Oregon/California Road Trip Day 9 – 06/04/2019

Oregon/California Road Trip Day 9 06/04/2019 Photo Album

When Jane and I planned our road trip to Oregon and California, we scheduled a full day to explore Redwoods National and State Parks. Tuesday, July 4 was that day.

Morning Tea

We woke up in our redwood grove campsite, and after we made our respective cups of coffee and tea, we wandered to the rocky beach along the Smith River. The Smith River flows through Jedediah Smith State Park, and it is a beautiful river consisting of crystal clear pools bordered by redwoods and other large evergreen trees. We hiked along the river on three occasions during our stay at Jedediah Smith State Park, and I never saw a single fish rise, nor did I observe an insect except for a handful of midges. I was perplexed over this apparent lack of fish life, so I searched online for fishing information on the Smith River. I discovered that the river has a healthy population of salmon and steelhead during the October to March time frame, but the lower reaches are devoid of resident fish during the rest of the year. One source did suggest that coastal cutthroats exist close to the Pacific Ocean, and resident rainbows inhabit the forks of the Smith farther upstream.

Jane in Pacific Fog

Rocky Coast in Northern California

After a light breakfast we gathered our day packs and essential sightseeing gear, and we drove west to Crescent City and then south along US 101 toward Requa. A woman at the Jedediah Smith Visitor Center marked and circled places that we should not miss, and an overlook on the north side of the mouth of the Klamath River was one of them. Unfortunately when we arrived at 9AM, a heavy fog covered the entire area. I took a photo of the fog, and we returned to highway 101 and steered south to the other side of the Klamath.

WWII Radar Station Disguised As Farmhouse

After we crossed the bridge over the Klamath that was adorned with two golden bears on each end, we exited the highway and completed a loop that took us along a Pacific beach. When we encountered the beach, we progressed a few miles to the radar farmhouse, and we stopped and completed a short hike to a point, where we could see the historical structure. The farmhouse was constructed during World Wa II to house radar equipment to track the movements of Japanese submarines and war ships.

A Colony of Seals on the Inside of the Gravel Beach

Our next stop was a high overlook on the southern point of the mouth of the Klamath River. A long narrow sand bar extended southwest toward the Pacific, and a dense cluster of sea lions basked near the edge of the water. In a deviation from past practice  I was prepared for wildlife viewing, so Jane and I took turns viewing the sea lions through our binoculars. A few brave mammals frolicked in the cold neighboring water, but most the of the sensible animals simply slept on the beach.

The Mouth of the Klamath River

We returned to the car and proceeded a short distance to a spot, where we parked and then hiked along a short two lane road that took us to a sacred Yurok area. It appeared to be a place where ceremonies were conducted and salmon were processed. At this location we were along the Klamath River, and we had a lower view of the sea lion colony, that we spotted from high above.

After we finished the Klamath River mouth loop, we returned to US 101 for a very short distance, and then we exited and jumped on the Newton B Drury Parkway. This wide paved secondary road led us south through more redwood groves, and numerous hiking spurs veered off to the east along the way. We were on our Redwoods Parks in one day mode, so we did not pause for additional hikes on this segment of our tour. At the end of the Newton B. Drury Parkway we reached the Prarie Creek Redwoods State Park Visitor Center, and we found an open one hour parking space. We took advantage of this good fortune and devoured our lunches at a nice picnic table just beyond the visitor center.

Haze Over the Pacific

Beach Ground Cover in Bloom

This area of the Redwoods group of parks was very crowded, so as soon as we finished our lunches, we returned to highway 101, and we once again continued in a southern direction. After a few miles we reached Davison Road, and here we turned right and continued to the Gold Bluffs Beach. The national parks guide book that Jane purchased pointed us to this attraction, and it was well worth the drive. Along the route we stopped at a manned entrance gate to Gold Bluffs Beach Campground, and fortunately the tag on our windshield from Jedediah Smith State Park entitled us to continue along Davison Road, where it paralleled the beach. The quality of the road deteriorated rapidly, so Jane and I parked and strolled through some low brush until we stood on Gold Bluffs Beach. Unlike Atlantic beaches there were no buildings or commercial establishments, and it was nice to see the surf and sand in a natural state. Several pretty wildflowers bloomed, and we paused for ten minutes to watch the waves crash and roll on to the packed sand in front of us.

Love This Dune Grass

Our last detour from the main coastal highway was a turn on to Bald Hills Road. We maneuvered through several switchbacks, until we found the parking lot for the Lady Bird Johnson Grove. A narrow pedestrian bridge arched over Bald Hills Road and took us from the parking lot to the trailhead for the Lady Bird Johnson Trail. We grabbed a tour guide book from a small kiosk, and we completed the loop trail while stopping at each numbered signpost to read the description from the guide book. The area was similar to the redwood groves that we visited on Monday, but the informative guide book enabled us to learn more about the nuances of the redwood ecosystem.

Lady Bird Johnson Bridge

Our southern most stop was a parking lot off of the Bald Hills Road called Redwood Creek Overlook. From this vantage point we could view a large stream valley covered by evergreens in every direction. A small hill to the west prevented us from seeing the Pacific Ocean.

The Front of the Herd

On our return trip north on highway 101 we spotted a couple Roosevelt elk in a meadow on the right side of the road. We found a safe pullout and walked north along the shoulder a short distance to obtain a clear view above a dense cluster of trees and bushes. We were favorably surprised to discover a herd of twelve Roosevelt elk grazing among the grassy meadow. To this untrained observer the Roosevelt elk looked very similar to the Colorado elk with the major difference being darker hair around the head that continued through the front part of the body.

Classic Northern California Beach

On the highway between the Klamath River and Crescent City we stopped at a paved parking lot and once again marveled at the crashing surf. This area contained quite a few large rocks, and these obstacles created large breakers fifty yards offshore. The power of the turbulent surging waves and water was impressive.

Bratwursts grilled on the camp stove highlighted Tuesday evening, and after dinner Jane and I completed a long walk to the western end of the campground designated for bikers and hikers. We found a very nice bathhouse, a picnic area and a boat launch for the Smith River. The six hiker/biker campsites each contained a stone fireplace. We were impressed with the accommodations for those touring without the benefit of an automobile.

 

 

 

 

Oregon/California Road Trip Day 8 – 06/03/2019

Oregon/California Road Trip Day 8 06/03/2019 Photo Album

After a quick continental breakfast at the Comfort Inn on Monday morning, we once again continued on our road trip. Our destination on Monday was Redwoods National and State Parks in northern California. The drive from Portland, OR, to our reserved campsite in Jedediah State Park was 5.5 hours. We enjoyed the C. J. Box western mystery novel Out of Range so much, that Jane downloaded another book entitled Off the Grid, and we listened to the early chapters on our trip to Redwoods.

Camping Beneath Giant Redwoods

We arrived at our campsite by 3PM, and we were astounded by the tall redwoods of our campground. We were about to camp beneath trees that were 200 to 300 feet tall! Because I registered on line, the check in process was a breeze, and the gate attendant handed us a tag to place on our windshield. The campsite consisted of a fire pit, picnic table and bear locker. We were living in natural luxury.

Awe Inspiring

Before our arrival we followed the weather in Crescent City along the coast in northern California. We were nine miles inland, so we assumed that the weather was similar. Fortunately we were very wrong with this assumption, because highs in the mid-fifties along the coast translated to eighty degrees and sunny at Jedediah State Park.

Rather than launch immediately into assembling the tent and canopy, Jane and I decided to explore Jedediah State Park in the late afternoon and early evening. In this part of the Pacific Time Zone sunset did not occur until 9PM, so we had plenty of remaining sunlight for camping chores.

Ferns and Massive Trunks

For our initial foray into the redwood groves we chose the Simpson Reed Grove Trail and the Peterson Memorial Trail. The bordering loops were a mile long, and we were awestruck by the dense redwood forest. Ferns and moss were everywhere, and the trees towered high above and allowed only minimal sunlight to reach the forest floor. Fallen redwoods provided food and shelter for many animal and plant species.

A Typical Grove

Once we completed our redwood grove hike, we drove north on Walker Road, until we reached a dead end at the Smith River. We hiked a short distance to a gravel bar next to the river and marveled at the blue-green and ultra clear river. We acquired a brief taste of tomorrow’s attractions, so we returned to our campsite and erected the tent and canopy. For dinner Jane served the spaghetti that was displaced by tacos on Friday night, and we supplemented the pasta with a delicious salad.

The Smith River

After dinner we explored the River Beach Trail, and we lingered along a placid pool of the Smith River and relaxed in our new environment, until darkness began to envelop the area. Some tranquil moments next to the water were a welcome end to a busy day.

Upstream Look at the Smith River at the End of Walker Road

Oregon/California Road Trip Day 7 – 06/02/2019

Oregon/California Road Trip Day 7 06/02/2019 Photo Album

Amy, Jane and I packed all our camping gear on Sunday morning and said goodbye to Wallowa Lake. We thoroughly enjoyed Joseph, OR and the Wallowas, and we were sad to leave. The area has a rural aura with many ranches, yet it contains snow-capped mountains and crystal clear streams. Those in the know visit the area for its abundant recreation, but it is not a major tourist destination, and it is far enough away from major cities to prevent massive weekend migrations, such as those that occur in Colorado.

Amy drove her car, while Jane and I took turns riding with her and driving the Santa Fe. By 3PM we arrived in Portland and checked into the Comfort Inn. Once this task was completed, Jane and I drove to Amy’s apartment, which was conveniently located within a mile or two. We visited with Fiona, Amy’s cat, for a bit, and then we departed for dinner. Amy selected an Indian vegetarian restaurant called Maruti, and we quickly discovered, that it was first rate. I ordered an eggplant dish called baingan bharta, and I was not disappointed. The eggplant was mashed with spices and vegetables, and a moderately spicy sauce complemented the eggplant perfectly. We were joined by Amy’s friends Lauren and Matt, and afterwards we headed to a nearby ice cream shop called 50 Licks.

Enjoying Our Dessert at 50 Licks

I am lactose intolerant, and I love Portland, OR ice cream establishments, because they offer a variety of vegan choices. Apparently the number of vegans in Portland are such a significant portion of the marketplace, that they force eateries to cater to their needs.

After dessert we returned Amy to her apartment, and we said our final farewells for the trip. She returned to work on Monday morning, and we needed to depart early for our next adventure.

Oregon/California Road Trip Day 6 – 06/01/2019

Oregon/California Road Trip Day 6 06/01/2019 Photo Album

Another gorgeous day in northeastern Oregon beckoned us to enjoy an outdoor activity. Amy transported her mountain bike from Portland, and she was not part of our rural roads loop ride on Thursday, so we decided to repeat the experience. Our planned ride deviated somewhat from Thursday’s version, as we eliminated the detour to Enterprise and replaced it with a small add-on of Crow Creek Road.

Clouds Hang Over the Mountains

Once again we enjoyed clear skies and perfect temperatures in the low seventies, as we cycled along lush green pastures and ranch fields. The snow capped peaks reminded us that it was still spring, and we were ever watchful for a random deer crossing. The loop totaled 17.7 miles on my Garmin watch, and we all agreed that our cycling choice was perfect.

Pose Time

The free state parks day activities included more music on Saturday along with frisbee golf and fishing skills demonstrations. Once we completed our lunches we walked to the wooden picnic pavilion and discovered another group of onlookers. During a break in the music a woman was presenting a birds of prey talk; and two owls, a falcon and hawk were perched nearby. We listened to the end of her talk and a question and answer session, and then before the bands resumed, I decided to make a final attempt to land a fish from Wallowa Lake.

Head Twisting Demo

Amy and Jane remained at the concert, while I hustled back to the campground and prepared to fish, and this adventure is detailed in a separate blog post. By the time I returned to the campsite shortly after 5PM, the free day activities were complete. Amy, Jane and I debated dinner options. The original plan included spaghetti, but Amy spotted an interesting brew pub sign in Enterprise, and I read about it as well in a northeastern Oregon travel pamphlet. We agreed to visit Terminal Gravity for a beer, and then return to the site D09 for dinner.

Terminal Gravity

Our arrival at Terminal Gravity revealed a fairly crowded outdoor tasting “room”. Picnic tables were scattered on both sides of a tumbling brook, and many were occupied by obviously satisfied customers. We spotted an open table on the side of the creek opposite the main brewing building, and we quickly claimed it. The sun remained bright in the sky and the temperature was absolutely perfect. Young children entertained us, as they splashed and played in the water by the bridge.

Fathers’ Day Material

We each ordered very tasty craft beers brewed at Terminal Gravity, and then we sipped them, while we perused the menu. Once again our good intentions for a camping dinner went by the wayside, as we ordered from the brew pub menu. We were not dissatisfied with our decision.

Amber Brew

Saturday was our last night at Wallowa Lake State Park, so I once again constructed a fine conflagration, and we huddled around the flames and coals for warmth upon our return. Another fun day occupied our dreams on Saturday night.

Oregon/California Road Trip Day 5 – 05/31/2019

Oregon/California Road Trip Day 5 05/31/2019 Photo Album

Friday’s weather forecast was very encouraging, and the blue skies and lack of clouds suggested meteorological accuracy. With Amy now on board we decided to undertake a hike on the West Fork Wallowa River Trail. The trailhead was a mile from our campsite, and we appreciated the convenience. I wore shorts and a fishing shirt with rolled up sleeves, and Friday was a rare occasion, when I exhibited less skin coverage than Amy and Jane.

Steep Gradient

The round trip hike was nearly six miles, and it tracked the West Fork of the Wallowa River. The small stream crossings were manageable, and the river crashed and tumbled its way down the high gradient river bed throughout our trek. We marveled at the powerful forces that nature can generate.

Log Collection Point

Our Snack Spot

Our turnaround point was a crude log bridge that connected the West Fork Trail with the Ice Lake Trail. A group of four young women and a dog were just ahead of us, and we paused to watch them carefully cross the raging river. A large log spanned the river, and it was flattened on the top to create a wide surface for walking. As an added safety feature, a rustic log railing was positioned on the upstream side of the log to create a makeshift hand rail. The bridge was our chosen turnaround point, so we did not test our balancing skills.

Log Crossing

The return hike was uneventful, and we returned to our campsite for lunch in the early afternoon. The free concerts at the trailer stage were scheduled to begin at 5PM, and we had some time to kill, so we made the short drive to Joseph, OR, so Amy could browse the small town. Joseph is a small resort town with a few restaurants, shops and bars. Quite a few eye catching sculptures are on display throughout the Main Street area. We stopped at a few shops and purchased some additional grocery items at the market, before we returned to the Wallowa Lake State Park for music.

Fish Sculpture

Our threesome strolled to the trailer stage by the marina, but the parking lot and stage were devoid of human beings, so we entered the marina store and inquired about the free state parks day festivities. A young man behind the counter informed us that the concert was moved to an indoor picnic pavilion near the bridge due to threatening weather. With this change in venue Jane, Amy and I carried our chairs to the wooden pavilion and joined a small crowd of spectators.

Laney Lou and the Bird Dogs

A pair of young women played some delightful folk tunes for an hour, and then they relinquished the stage to Laney Lou and the Bird Dogs. This band was a blend of bluegrass and country; and Amy, Jane and I enjoyed them immensely. Since my return from Oregon I researched Laney Lou and discovered that they are from Bozeman, MT, and they released six albums.

Deer Enjoy the Playground

After the concert we began to hike back to our campsite with the intention of making spaghetti, but along the way we encountered a taco truck. The purveyors of Mexican food were smart in their choice of location, and we could not resist the lure of authentic street tacos. After our impulse dinner we returned to our campsite and mellowed out with another campfire and a game of Oh Hell. Another fun and eventful day in the Wallowas was in the books.

 

 

Oregon/California Roadtrip Day 4 – 05/30/2019

Oregon/California Roadtrip Day 4 05/30/2019 Photo Album

Of course the anticipated highlight of day four of our road trip was the arrival of our daughter, Amy, in the evening. Amy secured a half day of vacation in order to make the five plus hour drive from Portland to Wallowa Lake State Park. We were very anxious for her to join us.

Would we simply idle away the hours at the campground, as we awaited her appearance? Of course not. We transported our mountain bikes from Denver to Oregon, and we decided that Thursday was the day to spin the tires. On Tuesday we asked Sara at the national forest service office about cycling trails, and she suggested an area by Ferguson Ridge Ski Area. On our way back from fishing at Kinney Lake on Wednesday we detoured to the ski area road, but all we found was a fairly steep packed dirt road. We decided this was too much work and discarded it as a cycling destination.

I followed our route on Oregon 82 on the road map on Tuesday, as we approached Joseph, OR, and I noticed several back roads that connected Joseph and Enterprise. Enterprise is the next town downstream from Joseph along the Wallowa River. The map was not very detailed, but it was clear, that we could complete a loop from Joseph to Enterprise and back without touching the busy Oregon 82 highway.

The weather on Thursday morning was quite nice, although we could not bank on that bit of good fortune to continue indefinitely, so we hustled to put on our cycling clothes and loaded the mountain bikes on the bike rack. In a flash we traveled from the state park to a public park in Joseph, and we parked the car there and began our loop ride.

Green and Snow

For the first half of the ride we followed Wallowa Avenue to Airport Lane and then turned right on to Hurricane Creek Road. We were thrilled with the lush green farmland and the snow capped ridges in the distance. The ranches in the area were very well maintained with cattle, sheep, and horses dotting the landscape. We startled at least five small herds of deer along our route and crossed numerous small streams that were nearly overflowing their banks with high rushing water.

Deer Everywhere

Hurricane Creek Road led us into Enterprise, and we tracked the main street for a few blocks, until we stumbled into a Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center. Jane and I locked our bikes to a stand and entered the visitor center, where a very helpful lady offered us a Wallowa County cycling map and suggested a return route that was different from our outbound path. We were quite pleased with this bit of good fortune.

We Liked the Sign

The return route traversed equally pastoral surroundings, and we arrived back at the Joseph Public Park a bit over an hour and a half after we left. We did endure a brief light rain shower within three miles of our car. We reloaded the bikes on the rack, and since we were in town, we stopped at the market to pick up some necessary groceries. We also returned to the forest service office to query Sara on additional hiking options that would avoid crossing swollen tributaries such as Falls Creek.

After lunch at the campground we walked to the marina at Wallowa Lake. A trailer was set up as a stage with straw bales for seating in the parking lot near the marina. Saturday was a free state parks day, and various rock and folk bands were scheduled to perform Friday evening and Saturday afternoon at the trailer stage. We decided to circle past the shop at the marina, and then we strolled to the end of the boat ramp. A fisherman was tossing a spinner to the space between the boat ramp and the opposite bank of the lake, and when queried, he replied that he caught ten trout. He also mentioned that the lake was stocked with 10,000 trout the previous day. This information had a noticeable impact on me.

Hello There

Jane and I proceeded along a long narrow cove between the boat launch and the far shoreline of the lake, and we both spotted some fairly active fish feeding on the surface. Stocked fish and surface feeders stoked my optimism, and we hustled back to the campground, where I prepared to fly fish in Wallowa Lake.

My fishing experience is covered in the next post, but when I quit at 5PM, I returned to the campsite. Jane and I killed 1.5 hours, and by 6:30PM we could no longer contain our anticipation of Amy’s arrival. We began to walk toward the park entrance, and just as we began to cross the bridge over the upper Wallowa River, Amy appeared in her little red Versa. One of us rode in the car with Amy, while the other hustled back to D09 campsite.

Happy hour followed, and we caught up on each other’s weeks. Dinner consisted of quinoa vegetable soup, and afterward I once again constructed a fine blazing fire. Unlike previous efforts, the flaming source of heat was not extinguished prematurely. We were happy campers, and we looked forward to more fun activities on Friday.

Oregon/California Roadtrip Day 3 – 05/29/2019

Oregon/California Roadtrip Day 3 05/29/2019 Photo Album

As Jane and I departed Kinney Lake, a small cluster of storm clouds gathered in the southwestern sky; however, they never produced rain on our return route to Wallowa Lake State Park. We quickly devoured our customary small lunch at site number 9, and then we decided to embark on our first hike in the Wallowas. With a series of threatening clouds overhead and to the west; I pulled on my rain pants, raincoat, and hiking boots at the campsite. For our Wednesday afternoon adventure we chose Hurricane Creek; one of the trails recommended by Sara at the national forest service office in Joseph.

In order to reach the trailhead we followed a narrow paved road for several miles until we reached a small turnaround with a bathroom. We prepared to hike, but before we made our first steps, thunder rumbled and lightning sparked across the sky. We wisely decided to initiate a rain delay, and we waited in the car until the core of the storm passed to the northeast. Since we were protected from head to toe in rain gear, we began our hike in light rain.

Hurricane Creek Behaving Like One

We followed the Hurricane Creek trail for .4 mile, and at this point we encountered a significant hurdle to our progress. A tributary, Falls Creek, rushed toward its confluence with Hurricane Creek, and a bridge or crossing was nowhere to be found. A large log spanned the creek fifteen yards upstream from the marked trail, so we moved closer to inspect this crossing option. The log was of adequate size, but it was very wet as a result of the rain; but more worrisome was its position seven feet above the raging creek. Good sense ruled the day, and we reversed our direction and found the intersection with the Falls Creek Trail.

Falls Creek

Indian Paintbrush

This trail was also marked as an option by the forest service employee, but it was an unending uphill climb. In the absence of better options Jane and I accepted the challenge and scaled the steep switchback laden trail for 1.5 miles, before we turned around and returned to the car. We shed layers in rapid succession, but eventually we earned some spectacular views of the Hurricane Creek valley, snow capped mountains and an array of seasonal waterfalls. The thin ribbons of water began as snow packed chasms and then transitioned into plummeting chutes of water.

Rain and Snow Melt

The Falls Creek hike sapped our energy, so we returned to our campsite for our normal evening routine. We quaffed some craft brews, before we ate the lentil/sausage soup that existed as a frozen block of broth on Tuesday evening. After dinner clean up I once again constructed a blazing fire with damp kindling and purchased firewood, but again our toasty comfort zone was interrupted by rain showers. We adjourned to the dryness of our tent and warmth of our sleeping bags and settled into another early slumber.

Lots of Remaining Snow

05/28/2019 – Oregon/California Roadtrip Day 1 and 2

05/28/2019 Oregon/California Roadtrip Day 1 and 2 Photo Album

Our daughter, Amy, resides in Portland, OR, and several months ago Jane and I concocted the idea of visiting her in the May or June time frame. My devious mind is always influenced by my affection for fly fishing, so I suggested that we combine a camping trip with a visit to Amy, and May and June happened to overlap with the months, when Colorado streams were blown out by snow melt. The 2018/2019 snow pack was significantly above average in all drainages, so an opportunity to escape to Oregon was a welcome option to this avid fly fisherman.

I recalled a trip in September 2002, when I drove Amy back to college at Whitman, and I lingered in northeastern Oregon to fish the local streams. During this visit I enjoyed a fantastic day on the Wallowa River between Minam and Wallowa, and I wondered if I could resurrect the magic in 2019. I researched the camping options in the area and settled on Wallowa Lake State Park as our destination. The on line reservation web site enabled me to reserve a campsite in the park for five nights beginning on May 28 and then departing on June 2. Amy arranged some time off from work, so she could join us from Thursday evening May 30 through Sunday June 2. Needless to say I was very excited to spend three plus days with our daughter with the possibility of fly fishing in some trout streams in Oregon merely icing on the cake.

In preparing for the trip I bought four new tires, since the originals logged more than 50,000 miles. We packed the Santa Fe to the ceiling with camping, hiking, fishing and cycling gear; and departed from Denver early on Memorial Day. Day one was spent driving for ten hours to Twin Falls, ID, where we found a room at the La Quinta Inn and ate a tasty meal at Johnny Carino’s. The highlight of the driving portion of our trip was listening to an audio book by C. J. Box entitled Out of Range. Jane and I love the Longmire series about a sheriff in Wyoming, and Box’s western mysteries about a Wyoming game warden fall within the same genre.

On Tuesday, May 28, we continued through western Idaho and then angled northwest on Interstate 84 through eastern Oregon, until we reached the small town of La Grande. Here we veered to the northeast on Oregon 82, and we followed the highway to Elgin along the Grande Ronde River. This was my first sighting of river conditions in northeastern Oregon, and the picture was not auspicious. The river flowed very high, and the clarity was rather murky. The next section took us down a long hill to the confluence of the Minam and Wallowa Rivers, and my hopes for stream fishing transformed to despair, when I viewed the raging current and turbid conditions.

Oregon 82 followed the Wallowa River to Joseph, Oregon, and since this was the last town before entering Wallowa Lake State Park, we stopped for information. First we visited the Joseph Fly Shop, and the gentleman behind the counter dispelled all my hopes of fly fishing in flowing water. He informed me that all the local rivers and streams were blown out due to the cold wet spring. Normally by this time of year the shop was booking guided fishing trips on the highway section of the Wallowa, but he speculated it would be at least another two weeks or longer until the 2019 season kicked off.

As an alternative he suggested that I make a trip to nearby Kinney Lake. It was six miles from Joseph, and he reported that anglers were enjoying success on woolly buggers and prince nymphs. In addition some surface action was available for short periods during the day. He sketched a crude map on the back of a piece of paper, and I purchased five flies and some tapered leader in exchange for his information.

We departed the fly shop and stopped at the forest service office in Joseph. A nice young lady named Sara suggested some moderate hikes within the local national forest lands. We purchased a nice waterproof map for $16 and anticipated some fun treks near our campground. I consoled myself with thoughts of hiking and cycling with Jane and Amy to replace the fishing time, and my spirits once again elevated.

First View of Wallowa Lake

We were now on our way to the campground. We drove along the eastern shoreline of Wallowa Lake, and since we were already registered at the campground, our stop at the entrance station was brief. The young lady manning the window handed us a tag to place on the rear view mirror and provided directions to our loop and campsite.

Our Space for Five Days

Jane Doing the Heavy Lifting

Jane and I quickly unloaded the car and assembled the canopy and tent. Large clouds continually floated across the sky above us, so we made shelter a priority. Once our campsite was in order, we visited the wood shed and purchased a cart of firewood. Heavy rain the previous day rendered the kindling a bit soggy, but I managed to use newspaper and thin splinters from the purchased logs to get the campfire blazing. As this scene was evolving, a herd of deer arrived, and they began to browse among the neighboring campsites, as if happy hour on loop D was a commonplace occurrence.

Near the Bathroom

Meanwhile Jane discovered that the lentil soup on the menu was a block of frozen broth, and without access to a microwave oven, we were forced to consider alternatives. A trip back to Joseph seemed to be the simplest answer, so we jumped in the car and returned to The Embers Brew House on main street. The choice proved to be a winner, as we enjoyed ice cold draft beers and dinner, before we returned to the campground. Tuesday was a long day, so we climbed into the tent and our down sleeping bags early. For some reason I sleep very soundly in a sleeping bag on a Thermarest pad, and Tuesday was no different.

Dinner and Beer

Portland, OR – 04/02/2012

Portland, OR 04/02/2012 Photo Album

Gardening

Jane and I scheduled a trip to Portland, OR at the end of March to visit Amy and help her plant a garden. This was the stated mission, but the real reason was to spend precious time with our sweet daughter. Since Portland has a milder climate than Colorado, we felt this would be a good time to plant the cold weather vegetables.

Well, things worked out more or less as planned. It rained heavily off and on during the entire weekend, but there were enough gaps in the heavy rain that we were able to find the time to prepare two raised beds and plant all the items on our list for the early season. Jane suggested that we work on the garden on Friday as soon as the rain stopped, and her strategy was very effective as we used all the available time on Friday and Saturday when it was not raining to reach our gardening goals.

The Raised Bed in Front of House

Amy’s boyfriend, Joe, had already assembled a raised bed in front of the house, so we just needed to prepare the soil and augment the raised bed with some compost in order to be ready to plant. The area facing south along the side of the house required more work, so on Saturday we prepared the soil and then persuaded Joe to build a second frame for a raised bed. Once Amy and Joe secured the corner posts and attached the frame, we added three bags of compost and had a second raised bed.

The Gardening Team

During the course of preparing and assembling the raised beds, someone asked the obvious question, why raised beds? I replied with a couple legitimate reasons, but upon further research came up with additional justification. One of the primary reasons is that it prevents soil compaction. If the beds are constructed properly, all areas can be reached from the surrounding pathway thus no need to walk on the soil and compact it. Also related to this is the ability to space plants closer due to the lack of pathways within the bed. Because the bed is raised, it typically drains better than level soil, and in a wet climate such as Oregon, this is important. The soil can be better controlled as the bed consists mostly of additives such as topsoil, fertilizer and compost. Another benefit is the garden is closer to the gardener as signified by the name, raised bed.

Amy Rakes Before Adding Compost

After our efforts,  Amy and Joe’s garden held radishes, spinach, onions, beets, leaf lettuce, kale, thyme, chives, brocolli, brussel sprouts, catnip and lavender. Unfortunately the catnip was under attack almost instantly by Joe and Amy’s cats, but it was entertaining to watch nonetheless. Even with all these items planted enough space remained to add warm weather plants later in the season.

Portland, OR

Now that my daughter lives in Portland, and after having visited numerous times, two things come readily to mind about this exciting northwestern city, and they are rain and food. The rain theme is obvious as we had to work around rain constantly throughout the weekend. But a visitor to Portland soon discovers that the residents do not allow a bit of rain to get in their way. Even under overcast rainy conditions you will still see cyclists and kayakers and hikers and any number of activities taking place. Good rain gear is observed everywhere as well as cozy coffee shops to fight the dampness and warm the soul. Another evidence of the weather is the green landscape everywhere. Winters are wet but mild, and thus the grass seems to be constantly green and flowers bloom early in the season. While we were there, daffodils seemed to be everywhere.

Dave and Amy at Pittock Mansion

If one ventures outside the urban area to forested areas such as the Forest Park area we hiked on Saturday, one will be immediately impressed with all the moss and ferns adorning the landscape. The scenery is quite different from the arid sparse landscape of Colorado.

Lots of Moss

Our second impression of Portland revolves around food. I’m sure the suburbs and outskirts feature the same chains, big box areas and strip malls as any other U.S. city, but the various areas of Portland itself are littered with locally owned neighborhood restaurants and eateries. The hospitality industry must employ 90% of the mushrooming twenty something population. Eateries range from ubiquitous food trucks to small take out locations featuring one menu item to more traditional high end sit down establishments. Another popular Portland fixture are the dessert stops, restaurants that specialize only in desserts. Amy, Jane and I anxiously looked forward to all of our meals in Portland and sampled Mexican, Irish, Thai, and Mediterranean cuisines during out stay. Another Portland favorite and a favorite to us as well is brunch. Brunch can be found everywhere on Saturdays and Sundays. Had we stayed during the week, I’m sure we could have found a brunch offering somewhere on a weekday.

Aaron and Jessica Join Us for Dinner

The Hunger Games

Our Saturday night entertainment featured watching The Hunger Games at a local cinema. Amy and Jane read the entire Hunger Games trilogy, so they were well versed on the plot and anxious to see the movie treatment of the novels they’d recently completed. Dave, on the other hand, only read movie reviews which were luke warm at best. The plot is a bit of Survivor and American Idol on steroids. Apparently the United States has been divided into twelve districts, and the ruling class holds a hunger games event each year. Two teenagers are chosen from each district, a male and female, and transported to a central location where they will attempt to survive to be the last person left standing. Of course prior to the event there is training, festivities, partying and gambling on the outcome.

The main character is Katniss from district twelve, a poor coal mining region. Katniss volunteers after her younger sister’s name is drawn from the bin. It’s a classic case of brains over brawn, but I won’t give away any more. We all enjoyed the flick quite a bit and were still discussing it on Sunday morning.

Disc Golf

08/23/2011 Clackamas River Photo Album

When Dave visited Oregon in August to be a driver in the Hood to Coast Relay, he visited Milo McIver State Park along the Clackamas River where he fished for trout. While there he picked up a brochure that described the bat barn and also noticed an extensive array of disc golf courses. With the early completion of our gardening project on Saturday, we were looking for something to do on Sunday. The weather was typically  overcast with intermittent rain showers and we considered going to the coast or up the Columbia River gorge. I mentioned the bat barn, but when we researched it online, we discovered that the bats are present in the summer and probably not an attraction on April 1.

Preparing for Disc Golf

As we discussed it, however, we decided to give the disc golf course a try. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this sport, disc golf is played similar to golf except tossing a Frisbee takes the place of hitting a small white ball with a club. There are 36 holes at Milo McIver but our threesome decided to play only the front nine on the east course. Amy wisely took five frisbees along and it was raining lightly when the three of us emerged from the car at the disc golf parking lot. Amazingly there was a small wooden box with scorecards and maps of the course layout. We elected to not keep score or keep score in our heads. The course we played essentially followed the downstream flow of the Clackamas River, which was quite high and turbid due to all the recent rain.

Amy Shows Distance Technique

There were tee boxes and “greens” and hazards of many types. The water hazards were probably larger than normal due to all the rain and quagmires created by heavy runoff. The green consisted of a metal post with a cluster of chains hanging vertically from the center post to a circular metal cage below the chains. The idea was to toss a disc into the chains, and then it fell and rested in the cage below. This compared to sinking a putt. We had a great time and were amazed at the number of fellow disc golfers in the rain. These disc golfers took their sport seriously as most possessed multiple frisbees of various sizes for driving, chipping and putting if in fact the same vernacular applies. They also possessed disc golf bags, small rectangular duffles with shoulder straps that were used to transport their assorted discs. It was a whole new world for Jane and Dave.

Jane with a Chip Shot