Tent camping at Medicine Lake

Written in April of 2011.
P1010061 Mo and I have been camping at Medicine Lake, located just a bit south of the California border, for several years now, and this story is about the first time we traveled there together in 2003.  In those days I didn’t have a blog, and would try to keep track of our shared travels in a thick red leather journal.  At the time, I was still working soil survey in Klamath Falls and lived up on Pacific Terrace in town.  Mo lived in Rocky Point, and we had only known each other for a few months when we embarked on this trip.
P1010002 We left for Medicine Lake from my house around 4 in the afternoon.  It is only about 2 hours from Klamath Falls to the campground, so we knew we could get settled in before evening.  Mo pulled the sailboat with her Chevy van, but had a little bit of trouble with the hitch because it was too high to track properly until we added all the weight of our camping gear to the sailboat.  We drove south to Tulelake and then west up the hill to the lakeside campground.  We immediately found a great site on the north side of the lake on a rocky promontory by the water.  It didn’t take long at all to set up our big tent and cook a great supper.  The campsite wasn’t big enough to store the boat, so we parked it in the lot down by the boat launch about half a mile away on the east side of the lake.
P1010009 Friday morning we woke to a brilliant, sunny sky, but the wind was blowing too hard for sailing so we decided to go hiking instead.  We drove south to the lava caves and tubes, walked the obsidian flows, and explored Glass Mountain where we found some huge chunks of snowflake obsidian.  In the afternoon we drove the narrow dirt road up to the Hoffman Mountain Lookout with views in all four directions, with Mt Shasta to the west, and Klamath Falls in the northern distance.  We saw the beginnings of a large forest fire that we learned later started that afternoon at Hagelstien Park north of the Klamath Lake.  Our evening was topped off by a nice supper cooked over a lovely campfire and sleeping to the sound of the wind outside the tent.


P1010045P1010056 On Saturday, we got up to another perfect sunny day and drove to the caldera rim for another long hike on the obsidian flows.  Finally by afternoon the winds died down to reasonable breezes and we launched the sailboat.  We were the only boat on the lake and the winds were perfect for practicing our come-abouts. We laughed a lot on this day about our morning plans, with Mo saying, “Well, first we can eat breakfast, then we’ll do something, then we’ll eat, and then do something, then we can come back and eat”. In the late afternoon we took off exploring again with the boat in tow behind the van and laughed a lot about how funny that must have looked to the few people we passed on the high narrow dirt roads miles away from any kind of water.
P1010035 Sunday morning after our campfire breakfast we went for a little hike to a tiny hidden lake where Molly could swim and followed the trails back around the lake to our campsite.  We packed up camp about mid day and traveled home by way of Mt Shasta and the tiny logging town of Bray along Highway 97, with it’s little matching houses lined up in cute little rows.  Back in Klamath we stopped in to Old Town Pizza for supper.  Mo dropped me off at home before she headed back to Rocky Point. 

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Our first camping trip together was a complete success, and a whole lot of fun.

Caesar laid to rest on Frog Day at Hauser Lake

from the past:Sweet Caesar, my old cat, was laid to rest yesterday. The vet came to my house and put him gently to sleep while I held him in my arms. The neighbor kids came last night and brought some flowers for his grave. He is buried behind the bench that Bel made for our garden. I couldn’t sit on that bench for a moment, and he would be there, purring loudly, wanting to be in my lap, but content if I only wanted him beside me.


He represents unconditional love to me, total commitment, he was always there, beside me in the bed, always choosing to be in whatever space I was in at the moment. Except the car, perhaps, which he hated. Which is why is insisted that the vet come to my house. No more car rides, Caesar, no more trips to the vet.
I know you are beside me in spirit, as always.

at Hauser 2001

There is a very special day here on the lake…I call it “Frog Day”. It happens every spring, usually around mid-March, but this year I kept listening for them and they didn’t come. On this very wondrous day, the sun comes out and everything smells different, it is warm and the night is slow in coming for a change. The earth smells like damp moss and dirt and all things magic going on unseen. Then, late in the evening, after it is dark, I hear the frogs. The lake has finally melted and warmed enough that they are awake.  It is a sound like childhood, or neighborhoods never lived in but remembered, a sound of new beginnings and summers to come.  It is as reassuring as the sun rising every morning when it comes.  Las night, sitting on the bench Bel made by Caesar’s grave, I heard the frogs.  It was Frog Day.