Sunday, July 31, 2011

Camping

Lava flow, on the cut off highway from 58 to 97. Highway 58 runs from just south of Eugene east past Oakridge, up to the Cascade crest and Willamette Pass, then down to join highway 97, a north south corridor east of the Cascades. However, you can take a cut off road just past Crescent Lake north and east to hit 97 further north. The Cascades Lake Highway also takes off from this cut off road.
Beyond the Cascades is Oregon's high desert region.
More scenery.
Lava off the cut off highway.
View of the obsidian flow from Paulina Peak, with a Pumice field above it.
My brother, at the obsidian flow. There is a metal staircase that leads up into it.
Black shiny obsidian, which is glass rock.
View from Paulina Peak.
Paulina Lake as seen from Paulina Peak.
Mt. Bathelor and the Three Sisters, in the Cascades, from Paulina Peak.
The Three Sisters Mountains, Faith, Hope and Charity, from Paulina Peak. Many novice climbs go up the south sister. I believe that one is "Faith".
Flowers on Paulina Peak.
East Lake from Paulina Peak.
From Paulina Peak.

From Paulina Peak.Both our tents.
This is my tent. The Neuterscooter vet left this for me a few years ago.
Cooking bisquits on the fire with a home made oven.
Campfire in foreground, stove with coffee pot perking coffee in background.

Before my brother arrived, I set up my sterno stove and made some hot chocolate, then supper.
Ant hill. There were about six very very active ant hills in our camp site. We tried not to step on them and just leave them alone, so they would leave us alone.
My brother clowning with the ax.
Cooking breakfast.
My brother's test.
My brother's tent and chair.

I went camping.

I lacked nothing in enthusiasm. But my planning? That left a lot to be desired.

Advice for me, if I camp again, and for anyone reading, who might be considering a camp trip: know your campground sites.

I waited too long to make reservations for mid week. Then my brother said he wanted to go, so I switched my two nights to the weekend. By this time, there were almost no reservation sites left, at my chosen destination, the Newberry Volcanic Monument, over south of Bend.

It sounded so interesting, to camp at a lake in an active volcanic crater. I'd never been there and had read something about it in the local paper. I thought to myself, "I better see that some day." In reality, it wasn't that interesting.

My brother made reservations. I paid for one night, he the other. Get ready to shell out bucks if you want to camp legally. I had no idea the price had gone up drastically.

$33 per night, for the both of us, since we had two vehicles. That's an unimproved site, no electric, no water. You get: metal fire pit, picnic table, access to a pit toilet and a flush toilet. In the case of site number 3, at East Lake, far from the lake, the picnic table was on a slope as was the entire site.

I arrived Friday afternoon. There's no cell reception up there and it's a really long drive. I was happy to be out and away. Very very happy.

I was disappointed in the site, but oh well, that's what you get when you wait til last minute now, with camping so popular. The site was sloped. There was no where flat for a tent, let alone two tents. I found the least sloped place and pitched my tent and put up my canopy.

I walked down to the lake then. The lake is beautiful, hot spring fed. The beach extends at least halfway around the lake, which is highly popular with fishermen.

I waded in, with my boogie board, as my form of float or boat. I got it at Value Village, was, at one time, going to try to construct some sort of a home made boat out of such objects, never got around to it.

I swam for about twenty minutes. I hit weed. That was not a lake where I would expect to have weed growing up from the bottom, tickling my legs. I find lake weed slimy and disgusting.

I turned around after hitting weed and swam back to shore. I dried out on the coarse sand beach and went back to camp to await my brother's arrival. He had said he'd get there around 7:00p.m. He had the stove and the wood.

You're not supposed to bring wood, something about transporting pests. I think though it has more to do with the scam going on. With my brother so late, and me cold from swimming and the sun gone down, I gave in and bought wood off the camp managers. What a scam. A little tiny plastic wrapped bundle of wood that's mostly bark for $6!!!!

I started a fire, but the wood was hissing wet, a further grit your teeth scam. Fortunately my brother arrived about 9:30 p.m. I think, and had dry wood with him.

He was worn out from the long drive but we pitched his tent too and started a real fire with dry wood, before finally going to bed.

Then began a night of sliding (tent surfing). I repeatedly ended up in a ball at the down side end of my tent. My brother was experiencing the same troubles. I didn't get much sleep. You could have rolled down the slope inside the tent. My brother's tent looked like it was about to roll on its own by this morning.

Site number three should not be rented as a tent site. It was not just the slope, but also the numerous ant hills. We did find two places to pitch our tents that would not cover an ant hill, and then piss off its residents.

Last night I tried piling stuff at the down slope side of my tent to prevent slidage of myself in the slick sleeping bag on the slick tent floor. I thought about harnessing myself to two upslope trees for the night.

I should have worn stick on skid preventers!

The other issue with the site was the location at near the entrace of a 100 plus camp site. Traffic! It was nonstop by our site, like being on a busy street.

Now I realize getting a site that is as far into the campground as possible would have been wise, so you would not experience such high traffic, but once again, when you're doing things last minute, on a weekend, you take what you can get.

We had to prop things level, like the stove, on the picnic table, too.

Neither of us got much sleep due to the sliding slippery slope we were surfing for the night in each of our respective tents.

Saturday, we grogged around, made some good camp food and coffee, and drove off to see the Newberry Monument sites. This included a drive up to Newberry Peak. The road was long, steep, not well-maintained, gravel with nonstop washboards!!! Teeth and body jarring!

There were people both hiking and biking up that steep peak, which smothered me in guilt. Briefly. Because they looked like they were suffering severely.

At the top, there was quite a view. A young ranger, from SoCal, who got the job as an intern (unpaid position I think--good for taxpayers!) was answering questions about mountain peaks in the distance and talking about how the area has recently seen fairly shallow underground temperature increases, indicating volcanic activity.

There are two lakes in the crater, Paulina and East Lake. There are small resorts on both and the forest service campgrounds, like the one we stayed in over at East Lake. The main attractions are fishing and hiking the crater trail, along with viewing the obsidian fields or just camping.

Then we went down and walked the couple hundred feet to Newberry Creek Falls, which was unspectacular if you've been around Oregon much. Oregon has tons of far superior water falls. We left there and pulled in at the obsidian fields. We had to pay to park there. We had to purchase the day use area pass, which is $5 per vehicle. There's a lot of paying out now, compared to what used to be, to go camping.

We weren't there long. By afternoon, rain showers pelted the camp. My brother muttered "The curse continues." When we were young, we went camping all the time but every time we went, it seemed to rain. The rain clouds following our family camp trips became legendary, so that other people planned camping trips on weekends when we were not going.

This morning, we packed up and were gone by 11:30. My brother had to get home.

There was a pit toilet only two campsites from ours. About four campsites down there was a single occupant restroom with a single flush toilet which was like luxury, in a campground. It was not very used. Nowadays, tent campers are the rarity and this campground this last weekend was no exception. The majority of campers still came with campers, trailers or RV's, pulling boats, or loaded down with bikes and kayaks. If you are then a tent camper, there are no lines at the pit toilets, that's for sure.

I'd like to own a bike again, I sometimes think, but I don't like to bike in Albany. I don't think it's safe or even pleasant or practical. I will watch for a cheap bike, that fits my height and neck problem. I used to love riding my bike, before my neck injury. I can't lean over handlebars with my head cocked slightly backwards and up, like you have to do on most bikes. That position doesn't fly with my neck problem. Then I'd need some way to carry it in my car, which then starts me into a spiral of add ons. I'm not much into owning lots of things. Not really. Not things I rarely use.

I start thinking I'd sure like a kayak, but how often would I end up using it if I could scrounge up bucks to buy one, I think to myself and just maybe my little thrift store boogie board is fine enough. Those rigs loaded down made me grateful for that little foam boogie board, so simple to throw in, no big investment to buy, just a few bucks, no crying if its lost or damaged.

I guess it's one of those things. I would not recommend this trip or that camp site to anyone but neither do I regret going.

I do wish I'd remembered to pack a long sleeve shirt and some silver ware. But I survived without either.

There were many great sites at the Cinder Hill campground on East Lake that are flat (tent suitable) and just off the lake shore that would have been great. Also, if you want to enjoy this campground, take a boat, even if it's a raft, and your own wood. The lake is beautiful. The stars are magnificent from the darkness and altitude of the mountains.

Despite the bad site, I had great fun, just getting dirty, making camp food, staring into the black sky and it's plethora of stars from the lake shore at night and sleeping in a slipping sliding sleeping bag in a tent on a slope!

Did I mention one of the biggest pluses of the trip: NO PHONE OR TV!

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