07-16-2020 Exploring the Lakes and an Evening Kayak

Our plan when we went to bed was to rise early, eat a decent breakfast, and get on the road quickly.  We wanted to arrive at Elk Lake, our chosen location for a morning kayak, before the winds started up and the sun got too hot.  Even though the temperatures in this part on the east side of the Cascades are a bit more moderated than the part of Southern Oregon where we live, it can still get hot.  Predictions were for another gorgeous sunny day with highs in the upper 80’s.

Elk Lake Sunset  View Day Use Area

I completed a lot of internet research on most of the lakes in the chain before we left home.  There was no way to do any last minute research however, since I had no access to the internet at the campground.  I had 2 bars of 4G which could manage telephone calls and text messages, see emails but not their complete contents, and see some posts on Facebook for random moments in the early part of the day.

My research pointed me to Elk Lake, which in internet photos looks deep and blue surrounded by the gorgeous peaks of South Sister and Broken Top.  I was at least smart enough to download the google maps for the area before we left home in Grants Pass so we could navigate properly along the entire length of the Byway. 

We were on the road by 8:30, with only a slight breeze, and decided to skip exploring any of the lakes and campgrounds along our route so that we could get on Elk Lake early.  The road into Elk Lake Sunset View Day use area from the north is rough gravel, with some steep areas and sections of washboard.  I’m glad we didn’t plan to take the MoHo back there.

When we arrived at the site, it was gorgeous as expected, but the winds were kicking up and to our great surprise, there were a lot of people already in the parking lot, at the picnic tables, and launching all manner of kayaks and paddle boards.  I had no clue that many paddle boards are now of the blow up variety, and the whooshing sound of the pumps was a bit startling. 

We looked around a bit, checking out the outlandishly beautiful people with their beautiful rigs and boats and thought, “Hmmm, a LOT of well to do people around here.”  That was to be our refrain for the entire day as we traveled to the several lakes and view sites along the Cascade Lakes Highway, and the closer we got to Bend, it seemed the people were even more fit, attractive, and on the young side.  I have nothing against young, attractive, fit people, in fact it is great to see so many humans enjoying outdoor pursuits, but it was still a bit daunting, and not particularly our scene.  In addition, the lake was another big round body of water without a lot of interesting shoreline. 

We decided instead to continue south back toward the Hosmer Lake Loop and check out some of the campgrounds along the way.  We thought maybe we could launch on tiny Hosmer Lake before continuing our explorations.  We checked out Little Fawn campground on the south end of Elk Lake, but it was dusty and rocky, completely full, and quite a distance from the water.  The day use area by the campground was also full of cars, and more people packing their paddle boards and kayaks the several hundred yards across exposed lakebed toward the waters of Elk Lake.  Nope, not our spot for either kayaking OR camping.

When we arrived at the South Campground near Hosmer Lake we found more dusty, rocky, gravel roads and more people packed into the cramped sites with all sorts of watercraft.  Ah well, we weren’t planning on camping, just hoping to get on the waters with our boats before the day got too warm to enjoy.

What a surprise when we arrived at the tiny, cramped boat launch to discover at least 50 cars, all packing in and lining up one by one as we arrived all the way back to the intersection between the launch and the campground.  The lake looked like a playground of boats, paddleboards, fishermen, and people!  I walked down to the launch and talked to a few people, asking if they knew the lake. Five of the several people I talked to said it was their first time on this particular lake, and 3 said they had never kayaked before and this was their first kayak!.  Much like RVing, I think active people who want to get out and about have discovered kayaking.

Sadly, we decided to let this lake go as well, but as we were leaving Mo said, “I wonder when all these people will go home?”.  Since it seemed most were on day excursions from Bend, the likelihood of the place being this crowded in late evening was slight.  We decided to take our chances and finish our explorations of the other lakes and campgrounds in the area before going back home to our camp. 

We checked out the campgrounds and RV resorts at Lava Lake, at Little Lava Lake where the Deschutes River begins, and then turned back north to find Sparks Lake at the base of Mt Bachelor near the northern end of the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway.

Little Lava Lake

Little Lava Lake was quite lovely, and a few campsites were a bit tempting.  We also thought if we didn’t find somewhere else to kayak we might return to the shallow beach at the boat launch site. I started keeping track of the campsites that we would choose at Little Lava Lake Campground if they became available for the next time we wanted to camp and kayak in the area.  If one should wish to camp, the good level sites at Little Lava Lake are #10, #11, #13, and #15.  Others are small and very uneven.

Lava Lake

The Lava Lake campground also had just one site along the edge of the lake but I didn’t write down the number because the lake was a lovely shade of green!  Maybe we didn’t want to camp there ever. 

Back north again toward Elk Lake, we checked out the Elk Lake Campground and found sites #7, #8, and #13 to be the only acceptable sites that would tempt us away from our home base at Crane Prairie some time in the future.  

We drove on north again toward Sparks Lake, and there was a beautiful wide viewpoint at the Green Lakes trailhead that climbs toward South Sister.  Only problem was that cars were lined up all along the road for about a mile on either side of the trailhead. 

A very popular place on a Thursday in July!  We pulled into the parking area across from the trailhead, noticed the sign saying parking allowed for 15 minutes only, and took every precious minute to hike into the meadow full of penstemon and sedges with Mattie.  The view of South Sister to the north and Mt Bachelor to the southeast were breathtaking.  No wonder this is such a popular place only 30 some miles from Bend, Oregon.

After our little walk, we traveled the very rough and rocky road from the highway to Sparks Lake.  The campground is called Soda Creek, and is a few miles from the lake.  We chose sites #4, #6, #10, and #13 for future reference.  We discovered a few rigs parked in a dispersed camping area on the extremely dusty and busy road to the boat launch on Sparks Lake.  Even free, with a view of the lake, wouldn’t tempt us to camp there in all that dust and noise. The lake itself was also incredibly crowded with kayakers and paddleboarders, and the water was quite low.  Pretty, but not for us.  With the crowded parking lot and thick dust, we didn’t get out of the car for photos, but this website has some lovely pictures of the lake and the area nearby.

As the day progressed, and we viewed so many lakes and campgrounds, we decided that we were really lucky to be in the lovely, spacious, open, and reasonably quiet campground at Crane Prairie Reservoir.  From the internet research, I never would have chosen Crane Prairie, but after visiting, it will no doubt be the campground to which we return in the future.  Just for reference, our favorite sites at Crane Prairie are #103, the ADA site #107, and #113.  All of these sites are on the Blue Loop, but for big rigs and family groups the Red loop at the upper edges of the park have the most privacy and space, but no view of the water or easy access to the beach. The Red loop also has several large nice pull through sites.

By the time we returned back to camp, it was 1 or so, and again we settled in with our books and cool drinks to enjoy the breezes and shade as we read.  I spent more time gazing at the water than actually reading I think.  We also took Mattie for another swim.  She went in at first, but wasn’t as enthusiastic this time as she was yesterday.

We ate an early supper and planned to leave after dinner in time to arrive at Hosmer Lake around 6:30. This time our plans worked out perfectly.  When we arrived at the boat launch there were less than half a dozen cars and only a few people coming off the lake, and only a very few launching for an evening on the water.

Hosmer Lake turned out to be everything I had expected to find in the Cascade Lakes.  The water was crystal clear, and the lake meanders from a small lower lake, through a narrow channel lined with bullrush and wocus and then meanders northeast toward a rugged area of lava which hides a waterfall. 

We didn’t get out of the boats to see the waterfall.  A fellow boater told us that it was pretty, but not spectacular, and required some hiking through the rocky jumble to see it.  We sat awhile trying to hear it to no avail.

We continued back to the main channel and continued north to the lake.  I asked a couple of returning kayakers if the lake was very far away.  One person said it was a long distance, and another said it was just ahead.  My trusty google map wasn’t exactly visible in the bright late evening light and the lake shows quite dark and green on the current google image.  To our surprise we arrived at the large part of the lake within 15 minutes and it was truly gorgeous.  The water was clear and somewhat shallow, surrounded by nothing except timber, mountain views, and marshland. 

One lone boat with two men fly fishing were spotlighted by the early evening sun.  Hosmer Lake is exactly the kind of place we love to kayak, and we will definitely return in the future, hopefully during a time of year when there are a few less visitors.

After only an hour and a half on the lake, we were back home at our camp by 8:30, as the winds started to die down and the sun set at 8:47.  I knew the exact time of the sunset because I also knew that the comet Neowise was expected to be visible in the northwest sky about 90 minutes after sunset.  Mo built another nice campfire and we sat with our wine and marshmallows waiting for darkness and a chance to see the comet.

We weren’t disappointed.  Walking down to the beach, we hunted the skies for the Big Dipper which seemed to be in the wrong place compared to what we are used to in Grants Pass.  After a bit of searching, we saw the comet. It was somewhat faint in the still glowing northwestern skies, but we could see the comet and the tail if we looked carefully.  There was no way I could get any kind of photo, but there are so many great ones that people have posted that I didn’t feel like we missed much.  At least we got to see in in person.  Later, when we returned to Grants Pass, even though the comet was supposedly visible, we never saw it again.  In Grants Pass we are in the western part of the time zone and at the time that the comet is visible, there is still considerable light.  There also was a bit of haze from a California fire and of course the lights from the small city of Grants Pass are still bright enough to cause some interference.  I was glad we were in the mountains with less ambient light for at least one night so that we saw the comet.  I doubt either of us will be around in just under 7,000 years when it returns.

After three days we deemed our Cascade Lakes National Scenic Byway trip to be a great success. We settled into bed after our long day and evening knowing we had until noon to have a leisurely breakfast the next morning before breaking camp and traveling south toward Klamath Falls for another night out before going over the pass toward home.

07-15-2020 A Day at Crane Prairie Reservoir

Crane Prairie Reservoir is a large, shallow reservoir  created in 1922

We woke slowly after such a dark and quiet night.  There are so many different lakes in the chains of Cascade Lakes that we had to make a decision whether we wanted to explore or to stay home on our firs day.  After spending yesterday driving, we decided that we would stay home and enjoy our local campground and lake for a day before attempting to explore any more of the beautiful Cascade Lakes that were scattered along the Cascade Lakes Highway
Kayaking in the early part of the day always seems best.  Usually the winds aren’t strong and the sun is still not high overhead.  It can get really hot out on the water in a kayak without much protection.  We launched right after morning coffee with a plan to stay out on the water for a reasonable amount of time and then return home for a more substantial breakfast.

It was a personal test for me.  Could I still manage to get in and out of the kayak?  On the previous day, when we loaded up the boats at home, I was relieved to find out that lifting the boat and strapping it down didn’t cause me any problems.  My arms are still strong enough and my legs can still hold me up ok for that job, especially early in the morning when I am strongest.  The test yet to come was getting back out of the boat, and that thought was in the back of my mind as we slid out onto the water.  Getting into the boat wasn’t a problem at all with the shallow, sandy beach. 

Notice the underwater fire pit

South Sister on the left, Broken top in the middle, and Mt Bachelor (famous ski mountain) on the right

Before the dam was built in 1922, the area was covered by prairie and served as a habitat for cranes, which was the inspiration for the name of the lake. The construction of the original rock-filled dam flooded most of Crane Prairie and parts of the nearby forest, killing many trees. In order to recover timber, the reservoir was drained on a regular basis. Because of leakage through the original rock-filled dam, in 1940 the Bureau of Reclamation rebuilt the dam as an earthfill structure 36 feet in height and 285 feet in length. When full, the reservoir has a capacity of 55,300 acre feet.

Crane Prairie Reservoir is part of the larger Deschutes Project by the Bureau of Reclamation, which also includes Wickiup Reservoir, Haystack Reservoir, the Crooked River Pumping Plant, and North Unit Main Canal. The project was created to supply irrigation water for a total of 97,000 acres of land in the vicinity of the town of Madras which is north of Bend, Oregon.

In late summer, the reservoir is lowered as water for irrigation is withdrawn from it, leaving large areas of the lakebed exposed. We were especially lucky on this trip because our timing was just right.  The lake was very full, and yet as we drove past Wickiup on our way south, that reservoir was so low there was no water at the west end. Both lakes have moderately alkaline water with a high mineral content, slightly higher than the waters of other lakes in the region. Sometimes during the summer the water’s pH level is exceptionally high, caused by the algae that often reach bloom proportions. Much like Klamath Lake, phosphorus concentration in the lake is high and the lake will sometimes turn green as pea soup.  Our camp host told us that about two week previous to our visit the lake was completely green. One of the issues with having to make reservations to camp at any of the local campgrounds is that there is no way of knowing when you make the reservation whether the lake will be low and the water might be green. 

We discovered that Crane Prairie Reservoir is one of the most important wildlife viewing areas in central Oregon. The lake is dotted with tall stumps of the flooded trees which now provide nesting places for osprey and the reservoir is home to the largest nesting colony in the Pacific Northwest. Other species of birds include bald eagles, cormorants, blue herons, kingfishers, sandhill cranes, and Canada geese. In 1970, the Crane Prairie Osprey Management Area was established here to protect this special haven.

On our first morning kayaking the lake, we paddled south toward the outlet of the Deschutes River.  Our plan was to stay out only an hour before turning back, making sure that all my parts were working properly and that I wouldn’t get worn out so much I couldn’t get out of the boat.

It was a lovely paddle, with mostly calm winds and clear water until we approached the southern end of the lake where algae was accumulating in the water and the bugs found us.  As the sun rose higher, it was time to turn around.  We didn’t make it all the way to the river, but there is always next time.  We did see an eagle, cormorants, ospreys, and several types of ducks. 

Once we got back to our little beach, I made a small attempt to rise from my boat, and realized that my original plan for getting out of the kayak was needed.  I simply slid my legs over the side and rolled into the water on my knees.  It worked perfectly.  Looks like I will be able to continue kayaking for a bit longer without having to worry about getting in and out as long as we find nice smooth launch sites with no current to take the boat away while exiting.  I was thrilled to say the least, and all that underlying worry was gone.

We settled in after our late breakfast in our chairs, opening our awning for some nice shade and read our kindles to while away the hours until we decided it was time to do a bit of exploring in the car.  Cultus Lake wasn’t too far from where we were camped and it looked like an inviting place.  Within a few miles, we were driving up the graveled road to the resort and were shocked to find a completely different atmosphere from our laid back family campground.  Cultus Lake Resort was busy and crowded, and the beach was full of people with all sorts of water craft and kids.  It was noisy. 

The lake itself was quite lovely, deep and dark blue and I would imagine with it being a lake rather than a reservoir it might not turn green or lose water to an irrigation project.  We checked out the nearby campground, which was incredibly tight and crowded, and completely full.  I think it might be a nice place at a different time of year, but in spite of the beautiful lake, we weren’t particular entranced and made no plans to return.  Our favorite kind of kayaking includes inlets and side streams and waterways that we can explore and this pretty blue lake seemed to have every shoreline completely visible from where we stood at the parking area.

Back to camp after our foray we had another easy supper of great food brought from home.  As evening approached the afternoon winds died down a bit and we again launched at our little beach.  This time we paddled in the opposite direction, around the small peninsula at the other end of the campground toward the Crane Prairie Resort and a full hookup RV campground.  The camp looked quite extensive through the trees, and the little store was small and tidy.  We had visited the resort the previous afternoon so had no need to get out of the boats.  When we checked it out we saw that on the door was a sign saying only 4 people at a time were allowed inside and only if they were masked. 

It was a perfect sunny warm day in a quiet campground with a great view and a sweet little beach.  Perfect kayak weather, dark night skies, and a roaring campfire and roasted marshmallows to complete the evening. We needed a good night’s rest because our adventure for the next day included an early departure with plans to kayak the beautiful Elk Lake as early in the morning as we could manage.


10-03-2015 Belfast, the Titanic, and the Devils Causeway

Ireland Day 13 and 14

Good morning.  I took a little break from the Ireland posts for a few days.  Currently in Rocky Point the skies are partly cloudy, the temperature this morning before daylight is a balmy 50 degrees F with rain coming tonight and tomorrow.  Much needed, although the timing could be a bit better.  It is Halloween, and the rain is set to begin around 5 this evening.  Bummer.Kayaking Pelican Bay (33 of 46)

Our home.  Pelican Butte reflected in Pelican Bay on a gorgeous fall afternoon.

For us, the weather has been perfect, almost. We have been moving part of our home to Mo’s apartments in town, leaving the other part here at the big house in Rocky Point.  Mo’s brothers were fabulous, Dan and his wife coming from the Portland area and Don coming from Spokane to help us do the heavy lifting.  moving with Don and Dan (1 of 19) Original plan was to simply use the pickup and trailer, but after many days of sunshine, rain was forecast for our single moving day, so we rented a U-Haul. 

don and dan don dan and dogs

moving with Don and Dan (13 of 19) Good plan!  We never could have done it otherwise, and we never could have done it without all the great help we had from Mo’s wonderful brothers, and the dogs of course.

After the move, the sun came out and we slipped out on the creek for a gorgeous fall kayak.  Kayaking Pelican Bay (2 of 46)Brother Don, who builds his own very fine wooden kayaks, was less than excited about our older kayak, since it developed a big leak in the back end, and he spent much of the trip bailing with a sponge.kayaking on Recreation Creek with Don (21 of 26)

But those are other stories to come later.  I still have a few more tales of our trip to Ireland to complete. 

Belfast continued: On Saturday morning we woke once again to impossibly good weather, with a bit of cloudiness, but no rain in sight.  We had prepared for this trip, knowing that Ireland was always rainy, knowing that we would have to deal with raincoats and umbrellas and be willing to accept that there is a price for all this green. 

Belfast from the Bus (1 of 8) Somehow God and Mother Nature smiled on us for the entire 15 days we spent in Ireland, with an unheard of two weeks without rain except for that little spitting shower we encountered at Newgrange early on in the trip.

1-10-03-2015 Belfast The day began with a bus tour of Belfast rather than a walking tour. 

1-10-03-2015 Belfast1 Since the city is not exactly charming, I didn’t mind that much, especially when we saw the graffiti, and the giant fence between a Catholic and a Protestant neighborhood to prevent them from throwing bombs at each other. 

1-10-03-2015 Belfast2 All the guides proclaimed how peaceful things were now, how wonderfully calm it was and yet the depression and sadness in the air was palpable.  I can imagine, like most big cities, there are wonderful aspects to Belfast, but we didn’t really have time to explore in depth.

Belfast Titanic (1 of 32) After our bus tour, we took in the Titanic Belfast, the world’s largest Titanic museum located at the port of Belfast where the Titanic was built. If you click on the link to the museum, you will see some rather impressive moving graphics. The videos on the website are very good, showing what I tried to manage with my phone to much less success. Belfast Titanic (12 of 32) The museum is huge and glitzy, and quite Disneyesque,  There are several floors of excellent displays relating to the design and building of the great ship, as well as its demise.  There was a cafeteria and a restaurant, a bar and a gift shop with lots of Titanic memorabilia for sale.  Belfast Titanic (21 of 32)

In spite of how well done and obviously expensive the museum was, the commercial aspect of the whole thing really bothered me.  Let’s make a bunch of money on the crash of a ship and the loss of all those lives.  It didn’t feel like a memorial, but more like a Disney ride.  Belfast Titanic (19 of 32) The museum is part of the Northern Ireland attempt to increase tourism in Belfast, which still lags far behind that of the Republic. Still, riding the little cars that followed a track through the darkness to the sounds of the rivets pounding steel was fun.  The museum does an excellent job of showing the complexity of building a great ship in the early part of the 20th century.Belfast Titanic (23 of 32)

However, we had something much more wonderful in store for us that afternoon, the finest reason of all to visit Northern Ireland, an excursion to the Giant’s Causeway on the Atrim Coast.  Just a little over an hour north of Belfast, the Causeway is a magnificent exposure of huge hexagonal basalt columns that resulted from ancient lava flows from fissures in the underlying limestone.

Belfast Devils Causeway (48 of 49) Quoting from the UNESCO website:

The Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast is a spectacular area of global geological importance on the sea coast at the edge of the Antrim plateau in Northern Ireland. The most characteristic and unique feature of the site is the exposure of some 40,000 large, regularly shaped polygonal columns of basalt in perfect horizontal sections, forming a pavement. This dramatic sight has inspired legends of giants striding over the sea to Scotland. Celebrated in the arts and in science, it has been a visitor attraction for at least 300 years and has come to be regarded as a symbol for Northern Ireland.

The property’s accessible array of curious geological exposures and polygonal columnar formations formed around 60 million years ago make it a ‘classic locality’ for the study of basaltic volcanism. The features of the Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast site and in particular the strata exposed in the cliff faces, have been key to shaping the understanding of the sequences of activity in the Earth’s geological history.

Belfast Devils Causeway (15 of 49) The visitor center was excellent, filled with fascinating displays that we chose to forego in favor of the real thing.  With just under three hours to spend, we wanted to enjoy the hiking, the views, and the geology, although I  would have  liked to see the displays if there had been time.Belfast Devils Causeway (17 of 49) Belfast Devils Causeway (27 of 49)

We had just enough time to walk the trails to the famous part of the Causeway so often pictured in photographs, with hundreds of people playing on the steps of the columns and crawling around with delight. Belfast Devils Causeway (25 of 49) It might have been nicer if not so crowded, but I guess that is also the price to pay to visit a World Heritage UNESCO site on a sunny Sunday in early October in a land where it has been raining for months.

Belfast Devils Causeway (37 of 49) Belfast Devils Causeway (38 of 49) Once we passed the most popular area, and continued along the narrow trail, the crowds thinned a bit and we had time to drink in the magnificent views of basalt flows, columns, the red interbedded laterites, and basalt chimneys.  Again, it was an exhilarating and beautiful hike, and the area is managed extremely well with the visitor center built into the side of the mountain and using renewable resources for power.

Belfast Devils Causeway (43 of 49) It was a wonderful afternoon, with the sounds of the sea and crazy wild trails to follow along the rocky coast. 

 Belfast Devils Causeway (23 of 49) Mo and I talked about this as I was writing, and for her, the Causeway was one of the highlights of visiting Ireland, and for me it is still a toss up between the Causeway and the Cliffs of Moher.  I would suggest not missing either if you choose to visit Ireland.

Note: Since I am already nearing the end of my monthly data usage allowance, with 13 days left to go, the link to the photos on SmugMug will be added to this blog at a later time.  Check back if you want to see them, or remember to go to my SmugMug photo page with the link listed in the left sidebar of the blog.

Next: Leaving Belfast, we return to Dublin, and our last day in Ireland

 

Fabulous Friends Fabulous Days Fabulous Fun

Continued from this post:

As I wrote yesterday, Jeanne (my friend from Vermont) arrived on Monday, Labor Day, a very short time after Phil and Joanne left for Eugene.  I haven’t seen Jeanne since her wedding last year, when I traveled to Vermont to participate in one of the most wonderful weddings I have ever experienced.Jeanne at Rocky Point (2 of 4)

Jeanne has many friends in Klamath Falls, and it gets pretty crazy when she visits trying to fit everyone in.  Most of her friends are high energy, very physical folks.  Big time bikers, runners, hikers, and white water boaters.  Just like Jeanne.  Thank goodness I have a couple of decades on them as an excuse for not being able to keep up, not wanting to, actually.  I’ll settle for a flat water paddle and a long walk any day!

Jeanne at Rocky Point (1 of 4) Still, Jeanne made sure she had time for us, spending a couple of days and a night in the cabin.  After a nice walk in the neighborhood, we settled in at home for some of Jeanne’s favorite ribs.  I don’t think I have made them since the last time she visited, but I am sure glad that was her request.  Got the recipe from a local Rocky Point resident famous for his cooking.  Something about a few hours braising in pineapple juice and seasonings before they go on the grill with sticky sweet gooey sauce makes them fall off the bone tender and so tasty.  Yum.

Once again we pulled out the dominoes.  Jeanne and Alan found out while visiting us a couple of years ago that our domino game was one they actually liked, but  forgot how to play it.  Alan, now her sweet husband, actually bought her a set after they left here last visit.  Hopefully this time she will remember.

Jeanne and Sue heading north toward Crystal Spring The next morning dawned the most gorgeous, smoke free, bluebird sky day we have seen in weeks.  By nine Jeanne and I were on the water, launching at Malone Spring and traveling north to Crystal Spring.  

the sandhill cranes take off for usmalone spring to crystal spring The canoe trail is within the boundary of the Upper Klamath NWR, and parallels the steep eastern flank of the Cascade Mountains.  As you can see, it winds through the marsh, with lots of meanders.  The water is crystal clear, but filled with plants and fish and birds abound. 

Rocky Point to Malone Spring In this photo, from a larger perspective, you can see the upper part of the canoe trail in relation to our place in Rocky Point, in addition to Pelican Bay where we kayaked with Phil and Joanne, and the spring run to Harriman Springs where we took Judy and Phil and Joanne as well.  It is nice to have options based on how much time we have and how many miles our guests wish to paddle.  The run with Jeanne, (and the same run later with Jimmy and Nickie) is about 8 miles round trip.

crater lake I would have loved to linger at the spring, but we had only 4 hours to make the round trip because Jeanne’s friends were picking her up for another adventure.  Hiking down to the water of Crater Lake for an icy swim and the long steep hike back up were next on the list. I begged off this one, even though invited since I wasn’t sure my recently rebuilt innards could handle the climb back up the long steep trail.

After Jeanne left, Mo and I had a day to get the new wood stove moved into the apartments, finish up a few details, and buy groceries for the next round of guests.

I was so excited to have Nickie and Jimmy (The Intrepid Decrepit Travelers) send a text message saying they were heading our way and would we be home.  I had already practiced a couple of days of food, so I just did it all again for our new company.  Good thing we all like salmon!  The End of the Day (3 of 7)

They arrived on Thursday afternoon, and didn’t take long to arrange Tergel in the shop driveway, get her leveled with the slides out and join us for more make it yourself wraps and fruit.  I have found this to be a great way to do lunch for a bunch, laying out spreads, hummus, cheeses, veggies and several kinds of tortillas for everyone to put together their favorite.  Takes a lot of the pressure off!  

Mo took a break from our guests to try to catch up on getting the lawns mowed while the three of us took Mattie for a nice long walk along Rocky Point road while we chatted and got caught up on all the recent doings.  I was really impressed with Jimmy’s recovery and his strength walking after such recent knee surgery.  Way to go, Jimmy!

We had so much fun with dinner and conversation I completely forgot to take photos.  Guess that is a good sign. 

The next morning we were again up early to get out on the creek before the warm temperatures took over.  Sadly, the bluebird skies had disappeared and smoke from the California fires was once again muting the horizon and the distant mountains.Nickie and Jimmy on Recreation Creek (1 of 1)

Still it was beautiful out on the water.  Jimmy and Nickie have a tandem Sea Eagle, but opted instead to try our hard side boats.  It was just at the point of being a bit too long, but everyone did fine and instead of having to rush off when we reached Crystal Spring, we had the luxury of lolling around above the beautiful springs before taking our time going back downriver.

Nickie wants a photo of the wocus (1 of 3) The current is almost negligible, just enough to feel it a bit as you are paddling upstream, but not enough to really get you moving downstream.  Nature was good to us on this day because the afternoon winds never appeared.  Good thing there isn’t much current!  Mattie is new to kayaking, and this was only her third time out.  She is just a bit nervous.  For who knows what reason, she decided to jump right out of the boat into the water.  It was COLD, and I think she was quite happy that Mo was able to haul her back in within seconds.  She didn’t try it again.

at Crystal Spring (1 of 1) While floating around the spring, my phone rang.  What??  I didn’t even remember that it was on and certainly didn’t expect to have a signal. Sure enough my friend Marti, from Idaho, was calling trying to figure out how to get to Rocky Point.  I told her we would be there in a couple of hours and that hopefully she could relax on the porch till we arrived.

The End of the Day (2 of 7) When we got home, Marti was waiting patiently enjoying a book and the shady porch with her dog, Rueben.  Rueben was a very excitable dog, and we had no idea how he and Mattie would get along, but they were just fine, if a tad rambunctious. I offered the cabin to Marti and Rueben, and Jimmy and Nickie decided it was nap time in Tergel!

Understand, Marti is a river rat from way back, guiding on the Rogue River in years past, and running the Grand Canyon and so many others I have no idea about.  Still, I had offered to take her out in our lake kayaks, but after so many trips I felt a bit worn out.  The look of disappointment in Marti’s eyes when I started to beg off another kayak trip was enough to get me back in my boat once again that day for a second paddle down to Harriman Spring.

Marti on Pelican Bay (6 of 10) I got a good deal of paddling in during that week, for sure, and I loved it.

We had planned to go out to supper, down the road once again to the local resort, but everyone was so relaxed, and there was so much food left over that we decided to eat at home.  I marinated and broiled some chicken and made another fresh salad to go with all the rest of the goodies.  We feasted, laughed and talked until everyone just plumb gave out and meandered off to bed.

Saturday morning dawned smoky and warm, and I think Nickie and Jimmy were not happy about having to return to Nevada City and the huge Butte Fire smoke that was affecting their area.  Still, everyone was up early, sharing coffee and fruit before they buttoned up Tergel,  hooked up Smartie and headed down the road toward California and Marti continued her Oregon travels heading toward the coast.  The End of the Day (7 of 7)

This last photo might just give an idea of how much fun we have with these great friends of ours that we never would have known if not for RVing and blogging about it.

I think this may have been the busiest week I have experienced with company since my family reunion back in 2007.  It was so much fun to see everyone, but I must say next time I hope all our visitors won’t have to schedule during the same week.

 

September Transitions, and some Fabulous Visits from Fabulous Folks

Current Location: Rocky Point, Oregon with blue bird skies and  41 Degrees F at 10AM

Deer in the yardDeer in the back yard here in Rocky Point.  Good thing I have a deer repellent that works.

It has been an interesting year for me.  A time of decisions, transitions, changes, and progress.  When my birthday rolls around, I like to take a few moments to re-evaluate.  Turning 70 is a milestone, one that seemed an anti-climax after thinking I was “almost” 70 for so long that when it happened, it didn’t seem all that different.

IMG_5100I had a great birthday, made more so my social media, Facebook of all things.  I love getting birthday cards, but the plethora of greetings that come my way from all over the country and even far parts of the world really add a celebratory air to the day, even one spent doing errands.  Of course, the errands in town were topped by a celebratory cocktail at the luxe Basin Martini Bar right in Klamath Falls, and tasty tapas for supper.  Lots of cards, fabulous presents, phone calls, a wonderful day.  Lucky me.IMG_5090

More is on the agenda in the coming two weeks, but that story will come later.  For now, my big job is to try to track what has happened and where we have been during the last few weeks since I last had time to write. Thank goodness for calendars and photos, or I wouldn’t have a clue where to start.

After our visit with Judy early in August, we spent much of the month working in earnest at the apartments and in Grants Pass.  It seemed as though every day we were driving one place or the other with tight schedules, deadlines, meeting contractors and realtors. 

The realtor part was a bit tiresome, because in spite of the fact that I sold my house on Painter in 11 days, the closing hasn’t been so timely.  Once again we were delayed by the big California lender, with more requests showing up even after I had signed my part of the closing.  After the last snafu, where we all decided to start over with a new lender and a closing date in December, some details shifted, and once again closing is imminent.  We will see.Getting close to being done (16 of 35)

Getting close to being done (23 of 35) The rest of the projects were incredibly successful.  The apartment painting project is at last completed, and looks great.  Did the final walk around this week with our contractor, who does great work if always a bit behind schedule.  The flooring project was completed through Home Depot, a process that entailed repeated trips to the store in town, myriad phone calls between shippers, installers, coordinator, schedulers and such.  What a process!  Still, the contractor also did a great job and we love the results. 

IMG_5060 The apartment is at last completed and ready for us to begin moving in some of our furniture.  We have tentatively planned to have it habitable by November. 

flooring carpet and divider in apt a (1)love love love the weather maple laminate flooring The Grants Pass cottage was also part of our projects.  With the high heat and low water well numbers, we make it a point to return at least every week or ten days to spend 2 or 3 nights there.  My biggest job is moving the single water hose, attempting to keep the few plants alive and healthy.  The grass is doing fine with the daily watering at 2GPM that I have set up on a timer.

walnuts, plums, and pears (31 of 36)  Exciting forthcoming project for the cottage is the installation of a new water holding cistern, scheduled in mid October.  Once that is completed, we will be able to set up timers and sprinklers for more areas on the property without worrying about running the well dry.  Grants Pass water is notorious for salts and iron, but we won’t bother setting up filtration systems until we have a new house to protect once we move there for good.

1-cottage acre  (7 of 12)-001 In the mean time, Mo is working on all sorts of projects, including clearing out the main part of the old building she plans to use as a workshop.   She tore out the old windows to make more storage space, re-worked and removed a bunch of old cabinets to build a workbench, and managed to install a nice window air conditioner that Melody gave to us when she moved out of the Painter Street house.  Yay!   

walnuts, plums, and pears (1 of 36)walnuts, plums, and pears (10 of 36)walnuts, plums, and pears (33 of 36) On an earlier visit we cleared out all the old stacked carpets in the mud room, cleaned up and painted it, and Mo fashioned new frames for the door and window from some old wood she had on hand.  Looks great.  Every project we do at the cottage must be tested against our willingness to see it come crashing down when it is time to raze the cottage and build the new house.

Mo redid the window trim in the mud room Lots of wood working stuff over there to keep Mo happy for years to come!

I haven’t quilted a thing.  The sewing machine managed to come out for a few days while I worked on my first quilted clothing project, a jacket I plan to use for traveling.  It was so much fun, but oh my, don’t let anyone look at it too closely.  So many mistakes, and I learned so very much about what NOT to do when making a quilted jacket.  Photos of this little project will probably show up in the next posts which will be sometime after early October. 

MoHo traveling has been on hold as well, with our last trip to Waldo Lake the last time we tucked away in our cozy rolling home.  Both of us are getting serious hitch-itch, day dreaming about the time when we will get that baby rolling again for something longer than the trip back and forth to Grants Pass now and then.

Family Sunday (41 of 99) With all the work we were doing, Mo and I still managed some fun times during August.  Melody and her clan, along with the new guy in her life came out for a great family day/BBQ with us and we laughed ourselves silly playing Bocci ball on the very sloping lawn.Family Sunday (97 of 99)Family Sunday (85 of 99) Mo and I took a break to chase down the SuperMoon rising over the boat launch in Rocky Point, a quiet and lovely moment in the midst of all the busy days.Waiting for the Supermoon at Rocky PointSupermoon over Pelican Bay at Rocky Point

I spent a lot of time walking Mattie, who seems to think that our long walks are the perfect time to find the biggest thing possible to carry home.  She carried this bone for more than 3 miles, and it was worth it, because I think two weeks later there are still remnants of it lying around the house.

IMG_5079 Daughter Melody is one of the lead stars in the play Chicago, put on by our Klamath Falls Linkville Theater.  I have tickets for the closing show in October, but decided that I had to see it before then, so I’ll be in the audience tonight, in the front row.  I have heard my daughter sing “All That Jazz” for years, but never starring as Velma on the stage.  I am thrilled!

Chicago 2 As the month of September continued, however, all work stopped.  For some reason, all our friends who had promised visits seemed to converge at once on Rocky Point in the first week of September.  We knew Phil and Joanne were coming, and I had scheduled Jeanne’s visit for months.  But suddenly Jimmy and Nickie were heading our way and I was not about to miss time with them.  To add to the fun, an old friend from my working days in the 80’s in Idaho retired, and called to say she would like to stop in and say Hi.  I hadn’t seen Marti in 40 years maybe? so of course I wasn’t going to say no. 

Scheduling all worked out perfectly, in the long run, with one set of folks replaced by another set within hours, and sometimes overlapping. 

Badger Lake Hike with the Hartwigs (17 of 36) First to join us were Phil and Joanne from Eugene.  Our history goes way way back, to 1977, with some gaps in between, but you know how that can be with old friends.  They came down on Labor Day weekend, and settled into the cabin before we had a make it yourself lunch of vegetarian wraps and fruit. 

Badger Lake Hike with the Hartwigs (6 of 36) Our destination that first afternoon was a six mile round trip hike on the southeast side of Fourmile Lake, just west of Rocky Point near the Cascade crest and into the Sky Lakes Wilderness. We had a wonderful time on a lovely hike that meandered around Fourmile Lake with views of Mt McLoughlin, and a final destination of Badger Lake. 

Badger Lake Hike with the Hartwigs (35 of 36) We earned our supper, and enjoyed the planked salmon, zuchinni rice ( a new recipe I love with shredded uncooked zukes added to hot rice, corn, black beans, and peppers), cole slaw from an ancient recipe Joanne remembers from the 80s, and my favorite dessert to make, a French Apple Gallette.   

The next day was supposed to be hot, so we planned to get out on the water early.  Phillip is a great cook, and I remember the days when we shared working weeks at the Forest Service work center and Phil would make huge breakfasts, eating three times what I ate and staying skinny forever.  He is still pretty darn slim, but maybe the marathons have something to do with it.Hartwig making eggs before we left (1 of 1)

I made the potatoes but Phil scrambled the eggs with leftover salmon, cilantro and who knows what else.  They were so good and I don’t even like eggs.

Phil and Joanne on Pelican Bay (1 of 1) We decided to kayak from the main dock in Rocky Point, traveling southward toward Harriman Springs so that they could get used to paddling on flat water and not be out too terribly long. 

We were treated to lots of pelicans and smooth silky water and Joanne, unused to all that shoulder work, did just fine.  As often happens when we introduce folks to paddling, by the time we were done they were asking about kayaks.  Of course, Joanne is hoping for a tandem kayak so she can ride in the back and Phil won’t know when she isn’t paddling.

Melody and Robert drove out from Klamath Falls just in time to see Phil and Joanne and take a little paddle of their own on the bay.  Joanne and Melody figured out that they hadn’t seen each other since Melody was just 16!

Robert and Melody kayaking Pelican Bay (1 of 1)

That evening we decided to try out the Harriman Resort for dinner.  The resort is still trying to get it’s sea legs and still doesn’t have a liquor license.  Instead we shared a great bottle of wine before we left, and trundled down the few hundred yards to the restaurant.Pelicans on Pelican Bay (1 of 1) Pelicans on Pelican Bay (1 of 1)-6

It was an interesting experience.  The restaurant is beautiful, and we all ordered halibut, which was quite tasty.  However, Phil and Joanne are fish only people and the garlic mashed potatoes came smothered in a rich, dark beef gravy!!  Now what chef puts beef gravy on a fish plate!  The waitress was quick and accommodating and the offending gravy was gone when the fresh plates were quickly replaced.

We rounded out the evening with our favorite Racehorse dominoes before everyone crashed happy, tired and satiated from too much food and laughter.

I think I’ll continue the rest of the story in the next blog since this just keeps on going and I want to share all the photos. 

Next: Jeanne arrives from Vermont and Nickie and Jimmy arrive from points north