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Gift Guide: The Hiker 

Sensible Gifts for the Outdoor Enthusiast

You don't have to be a hardcore athlete to enjoy the great outdoors. For those who tread more gently upon the earth, there is no shortage of creative and adventurous gift ideas. Whether you're shopping for a fair-weather outdoorsperson or 24/7/365 "outside kid," these gifts will aid in their exploration and recreation.

While the more casual wandering doesn't require the kind of gear needed for, say, backcountry skiing or highlining over Smith Rock, it still helps to be appropriately attired. To keep on hiking through the snow, dedicated trekkers need a solid pair of snow shoes ($90-$260, Mountain Supply, 834 NW Colorado Ave.) and poles ($69-$130, Mountain Supply). For places that simply can't be reached on foot, or special occasions, consider springing for a snowcat ride ($50) up to Elk Lake Resort Lodge (60000 Century Dr.) followed by a weekend of snowmobiling ($150 for half day rental, $250 for full day) or a festive dog sled tour of the region ($45-$99 for a one-hour jaunt, $550 for a "marathon" trip for two adults to Elk Lake, Oregon Trail of Dreams). To stay warm on those long wintery walks, a Stanley flask ($24, REI, 380 SW Powerhouse Dr.) is a rugged and functional container for the (preferably local) spirits of your choice.

Of course, it won't be winter forever. Once the snow begins to thaw, migrating birds return to the region and chirp it up in an attempt to defend their territory and attract mates. Help the aspiring birder in your life get a front row seat to the avian action with binoculars ($49.99-$1,399, Wild Birds Unlimited, 2680 NE Hwy 20) and a bird call app (try the free Merlin Bird ID app from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, available for Apple and Android). Already a pro? Someone you're especially fond of? The local experts at Paradise Birding offer birding tours near and far—from Bend's backyard to Peru (approximately $350/day for domestic tours, international pricing to be announced; paradisebirding.com).

If your loved one prefers to bring her discoveries home, add a new layer to the standard hiking routine by incorporating the thrill of the hunt—not for animals, but for rocks, gems and gold. The Lifestyle Store (2550 NE Hwy 20) has everything an amateur rock hunter or gold panner needs to get started, from legitimately grown-up rock tumblers ($75-$235) to gold-panning kits ($29.95-$149.99) and books and maps to help find treasures.

Once summer arrives, it will be tempting not to spend every day outside. Give your outdoor enthusiast new ways to enjoy the environment. Instead of walking, they could be longboarding ($100-$170, The Longboard Store, 550 SW Industrial Way, Ste. 189). A more accessible form of skateboarding, longboarding is similar to land-based stand-up paddle boarding. In fact, the now-defunct Bend-based Norgeboards even sold land paddles for them. Prefer a float? Canoes are easy to use and offer a relaxing way to take in the beauty of Central Oregon's rivers and lakes ($850-$2,800, Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe, 805 SW Industrial Way).

About The Author

Erin Rook

Erin is the Source Weekly's Associate Editor. Before moving to Bend in 2013, Erin worked as a writer and editor for publications in Portland including PQ Monthly and Just Out. He has also written for the Willamette Week, El Hispanic News, Travel Portland, OUT City, Boston magazine and the Taunton Daily Gazette...
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