Thursday, June 15, 2017

Ridiculous Road Trip #1, Part 15 - Newberry, Bend

June 1
On our way to Bend, OR, we stopped at the Newberry National Volcanic Monument. When we stopped in at the visitor center, Doug decided to ask the rangers the all important question that he had been torturing me with for more than a week. "Why pine cones? What is the evolutionary benefit to pine cones?" They gave a variety of the same reasons that I'd been giving, but Doug was not satisfied. It was awesome. 

Then we hiked a mile and a half up the 8% grade to the caldera of the volcano. 


And we rescued a frog from the exhibit space. 


After our hike back down the hill, we drove a little further to uncollapsed lava tube. And we scrambled and tripped for a mile to the end by the light of our headlamps. 

Then we headed into Bend. We found a great roadside produce stand where we bought a crazy amount of fresh fruit and veg. Then we snagged one of the very last campsites at Tumalo State Park. And we revelled in our first real hot showers in 10 days. 

Ridiculous Road Trip #1, Part 14 - Klamath, Crater Lake

May 30
Our campground was was just a 45 minute drive from Crater Lake National Park, so we headed there in the morning. 

The snow we had seen in Tahoe NF paled in comparison to the 15 foot piles of snow at the Crater Lake Visitors Center.


We drove up as far as the roads were plowed and did a quick walk along the rim above the lake, with me squealing as the snow found its way into my sandals to my bare feet.

Doug did a little climbing to make his mark on the wall of snow. 

He got most of his name there before he slid down. :)

We were amused by the "Please keep off the roof" sign

Then we headed back down out of winter and into spring. We did a quick hike at Wood River. 

On our way back home, we stopped at the logging museum across the road from our campground. 


We had some extra days in our schedule so we decided to stay near Klamath for one more day. It's possible the Doug may have decided based on a fishing brochure for nearby Lake of the Woods.  The brochure promised bass in the shallows, perch in the middle of the lake, and catfish below the perch. Doug caught a bass in the shallows, he caught ALL of the perch in the lake, but never managed to find the catfish. 


As Doug fished the early morning, I enjoyed the quiet in the campground and the lovely fragrance the creosote released in the rain. 


Ridiculous Road Trip #1, Part 13 - Tahoe National Forest

May 23
Our time in Yosemite was done. Although we loved our hikes with its amazing natural features, we were overwhelmed by the amount of people. And the campground we stayed at was the most expensive, most crowded, least clean, and our least favorite of the trip thus far. We were happy to be moving on.

We were approaching the Memorial Day weekend, so we wanted to find a quieter place to stay. Giant Gap Campground on Sugar Pine Reservoir in the Tahoe National Forest in Northern California seemed to be a good bet. 

We found the ranger station for the Tahoe National Forest, got good advice on trails and fishing in the area, then headed to the campground. 


There were lots of downed trees, so Doug was in heaven chopping up a huge store of firewood. And the reservoir was just a short hike from our site, so we assembled Doug's fishing boat, he disappeared to stalk the fishes, and I settled in to relax for the afternoon. And to cook. 

It turns out that the fish were very crafty, or cold, because Doug returned many hours later without even a nibble. 

May 24
At long last, I got my day of absolute laziness. Doug went off to fish and I finally got to sleep in. Then there was reading and napping. Doug came back for lunch frustrated at the lack of fish. 

For most of the afternoon, I worked on camper maintenance. At the beginning of May, while we were driving through monsoons, I had done some emergency sealing on some failing caulk on the edges of our camper. Now, with lots of time on my hands, I could repair them properly, along with a few other items that needed tightening, lubricating, or painting. 

Doug returned for dinner, still without catching any fish. 

May 25
Since the fish weren't cooperating, we decided a change of scene was needed. We headed out to town for lunch, internet access, and some hiking. We headed out along winding roads, then really winding hilly roads, then really really winding gravel forest service roads to the Grouse Falls Overlook. Google Maps was unconvinced our roads existed. 

It was unclear how manageable the road was to the trailhead, so we hiked in. And we're surprised to find a random guy in mini-van parked at the trailhead. 

Then we hiked down and down and down, for the view of Grouse Falls. 

Then we hiked back up and up and up. And we drove further along, and ran into some downed trees. Just barely room enough to sneak by. 

We headed back out to the hilly winding road, then to the Big Trees trail to visit the northernmost stand of Sequoias. 

The afternoon was waning, so we finished up our hikes, then Google Maps did her best to kill us. In theory, we were only 16 miles from our campground. As we drove along Last Chance Road (we should have known Google was up to no good), there were some downed trees that we could drive around. Then there were some more trees down, which Doug decided gleefully to clear. 

Then there was snow. 

Then there was snow and downed trees, and we knew it was time to turn back.

We may have gotten a bit lost, found ourselves, saw a bald eagle flying over a lovely reservoir, and then drove the long way back to our campground. 

May 26
Doug decided to give the fishing at the Sugar Pine reservoir one more try. We also hiked most of the loop trail around the reservoir. The wildflowers were lovely and there were some pretty snakes along the trail. 


May 27
Another day, another hike. Doug was intrigued by the description for the Mumford Bar trail as "most popular", but also "lightly used". It might have had something to do with the "difficult" rating, the 3.5 miles down 2750 ft down to the river, then having to climb back up, and the note about the poison oak that was notable halfway down the trail.  Sounds great, eh?

We hiked about halfway down, had lunch, then Doug hiked the rest of the way down. I hiked down a little more, but knowing my hatred and slowness hiking uphill, decided to turn around and take my time going slowly back uphill. I reached the trailhead, happy to hang out and enjoy the scenery and a chance to read. When a very sweaty Doug arrived later, we hiked the extra mile back out to the truck. 

May 28

Doug was up early for another hiking challenge. Earlier in the week when we were at the ranger station, the ranger had marked several trails in the guide that had not been cleared yet and were very likely to be over grown. Doug picked one, Euchre Bar trail, and took his axe to do some volunteer trail maintenance.  He was wildly successful taking out downed trees across the trail, but eventually had to give up when the trail disappeared into vigorous well established dogwood trees.  

I sensibly stayed near camp and hiked the rest of the trail around our lake. 

May 29

We broke camp on Memorial Day, and headed north. We giggled as we drove through Weed, CA. 

Then we had some gorgeous views of Mount Shasta. 

Then we crossed into Oregon and headed through Klamath Falls, and then settled in at Williamson Creek Campground in the Winema National Forest.