a few songs by heart.

There is something special about kids that are born and raised in Sisters, Oregon. I’ve experienced this first hand many times. The most recent occasion was while I was playing a gig at one of my favorite venues of all time, The Barn off Three Creeks Road in Sisters and was first approached by eighteen-year-old John, one of the owners of the venue. He was warm, hospitable, confident and totally present. He is a fellow singer/songwriter and a senior at Sisters High School – an almost alumni of the Americana Project, the educational arm of the Sisters Folk Fest. The Project was was established to foster a passion for the arts among the youth of Central Oregon. As a student in the program, John learned everything from how to play the guitar, to songwriting skills, to how to appreciate music of all genres. Many other students of the Project were there in the audience that night, and it lives down in my memory as one of the best shows I ever played, specifically because of how attentive and appreciative these high school kids were during the performance. They hung on to every word, and surrounded me after the show, offering accolades and sharing stories from their own songwriting process.

Brad Tisdel on the mic with the students of the American Project.

This weekend in Sisters, ww all have a chance to support the wonderful work of the Americana Project. There are performances, a community art stroll, a parade, and the finale fundraiser at the Ponderosa Forge & Ironworks. Read on for more info about this awesome event:

The 2011 My Own Two Hands Celebration is an annual fundraiser for the Americana Project, the educational outreach of the Sisters Folk Festival. The event encompasses a full-weekend of activities on April 15th and 16th including a  Community Parade, the Community Art Stroll and Performing Arts Evening , and the Art Auction and Party.

My Own Two Hands celebrates how one individual can change their community for the better using their skills in a positive way. It also helps to support the mission statement of the Sisters Folk Festival to expand community involvement in the arts.

Brad Tisdel is the executive director of the SSF and the Americana Project. He is also an amazing singer songwriter and is looking all kinds of blissed out in this shot.

“It is amazing to see so many people from different parts of the community come together in support of music and visual arts through the Americana Project,” said Brad Tisdel, executive director of the Sisters Folk Festival. “It is a testament to the meaningful impact that music, the arts and community create in people’s lives.”

One of the core elements of the My Own Two Hands fundraiser is the Common Canvas Project. Every year a different theme is chosen, and visual artists from the community and beyond are invited to create pieces, which will be featured in the community art stroll and auctioned off as part of the final fundraising event on Saturday night.

This year’s theme is “In the Current.”

“We like to keep the theme open-ended,” said Katy Yoder, development director of the Sisters Folk Festival. “It can mean whatever the artists want it to mean. So far this year we’ve had donations ranging from water themes, to air currents, to an actual current, as in the berry.”

Common Canvas is not just for professional artists, however. On the Community Art Day (March 12th this year) members of the community were invited to Sisters Middle School to create art around the theme to be worn or displayed during the community parade, which will take place this year on April 15 from 4 – 4:30 p.m. and run down Hood Street. The Sisters Chamber of Commerce is still accepting applications for the parade.

One interpretation of the theme. Fish!

Shortly after the parade, the Community Art Stroll begins, where over 40 Sisters businesses keep their doors open late, displaying all the donated works from artists, the Common Canvas pieces, and featuring performances by over 20 local musicians. The festivities then move Bronco Billy’s for the Performing Arts Evening, featuring performances by students of the Americana Project as well as the SHS jazz band and choir.

“The Performing Arts night is a real showcase of how the kids in this community have gotten better and better over the ten years of the Americana Project,” Tisdel said. “Younger kids are inspired which gives them goals and creates opportunities for youth mentoring.”

The finale of the weekend’s activities is the Art Auction on Saturday, April 16th at the Ponderosa Forge & Ironworks from 6 – 9 p.m. This event features both a live and silent auction and there are limited tickets available. If you would like to buy tickets, please call the Sisters Folk Festival office at 541.549.4979. Those who cannot make the event are welcome to donate to the American Project on the Sisters Folk Festival website or by calling the office.

“There is an amazing multi-generational aspect to these events,” said Tisdel. “Everyone from elementary school kids marching in the parade, to wise and talented artists donating pieces for the auction; it is really unique in that the community support extends far beyond people with kids in school.”

All monies collected at the auction support the Americana Project. Although the Americana Project is best known for its innovative songwriting and folk music history classes in Sisters High School, its reach goes far beyond these classes and supports many different aspects of music and art curriculum in the Sisters School District. The program awards scholarships for students in the visual and performing arts, provides national, regional and local guest arts and mentors in the classroom, gives an annual gift to the Sisters High School art, choir and music departments and supports both the Sisters Middle and Elementary School music and arts programming.

“I like to think of the Americana Project as more of a movement than a program,” Tisdel said. “It’s a central point in the development of young people in this community, and there is a certain magic in seeing so much community support for a cause that is all about creativity and self-expression.”

Rush Sturges new film “Frontier” in Bend tomorrow night

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Many folks in Bend know Rush as one of the most renown pro-kayakers in the world, but he’s also an incredible musician of the hip-hop/world variety, and one of my favorites right now. He usually goes by Adrenaline Rush when he’s on the mic. Read my review of his most recent release “The Road is Gold” on the Tumalo Creek Blog.

He’s coming to Bend tomorrow night for the premier of his latest movie “Frontier,” and he’ll also be playing some music after the screening.

This kicks off at Silver Moon Brewery at 8 p.m. sharp, so make sure to get there in time to see the film. Door is $5. This event is sponsored by Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe, and we’re hosting Green Drinks at the shop this same night if you want to stop by from 5 – 7 p.m. to get warmed up for the show.

Elk Lake Ice Man Weekend Adventure – Music, Skiing and Debauchery

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

The lonely ski in to Elk Lake Resort - 11 miles!

I got a late start on my sunset ski out to Elk Lake this weekend and didn’t leave the parking lot from Dutchman until 6 p.m. My pack was heavy and kept throwing me off balance, and once the wind kicked back up and clouds closed in, I considered turning around more than once.

I’ve done this 11-mile ski on a winter evening quite a few times now, but solo on only one other occasion. (Usually this was when my band, the Sweet Harlots had been hired to play out there for the weekend.) Once I got warmed up and accustomed to the extra weight, I was content to be out there all by myself as the sun quickly set, creating interesting light play between the clouds, mountains and lava flows.

Jason Jermane, Kitri Falxa, Jill and Jasmine

Only one group passed me while I was out there; two snowmobilers also headed out to the lake, but other than that I was totally alone.

For someone who treasures time by myself, I was surprised that loneliness overtook me during the ski. As it got darker and darker, colder and colder, I imagined my friends whooping it up in the lodge, tipping back beers at the bar and singing along to the music. I imagined my sister and her friends back in Bend in our house, having a cozy night by the fire, watching a movie and eating popcorn.

Eleven miles later, just as the delusional headlines like, “Outdoors Writer Found Frozen in Snow Bank,” started to pop into my head, the sign for Elk Lake appeared on my right. My pace quickened and I made the happy decent down to the lodge just as my friends had begun to get worried.

My friend, Kitri Falxa, rented a cabin at the resort for the weekend in order to enjoy the music of our buddy Greg Botsford who was playing in the lodge both nights for Elk Lake’s Ice Man weekend.

Pam Stevenson (who always seems to win the PPP for the non-elites), and Elk Lake owner Nansee Bruce

One of my favorite things about Elk Lake is its wonderful homey feel. Families have been coming up for years and all know each other for the most part. The owners of the resort dine at the same long common table alongside guests. If anyone is a stranger to the resort, it is pretty much guaranteed they’ll know everyone’s name and, maybe even their life stories, before they leave. Perhaps the person most responsible for this atmosphere is Elk Lake’s jubilant General Manager Jay Walsh, who makes everyone feel like a friend, and who can be the life of the party if you catch him on the right night.

After a late night of drum circles and cabin hopping, our group made the trek around the freshly groomed loop around Elk Lake Saturday morning. One of the owners, Nansee Bruce, is an avid skate skier and her husband groomed the road and erected a substantial barrier to prevent snowmobilers from chopping up the fresh corduroy on that loop. Without stirring up too much mixed-use controversy, I will say it was a nice relief to get away from the noise and the smell of snowmobiles for a few hours.

Botsy rockin' out in the Lodge

Elk Lake Resort will still be snowbound for the next few months, and I highly recommend this spring skiing adventure, especially for those who enjoy the balance of a social atmosphere and a wilderness retreat. The resort can accommodate nearly any budget, with camping cabins starting at $58 a night, to the most luxurious cabin at the resort for $399.

This article was previously published the The Source Weekly.