08-18-2020 Hiking to Boundary Springs

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Even though we originally thought we might do our Boundary Springs hike and then go home, we decided it wouldn’t be a problem to spend another night on “store” and continue our camping trip as planned.

After a good breakfast we headed back up Highway 230 toward the north entrance of Crater Lake and the Boundary Springs Trailhead.  We stopped along the route a couple of times, once to photograph a distant pointy peak.  I was surprised when I walked to the edge of the roadway and discovered this magnificent example of downcutting in the cemented pumice from the explosion of Mt Mazama, (Crater Lake) 7700 years ago.

We also stopped at the bridge crossing Muir Creek where we had noticed a camping rig parked among the trees on the previous day.  Pulling in to check it out we discovered a lovely dispersed campsite with room for a couple of rigs without imposing on anyone’s privacy.

There was a tent settled into a site along the creek, but still plenty of room that would accommodate another camper without being intrusive.

Continuing north on the highway, we again stopped at the main trailhead where we encountered a large family getting ready to hike to the Springs. They said the hike was 5 miles round trip. Good to know that we could lop off a mile or two of the total hike by returning to the dirt road we found yesterday that intercepted the trail closer to the springs.


We drove to our dirt road that we found yesterday that cut off some distance for us by intercepting the trail closer to the springs. I think our total hike was between 3 and 4 miles, but I discovered my Fitbit is seriously overestimating mileage. My 36 inch stride has shortened considerably since I started hobbling along with sticks. Time to reset stride length so I get reasonable mileage numbers. After returning home I did a bit more research and found a good map of our hike and discovered that we had indeed covered 3.5 miles round trip from where we entered the trail to the springs and back.


The hike wasn’t difficult, with some ups and downs, but a fairly smooth surface thanks to the deep pumice soils. The family overtook us in short order even with our short cut. During the hike we passed a woman from Arizona, a couple from San Jose, and another young couple.

We all stayed distanced as we greeted each other and the two couples stepped off the trail and donned their masks as we passed. I thanked them and we covered our faces with our shirts, feeling silly that we had left our masks in the car. I find I am much less concerned when outdoors and tend to be less vigilant. Especially after yesterday where we didn’t see another soul on the trails.


Prior to the spring is a magnificent cascade. It is thrilling that there is so much water in the Rogue so close to its source.

The family departed the spring as we arrived so we had it entirely to ourselves as we sat and enjoyed not only the springs but the thought of the mighty river that it becomes.

On the way back out I found myself wondering how long it takes a drop of water to reach the Pacific, and then what happens if it gets caught up in Lost Lake and never gets there…or evaporates on the way. Silly thoughts hiking the headwaters of a great river. Although I never did get an answer to that question, I did find an excellent synopsis of the Rogue River in this website

Another fascinating blog that I found in my research is this one, Boundary Springs, Source of the River.  Great information about the source of the water that forms the springs, and while they don’t emanate directly from the bottom of Crater Lake, the waters move through the deep pumice layers under some of the deepest snows in the western US.

Ripe huckleberries!

I managed the hike with 2 sticks, and noticed my quad muscles really didn’t hurt any more at the end of the hike than they did at the beginning. Its just a matter of doing it. I did notice that much of my walking movement is generated from my hips rather than knees or quads so it makes for a bit of a funny looking gait. I remembered something a well known Myositis Warrior said, “Don’t mourn what you can no longer do. Celebrate what you still can do.”

Lately I have been often saddened when I read about so many great hikes that blogger friends are doing that I know I will never do again. But on this walk I celebrated that I made it to Boundary Springs and that my hiking days may have changed, but they aren’t over.

We decided to return home by continuing to the north entrance of Crater Lake and making a loop via highway 62 back to Farewell Bend.

The drive was lovely, but with a bit of overcast the lake wasn’t as blue as we have seen it. The view sites were mostly full but we only stopped at one for a few photos.

We were back at camp before 3 and while warm, it wasn’t as hot as the previous two days. We played cards at the picnic table for awhile, planning to have supper at 7 so it would be a bit cooler and we could try again for a campfire.


I wanted to walk the short .3 mile trail to the Rogue Gorge Overlook along the river. I decided this time to try the walker since the trail was smooth, level, and not rocky. We were alone when we arrived at the overlook but within minutes there were a bunch of families with happy loud kids running around so we made.our exit. It was fun seeing kids playing in the slick rocky pools in the river channel. Most of the times we have been to this part of the river the water has been much too high and wild for this kind of play.


Supper was the best ever and the easiest. Mo started up the Weber Q and I put on two ears of unhusked corn and some nice loin chops.  We cooked and ate at the table with a jar of our homemade applesauce and the other half of our bottle of red we had the first night we were here. We also turned on the generator and the air to let the rig cool down a bit. Amazing what a treat cooled air can be when it is hot and muggy outdoors!

Back inside after supper and a little bit of campfire we finished our card game in the coolness before opening all the windows putting the rig on store and settling into the darkness to read kindles before bed. I love the dark silence of having the rig on store at night. No blinking lights anywhere.

The next morning we turned on the generator again for breakfast, and considered whether we should return to Crater Lake to drive out to the Pinnacles Trail. We decided to wait till the next time we visit so as not to be rushed by the 2 pm check out time.

Instead we once again walked the beautiful Rogue Gorge trail for a couple of miles along the river.  Such a perfect way to end our trip.

Both of us were really happy that we hadn’t let our battery issues cut our plans short.  Every single day had something wonderful for us and we are already planning to return to camp at Farewell Bend for more explorations into parts of Crater Lake that we have yet to visit.

September

Current Location: Rocky Point Oregon Mostly Sunny and 77 degrees F

blooming in September 2014 (8 of 21) I have procrastinated writing a blog all day.  The month has been full, with both difficult and delightful moments.  I want to talk about the fun, but I do need to get the hard stuff out of the way. Often I think that people who share their feelings about life and the good and the bad things that go on are the best bloggers, the ones I like to read the most.  But it can be a fine line.  I read Mark’s moody musings with recognition, with “aha’ moments, and Al’s sometimes down days along with the good ones are part of what makes his blog good to read, real. I so appreciate the ups and downs of Sherry and David’s journey, and her willingness to share with us.

blooming in September 2014 (5 of 21) There are others who are more reticent, but magnificent photography and wonderful words describing exotic travels are a delight.  Now and then my favorite blogger and friend will let some musings slip into her detailed travelogues, and I always enjoy those moments.  As I said, a fine line.  I have stumbled onto blogs that are terribly tiresome, not because the blogger talked about how they felt about something, but maybe because they went on and on in a way that was …well…whiny and boring.  Needless to say, I don’t read those blogs any more.

blooming in September 2014 (15 of 21) I do talk about feelings in my blog, maybe more than some, not as much as others.  The surprise for me was my need to shut up and shut down when I had to deal with letting my cat Jeremy go.  It was and is hard to talk about it somehow.  Every animal owner knows the feeling of saying goodbye.  It happens to all of us eventually.  Even though I found I didn’t want to talk about it, I did discover that I needed to say it had happened, and the flood of condolences and support that came in was a good thing for me.  Thank you to everyone who made comments, and especially to MZB, a fellow blogger/friend who recently lost a loved pet as well, and sent long letters to assist me through the process.

Brookings_004 I miss Jeremy, of course.  Somehow I miss him even more in the MoHo.  He loved to travel because he knew we were all right there close together, he didn’t have to go crying around the house trying to find us.  In his old age, he hated being alone. He was either on my lap, on Mo’s shoulder, or riding shotgun on the dash whenever we were on a trip.  Still, nearly two decades with a cat is a blessing, especially a cat like Jeremy, so I won’t complain any more. 

Brookings_033 In case you are wondering, Abby is OK.  Not exactly fine, but OK.  She is still happy and eating and drinking and sticking to Mo like glue as usual.  We still have some time with her it seems.

Just a day after Jeremy went to cat heaven, my grandson Xavier was in another play, “The Skin of our Teeth”, at the Linkville Playhouse in Klamath Falls.  Daughter Deborah came over from Grants Pass to spend the weekend and go to the play with us.  It was a fine evening, and nearly 11pm when I pulled into the driveway back home.  I saw some movement on our porch, with dark hulking figures by the door, and started to panic, when a closer look suddenly revealed that the big hulking man on the porch was my grandson Steven!

Mt Scott family hike (3 of 91)-SMILE (1)From left: Deborah, Sue, Deanna, Mo, Steven, Jeremy, Axel, Melody

Daughter Deanna had picked him up in Moses Lake where he now lives and brought him to Rocky Point as a birthday surprise for me.  It was a great surprise, in addition to having Deanna here for a few days, I finally got to spend some time with Steven.  We have great shared memories of the years when I took him on work camping trips into the wilderness of Idaho when he was a teenager. This was the first time I have seen him since 2007 and since he returned from his second tour in Iraq. Even nicer, Steven was born on my birthday, so it was his birthday too!

Mt Scott family hike (18 of 91) What a great weekend we had!  I had previously requested a family hike for Sunday the 14th, choosing the Mt Scott trail in Crater Lake as a good place for a family trek.  I knew that Melody and my grandkids Xavier and Axel would be there, along with daughter Deb, but had no clue that our little family hike would include Deanna and Steven. Deanna’s husband Keith remained home to do some home time chores in Richland as they are waiting for delivery of a new semi to replace the one they currently own.  Deanna has some fairly horrendous stories about California emission laws for truckers, but I won’t go into that right now except to say that it has cost my trucker kids more than 100K in after market fixes and down time.

Mt Scott family hike (33 of 91) The fires in the west this year have been terrible, and the skies have been smoky for several weeks now.  On the morning of our hike, we still were under smoke from the 790 fire just 9 miles northwest of Rocky Point, and much more smoke from the huge Happy Camp fire just across the border in California.  I had so hoped for clear skies for our hike, but decided that we wouldn’t let the smoke get in the way of our family celebration.

Mt Scott family hike (41 of 91)If you look closely, you can see the trailhead parking area below

The weather was actually perfect, with cool morning air warmed up by the midday sunshine, not a cloud in the sky, and even with the smoky skies in the distance, once we were above 7,000 feet or so at Crater Lake, the air was clear.  Our hike wasn’t so much about the fabulous views of Crater Lake as much as a place to be together as a family and enjoy the outdoors doing something a little bit different.

Mt Scott family hike (52 of 91)

Mt Scott is the highest point in Crater Lake National Park, and the trail to the lookout at the peak is 2.5 miles each way, with a 1,200 foot elevation rise to the summit at 8900 feet.  Unlike some peak trails, however, this one is well graded without a lot of boulder hopping steps.  Perfect for all levels of hiking skill.  I loved it.  Just enough to get a good workout, but not enough to burn anyone out.

Mt Scott family hike (63 of 91)-SMILE (1)

Steven put photoshop on my computer so I could get everyone into one frame, but I haven’t tried it yet!Mt Scott family hike (67 of 91)After our hike, we continued around the Rim Road that encircles Crater Lake, stopping a few times to enjoy the views.  Probably due to the smoke, the park wasn’t especially crowded, but the lake blues were a bit subdued.  Even so, as I looked at the lake, I wondered out loud to Mo, “We live here, why don’t we visit this park more often!?”  I promised myself more Crater Lake hikes in the future.

Mt Scott family hike (85 of 91) With a two hour trip home after the hike, we were all starving, and I was happy that I had slow cooked the ribs all night in the oven.  All they needed was a quick glaze on the BBQ.  They turned out to be the best ribs I ever cooked.  That little trick in George’s recipe for the WeberQ, using sauerkraut between the ribs, makes for fall off the bone tender tasty meat.

Deb and Melody had to go home and back to work, but Deanna and Steven stayed for another two nights, spending a great day talking and sharing stories.  Steven was a computer security hacker for the Army, and had some great tricks and ideas for our computers that were really helpful.  He also had some rather interesting stories.  Whew!  The world can be a scary place. Mt Scott family hike (89 of 91)

Deanna took Mo and me (I sounds better, but nope…Deanna took me is the rule, right Sherry?) and Steven to a great birthday dinner at Lake of the Woods Resort, just 15 minutes up the highway, with a beautiful view of the lake from our table. Speaking of the highway, we at last have a name for our pass.  I often talk about going over “the unnamed pass” on Highway 140 to Medford.  I now have a name.  The highway department dubbed our pass “High Lakes Pass” and we now even have a sign at the summit!  Good name.  The Sky Lakes Wilderness is on the west and the Mountain Lakes Wilderness is on the east side of the road so High Lakes is a great name.

Birthday dinner (15 of 15)Birthday dinner (4 of 15)The final celebration for the week culminated in a trip over the mountain to enjoy a play at the Shakespearean Festival in Ashland.  What a treat it was to sit in the gorgeous Allen Elizabethan Theater for a magnificent production of “Into the Woods”.  The Festival is world class, and people come from all over the world to see the plays.  Mo and I have been to a couple of the plays in two of the other theaters in the past, but seeing a play on this famous stage was first for both of us.

osfNo photography allowed inside the theater, so I took this from the web

Best part of the story, however, was the seat choice.  The theater is an open air venue, with rain a rarity in Ashland this time of year.  I ordered tickets months ago, and even then the “best” (more expensive) seats were sold out, so we had to settle for row M, toward the back.  Lo and behold, it rained!  And those “best” ticket holders got all wet while we were completely protected by the balcony above us!  Amazing!  Even more amazing was the professional way that the cast continued the dancing and singing in those fabulous costumes with barely any acknowledgement that they were getting soaked as well.  Pretty incredible!

It would have been a great way to end the month, but instead we are going to end it with an even better plan.  We are off to Seattle and the San Juan Islands.  Just a short jaunt, because we know that the San Juan’s deserve much more time, but this will be an exploratory trip with a longer visit to come in the future. 

As much as I struggled with writing this blog, I knew I had better get it done before we get on the road and I have photos to process and stories to write about another new destination for us!  Onward.