The last days of October in Central Oregon feel magical in a way that is different from the rest of the year. Maybe it's the little bit of bite in the air coupled with late autumn golden-hued light of the sky, or maybe it's something else entirely. Many cultures recognize this time of year as that when the veil between the living and the spirit world is at its thinnest. Whether you subscribe to that theory or not, an afternoon stroll through a historic cemetery makes for a fun fall activity.
Pilgrim's Rest Cemetery
Located roughly 30 miles northeast of Bend, south of Powell Butte, this graveyard is pretty much in the middle of nowhere. Its emerald green turf stands out against the sage and juniper landscape of the high desert. Its location makes it one of the most scenic old cemeteries in the area with nothing but expansive Cascade views and big skies to keep watch over the dead.
Camp Polk Cemetery
Located to the west of Bend, just north of Sisters, people have been taking their final respite here since 1880. Unlike the uniform and nearly unadorned Pilgrim's Rest, Camp Polk Cemetery seems to lack any particular order and is colorful with mementos left for the dearly departed. This spot is apparently in demand as a final destination as more than one future plot has been creatively "reserved" for later use.
Pilot Butte Cemetery
As the name suggests, this local grave site sits on the south side of Pilot Butte. More park-like than the other two locales, this is a nice place to spend some time. A quick Google search will also tell you that, according to some, it's so nice a place the spirits of many of the interred simply refuse to leave.