Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Elk Sighting!

On Monday, when we left Sutherlin, we took a nice scenic drive over to the coast through more forest, mountains, and followed the Umpqua River to Reedsport .  Four years ago, we stopped at a large Elk viewing area along the highway about half way between Sutherlin and Reedsport.  We saw a couple of Elk that time, but this time the whole herd was out! There is a nice parking area with plenty of room for big rigs.  There is a sidewalk along side the open meadow that goes down to a wooden deck viewing point.  What a treat to see so many Elk at one time.  Of course, I was just clicking away with the camera to get our Elk fix! 

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Stop in Sutherlin, OR at an Escapee Park

This is our second visit to this park after 10 years.  We arrived Friday after a beautiful drive through the mountains and followed the river.  Then we took another back road through open brown grassy hills, and ranches in the country.  It was not the best choice.  The road was narrow, very hilly with lots of ups and downs, plus was on the edge of the hills with no shoulders and no guardrails.  Boy, was I glad I was on the inside lane!! 

We basically stopped at the Timber Valley Escapee RV Park in Sutherlin, OR, to get us through the weekend, since state and national parks, especially those along the Oregon coast, fill up on weekends.  The town of Sutherlin is very small and very run  down, so lots of folks go 10 miles south down the interstate to the larger, town of Roseburg, where there is much better shopping, Super Wal-Mart, and restaurants.  This is a nice quiet park and we had a wonderful site in the back corner under the trees.  We felt like we were back at Diamond Lake! It has turned warm again but we still managed to walk a bit.  Last night, as I was walking, I saw deer, jackrabbits, and wild turkeys.  I just barely got a glimpse of the deer as she headed back into the woods.  In the morning, we head to the coast and are looking forward to that drive again.  I think this will be the third time we have taken that drive.

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Great Bike Ride Around Diamond Lake-11 Miles & More Chipmunks

July 23rd, while still camped at Diamond Lake, it rained all day.  As dry as it has been this year, it was really needed.  It did clear up enough for us to have a campfire.  We like camping in the woods once in a while to get back to the idea of really camping.  We were surprised that they allowed fires.  I bought a bundle and then a neighbor left some wood behind and told us to help ourselves.  So we did!  When in the woods, it just calls for a campfire!  It got cold and down to 37 degrees that night! This is July and that cold?!?

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Then on Thursday, we woke up to a clear blue sky and took our bike ride around Diamond Lake.  We picked up the bike path just across the street from the campground.  What a great view of Diamond Lake!

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  It was nice and cool at 57 degrees, with blue sky, and cool breeze.  What a fantastic day for a bike ride!  The path was paved the entire distance around the lake.  The first half of the path took us through the woods and around the mountain.  It was so pretty back under the trees.  We met a couple of other great couples and would talk when we caught up with each other.  This part of the ride was up and down right many hills.  Not having ridden in a while, we both got off and walked our bikes going UP!!  I like the spots where you coast down!

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This little guy was NOT happy and fussed at us as we rode by HIS tree and log.

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The 2nd half of the path took us down by the water and followed it all the way back to the campground.  Along the way was an open area for fishing accessible by the road that goes around the lake.  It was a nice spot for a break with new biking friends and gave us views of Mt. Theilson from across the lake.  We took a nice LONG break!  This is also where a stranger asked which direction we came from.  When I told him, he said we did good because the entire path is 11 miles!   And we thought we were just going for a 3-4 mile ride!  Well, we were already just beyond half way, so no choice but to peddle on!  Of course, we took more and more breaks!  The cloud cover moved in so we are coming back by truck later to see if we can get a nice shot of Mt. Theilson.  The same stop gave us still more pretty views of Diamond Lake in the 3rd picture.  What a spot to go fishing!

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We made it! We couldn’t believe we had ridden 11 miles!  We were proud of ourselves for 2 ole folks our age!  We were sore and tired and needed to refuel so we figured pizza and ice cream at the little place at the end of the path on the water would do the trick!  It did!  Yes, we were bad, but the pizza was some of the best we have ever had, and the ice cream was delicious.  We then dragged our bikes up the hill on the path through the woods to the campground as a short cut rather than go all the way to the entrance and up more inclines.  We then got in the truck and drove back a few miles to the fishing spot to get a better shot of Mt. Theilson,  which you can also see in the distance from Crater Lake.  I was able to get a nice shot. 

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Alright, day 3 and I just know my little friends are waiting for more peanuts!  I was right and the little one in the pictures had her nest on our site and by now was tame enough to eat right on my lap.  What fun I had with her!  So between her and the other squirrels and chipmunks, I went through 3 bags of peanuts in 3 days!  I let her help herself to the bag while we hooked up the next morning to leave!  I am going to miss her!

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We had another campfire our last night and roasted hot dogs for dinner.  A fire just demands the obligatory roasted hot dog!  Umm… Always good! Reminds us of early camping days as kids.  Another RVing couple pulled in next to us and were really nice.  Funny, they live in Sutherlin, just 2 miles from our next RV park.  But we leave on Monday and they return on Monday.  We invited them to share our campfire and enjoyed talking with them, a great way to end our Crater Lake visit.  

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Revisiting Crater Lake

Yesterday, we drove to Crater Lake National Park, about 10 miles away.  The road to the park is lined with thick growth of Lodge Pole Pines.  When were here on June 24, 2004 (my birthday), Doug took my picture along the side of the road and the snow was a couple of feet plus over my head!  No snow left this year.   So with the heavy snow in 2004, we only got to drive about one third of the rim road and our goal was to drive the entire rim road this trip.  

We started the drive around the rim going counter-clockwise.  Being afraid of heights, I soon realized that was the WRONG choice!  The right lane was on the side away from the rim so it was built on the side of the mountains.  Steep drop offs and NO shoulder made me far too uncomfortable.  So Doug said we would turn around at the rim village and go clock-wise so I am not on the edge.  Whew, I felt much better!  There were still just a few turns that had me back on the edge but not like before.  We also noticed several rock slides that had occurred and been cleared off the road.  The rim drive is 33 miles around.  There were just a few small patches of snow left here and there.  But I do have a photo from 2004 when there was still plenty of snow and it made the blue lake look so beautiful against a cloudless sky.  I sure miss that view this time.  But like elsewhere, the snow just wasn’t heavy this year, there is usually 500”+ annually.   The rim drive winds around through the mountains and Lodge Pole Pines with overlooks.  You can see views of distant mountains and Diamond Lake, where the RV park is.   

Crater Lake is a maximum of 6.02 miles across and minimum of 4.54 miles across.  It is 1,943’ deep at the deepest point and holds 4.9 trillion gallons of water.  The tallest point on the rim is 1, 978’ above the lake.  This volcanic basin is at the top of Mt. Mazama, built from volcanic eruptions for 400,000 years.  It reached 12,000’ when it became most violent 7,700 years ago.  As magma chambers emptied, the mountain just could not support its own weight and collapsed forming the basin.  The basin is filled with rain and snowfall. 

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Pictures don’t do justice to the beautiful color of the water.  Below is the mysterious island called the “Phantom Ship”.  You can see people in the boat taking a tour of the lake.  You can also get on and off the boat on the larger island in the upper picture.  The boat tour requires climbing down 200 steps and the same back up.  It is very steep and strenuous, but we won’t be doing that. 

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The rim drive was just a pleasant drive and we got to see other views of Crater Lake. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Diamond Lake Campground Near Crater Lake

What a nice early morning farewell view of Mt. Shasta.  It gave us a chance to see the other side as we drove a route different from the interstate.  It was a nice change to see more rural country with small very rustic towns, forest and mountains, valley agriculture, follow the road along Klamath lake , and wind up back in the mountains and trees.  We noticed a great deal of logging going on.  The big log trucks were all up and down the highway.  It was a relaxing 4 hour ride to our next destination. 

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We are camped at Diamond Lake  RV Park.  We will be here from the 21st and leave the 25th.  We stayed here in June of 2004 and liked camping in the woods.  It is a big park and looks like they have made several upgrades.  However, many of the sites are very close together and we barely got our truck parked on our site in order to leave room for our neighbor’s truck.   We have full hookups and can have a campfire so our wood is chopped and ready to go.  Oops..a small thunderstorm rolled through so we will have to see if it passes in time to have a night fire.   The park is right across the street from Diamond Lake.  It is a small lake at the bottom of a mountain.  There is a bike path all the way around the lake so we hope to take the trail again as we did in 2004. 

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I was excited to stay at this park because 10 years ago I spent many hours feeding the ground squirrels and chipmunks.  I sat out in the lounge chair and they would run up my leg for a peanut.  If I wasn’t fast enough, they would just run up my arm, pull the bag down, and help themselves!  So I stocked up on peanuts the last few weeks because I knew what I would be doing with them!   Sure enough, camera in hand, I started feeding them as soon as we got set up.  It wasn’t long, like before, and they were eating out of my hand.  So cute and I have such fun with them! 

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Of Course day 2 was more of the same!

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Mt. Shasta Revisit and Waterfalls

Yesterday, before driving up to Mt. Shasta, we drove about 5 miles from the campground to see some waterfalls.  Not large ones by any means, but just pretty tucked in the forest.  There were 3 falls and each had its own parking and overlooks.  Two of them were indeed “watering holes”.  The first picture shows people swimming in the water above the falls.  There wasn’t a way back up from the bottom of the lower falls.  You could either hike or drive to the middle and upper falls.  The upper falls in the 3rd picture had a real nice swimming area at the base and people were taking full advantage.  Such a pretty setting.    

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Then it was a 20 mile drive to explore the upper part of Mt. Shasta. The road wound through the forest and around the mountain.  It was a beautiful sky that gave a great backdrop for my pictures.   There are two major view points and this was the first one.  This was as far as we went in 2004 at the end of June because the rest of the road higher had not been cleared of snow.  No problem this year with the drought.   Plus, my furry little friend stopped by for a piece of cracker.  He was used to people because all I had to do was rattle the paper and there he was.

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It was cooler at the top with a nice breeze.  Several hikers were using the trails from that area.  Can you spot our truck in the picture?  Doug drove just a short way to the very end of the road.  What a nice pretty drive.  The mountain sure looks different at the top than what you see from the distance down below.  I think the south slope is the most photogenic.  

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The last stop was at Lake Siskiyou.  We wanted a view across the lake similar to the view in the postcard with the snow.  A great view!  Would have been better with snow but nice all the same.  The beach area was a zoo!  It is very popular for camping, swimming and boating.  People were parked in any bit of space that a car would fit in, and that was outside the full parking lots.  We drove through the campground and are so glad it was full when we called. The sites would have been very hard to get into and the road was too narrow.  It wasn’t a very nice looking campground either.   We didn’t park.  Doug just dropped me off long enough to get some pictures.  I cloned out the people because I like nice clean pictures and wanted to remember the view in a more pleasant way.    

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Next stop is Crater Lake.