Outdoor Trend: The Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon
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Outdoor Trend: The Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt 

Similar to other events nationwide, local personal trainer sets up neighborhood "challenges" to add some adventure to walking the streets of Bend

With trailheads, state parks and other frequently used outdoor spaces closed or restricted during the COVID-19 pandemic, getting that valuable fresh air and exercise begins with the question: Where the heck can I go? Should I even bother?

While dispersed public lands remain one of the resources we can still access to get some outdoor recreation, staying close to home can also offer more adventure than you might think, says Bend-based personal trainer Jess Beauchemin, who's created a new program aimed at getting people outdoors while practicing social distancing.

click to enlarge Bend personal trainer Jess Beauchemin, out on one of her neighborhood walking challenges. - AARON GIFFORD
  • Aaron Gifford
  • Bend personal trainer Jess Beauchemin, out on one of her neighborhood walking challenges.

Beauchemin, whose workload has been greatly reduced in the current shutdown climate, has been using her new free time to help people stay active and get outside through what she's calling the Bend Neighborhood Walking Challenge.

"People are still crowding on the River Trail and the familiar parks, but most of the city sidewalks and lesser-known trails are empty," Beauchemin told the Source. "I am looking at this as a great opportunity to get to know and love Bend even more. Every nook and cranny of it."

The Bend Neighborhood Walking Challenge offers some information and history on each of Bend's 13 neighborhoods, and encourages people to look out for certain wildlife, landmarks or vistas that people can find in those neighborhoods. The Orchard District description, for example, mentions the area's history as an experimental orchard planted by Oregon State University in the 1920s, and encourages people to look out for views of Awbrey Butte, along with other neighborhood landmarks.

For people outside of Bend, Beauchemin also has a general neighborhood "bingo" anyone can do anywhere in the world, she said.

Elsewhere, groups of friends and social media groups have also been posting neighborhood bingo or scavenger hunt challenges online, aiming to allow people to connect even while they walk or bike around their homes alone. The Happy Heart Hunt group on Facebook, with hundreds of thousands of members, chooses an object each week and has people try to find as many of those objects as possible. A man in North Bend, Washington created an online scavenger hunt through his business, Compass Outdoor Adventures, with over 1,000 participant on its first week.

In Bend, Beauchemin's Bend Neighborhood Walking Challenge is free to download, though she invites people to donate to access to the information—and she's donating 25% of the proceeds to NeighborImpact. 

About The Author

Nicole Vulcan

Nicole Vulcan has been editor of the Source since 2016. While the pandemic reduced "hobbies" to "aspirations," you can mostly find her raising chickens, walking dogs, riding all the bikes and attempting to turn a high desert scrap of land into a permaculture oasis. (Progress: slow.)
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