Kayaking Applegate Lake

Kayaking Applegate Lake
Kayaking Applegate Lake

Thursday, September 6, 2018

09-06-2018 Preparing for Italy with just a Carry-On

I am not leaving till later in the month, but when I posted on facebook about managing to pack it all into just a carry-on, I got requests for how I did it and what I packed.  I decided a blog post was the best way to handle that.

First, I have to say that I have to thank Erin and Mui from Two to Travel for all their wonderful insights about traveling, for web links and suggestions, and general encouragement.  In the past, when I have traveled overseas, either with Mo or with my daughters, it has been with a tour group.  Lots of good things to say about that method of travel if you want to see a LOT of stuff with help with all the details, including shlepping around the baggage and getting it into the hotels and back out again.

This trip, however, is with daughter Deanna, who prefers a more relaxing vacation, one where we stay in one place for a week or two.  We have chosen to stay a week in Positano on the Amalfi Coast toward the end of September, and for two weeks in Florence during the first two weeks of October. 

We found reasonable air fares after a few kerfuffles with already paid for  Air Canada flights out of Vancouver, cancelled and converted to Lufthansa flights from Seattle, through Frankfurt, and on to Naples.  Deanna and I settled on two Air BandB apartments, and transportation from the Naples airport to the Amalfi Coast and then returning to the train station in Naples a week later by the owner of the Positano BandB for a reasonable fee of 100 Euro each way. 

Thanks to Erin, I used The Man in Seat 61 website to book the fast train from Naples to Florence for our two week stay when we leave Positano.  We paid just a bit more for business class seats on the train. 

Our apartment in Florence is overlooking the Arno River, just down the way from the Ponte Vecchio bridge, with a view of the Duomo from the terrace.  The terrace which is on the third floor, no elevator. (remember that baggage thing?)

We will be in Italy during shoulder season, but a time still quite popular in Italy because the heat has dissipated some but the really bad weather will not have yet begun.

The weather, of course, makes for some complex packing.  Warm enough for chilly rain, cool enough for 8o degree possibly humid days.  Dressy enough for some fine entertainment in Florence, and comfy enough for hiking the Amalfi Coast.

I went to a packing class held recently at our local AAA office, by Anne McAlpin, “packing guru”.  The class was fun, and I was surprised that even in our small town there were more than 100 people in attendance.  I learned a couple of things, got some handy hints, but most of all it was about selling lightweight and useful travel items.  I rolled my eyes at the sales pitches, but found myself purchasing a few goodies in spite of myself.

So, for those who wanted the detailed run-down, here it is.

My Carry-On weighs 4.2 pounds, and has spinner wheels on the bottom.  I managed to get all of this packed into it.  At first I used those ziplock packing bags, but discovered that they didn’t really change the volume as much as I expected, and kept stuff from slipping nicely into crevices.  So I skipped them entirely, but I did use a couple of lightweight compression cubes, and am a fan.

Anne said something about 3 bottoms and 9 tops, and I have no idea what my ration is, but here is the list.

First, choosing what to wear on the airplane is interesting.  I wanted something comfy, nice looking, relaxed, layered for fluctuation temperatures, and of course, the heaviest shoes, so this is what I chose.  The jeans are my most comfortable and best fitting, but I hate that they don’t have pockets.

 

The shoes are surprisingly lightweight, and are my choice over my Keen hiking boots, which might still end up being the final choice. This same outfit will serve me well throughout the trip, I think, with the shirt being wrinkle free tencel and the scarf dressing it up when needed, and the lightweight long sleeved tee from REI serving as a warmth layer if needed later. Oh yes, one pair of those ridiculously expensive compression socks for flying, and maybe for hiking as well.

I found one of those killer down puffy jackets from REI, on sale 50 bucks!  Much less than the 300 Patagonia version and it fits better than they did as well. A packing cube holds the down jacket and my packable black raincoat/trench.  I packed a travel umbrella, and waterproofed the red shoes.

Another cube holds my nightgown, undies, bras, and power converters.  Not too many of the undies since I am capable of washing them.

For our nice dressy event at "The Three Tenors”, I have a travel knit purple tank, matching cover-up and black skirt.  For moderately nice dressing, I also have a rayon arty cover up to wear with the black tights or the black skirt. 

I can dress up just about anything from jeans to the skirt with the spiffy stretchy black blazer jacket, and a wrinkle free white shirt. 

For pants I have a pair of lightweight REI hiking/travel pants that will roll up, a pair of super comfy light denim capris, a pair of dressy black capris, and black tights.

I threw in a funky pair of black shorts and a black cotton lightweight shirt for hanging at home on a hot afternoon, and had to throw in a tee shirt just because. 

Then just because I could, I also threw in another lightweight print top that can be worn cool and sleeveless (not to the churches!) or dressed up with the black jacket.

For shoes I have the red Keens, a pair of Taos very lightweight, very supportive denim sneakers that don’t look like running shoes.  No photo yet of those.  I had a problem coming up with shoes that would look nice with the skirt, and finally settled on a lightweight pair of flat sandals.  Might be a bit weird, and not very Italian (they wear stillettos everywhere I think) but most of my dressy shoes have heels that I don’t want to have to wear walking from our apartment to the bridge. I also packed my very casual but incredibly comfortable black oofos for walking just about everywhere, even on cobblestones. 

So, a List:

2 long pants      1 tights    3 capris   1 short

2 dressy tanks with 2 dressy cover-ups   1 dressy skirt     3 scarves

2 nice casual shirts    1 funky casual shirt 1 tee shirt short sleeve   1 tee shirt long sleeve

1 dressy blazer    1 packable down jacket   1 raincoat   1 umbrella

4 pairs of shoes, dressy sandals, funky sandals, red walking shoes, blue sneakers.

The one thing that could throw this whole thing out of whack is the need for some kind of more waterproof shoe, like my hiking boots, so I am not sure how that is going to work, but I’ll check again with the weather as the trip gets closer. Then again, wet sneakers wouldn’t be the end of the world.

Now for the “Personal Item”, which will actually be two, but the small cross body purse will fit inside the Baggalini tote for boarding the plane.  In the purse will be my passport, ID, a small amount of US currency and a small amount of euros, for tips, food and such, and a credit card.  The phone and a mophie charger, charging cord, and pen. 

In the tote will be the laptop, laptop power cord, and a small a small cube containing my medications (not many), phone charger, extra batteries and charger for the Lumix camera (carried by Daughter Deanna) new nifty fast inflating neck pillow, ear buds, and inflatable seat pillow.  I am hoping that my larger scarf will serve as a bit of a cover up while flying.

In another nifty little purchase is a TSA allowable packing cube (beats a ziplock, really) for the liquids on one side and dry food snacks on the other side, now required to be pulled out for security checks.  I’ll have an empty water bottle ready to fill after going through security.

I won’t be taking a lot of toiletries, since I would imagine that there are some nice fun goodies that will be easily available in Italy.

Finally, around my waist, will be the RFID blocking money belt which with a bunch of Euros (already purchased through AAA), my medical insurance card (even though I will most likely have to pay and then get reimbursed) an additional credit card, and a debit card, all reported to the companies for traveling, and two of them with no foreign transaction fees.  The debit card will have fees if I need more cash, but at least that will be a good exchange and I can get cash if I need it.

One last little tidbit of information learned at the class:  I always thought making photocopies of your cards and passports was a good idea.  Instead, she said to photograph them and then email the photos to yourself.  Instantly available if you have internet access.

Verizon phone will be basically off, but I’ll pay the minimum International charge for emergencies, will download google maps of Florence and the Amalfi Coast for use offline, and have downloaded Google Translate in Italian for offline use.

I will also have printed receipts for the pre booked train tickets, pre paid museum tours, and our Three Tenors night in Florence.

Planning this trip has been really fun for me actually, minus a few stressful glitch moments.  Much easier actually than trying to plan 3 months going to Florida next winter.  Geez, what a pain! I was on the phone for 90 minutes last week on the first moment when the Family Camps near Jacksonville came open for our window of reservations.  Somehow we got lucky, and got what we needed, but that is another story.










Thursday, August 16, 2018

08-16-2018 Why do they call them Dog Days?

Current Location: Sunset House in Grants Pass at 75 degrees F at 9pm

I read my last post, just to take a moment to catch up with myself.  I needed to remember what I had written and hopefully not repeat myself.  Ahh, yes, I was raving about how incredibly gorgeous the summer had been thus far, blue skies, no fires, no smoke to mar the air.  Tonight, as I write, I can count 30 consecutive days of smoke filled skies, with air quality ranging from a fabulous “Moderate” (once or twice) to a more normal Very Unhealthy or Hazardous.  This has been the case every single day except one, last Sunday, when a breeze blew in from the west and for one fresh air filled day we had a taste of what summer could be like in our beautiful Southern Oregon.

This is not our house, it is across the street toward the east, and this is the side where the new fence will be located, about as high as the neighbors current chain link fence.  Ours will be wood.

It is hard to maintain a sense of balance when it is like this.  Not only is the world dimmed to a dull grayish brown and the sun to an angry red-orange, there are the horror stories on the news about the progress of the literally dozens of fires that surround us.  Stories of evacuations and misery abound.  It wears on one’s soul, deeply. 

I went to the store this morning, and in the process noticed that I was very easily irritated, like my scratchy eyes, my spirit felt scratchy.  I saw myself reacting quickly to the smallest inconveniences, angry at stupid people, frustrated with lack of supplies on the shelves.  I realized that I was getting all gritchy on an average of every 30 seconds or so.  What a waste of energy!  Noticing did help a bit, I tried to slow down and pay attention to myself, to stop the constant nasty internal outbursts at slow old people, fast little people, stupid drivers, and the constant brown sky.

I am not always like this, in fact I am not really often like this.  Sometimes, even in the midst of the nasty smoke, hot temperatures and ugly air, I can find true happiness.  Toward the end of July, about 2 weeks into the fire smoke season, Mo and I drove through the verdant and lovely Applegate Valley on a Thursday afternoon.  The Red Lily winery is among our favorites, and there we shared food truck goodies and a bottle of truly epic wine in big red chairs beside the river as we listened to the great music and watched all the happy people.  The sun was orange-red on that day as well, and yet I somehow found joy.

If you read my facebook, you probably already saw this, or who knows, it might have scrolled right past you, but either way, I wanted to repeat it here because it made me happy, and I don’t want to lose that feeling that I had that evening sitting by the river.

“Joy. It comes at the strangest times. I can't call it in, and have no clue what makes it come, but when it does, I am in awe. Tonight, watching the red sun through the smoke as we sat along the Applegate River at Red Lily Vineyards, I felt awash in Joy. Listening to great music, drinking truly great wine, watching families and friends having fun together, I felt it. Overwhelming joy. I forgot my camera, forgot my phone, just had to experience it in the moment. Wondering if the fact that I didn't have any kind of way to record the moment made it even more precious. When I got home, I ran outside with the camera, capturing the red sun setting through the smoke of the Taylor Fire just west of Grants Pass. Still remembering those precious moments of inexplicable joy. Treasuring the clarity of fresh air beneath the smoke, the mountains in the distance opened up from some unknown wind.”

I have also learned in this last 30 days to look downward, to look up close at the world.  Skip the sweeping vistas, they are invisible anyway, and just look at what is right in front of me.  We haven’t done a lot in the last few weeks, other than hang around home, working in the yard in the mornings, avoiding the worst of the heat and smoke, walking the dog in the evenings after it settles down a bit.

All thoughts of local hikes and kayak trips evaporated with the fires that began with a wild thunderstorm that crossed most of Northern California and Southern Oregon on July 15.  That very day Mo and I had driven south along the Applegate River to visit a beautiful lavender farm that opened up to the public for the 2018 Lavender Festival.  We have the Applegate Wine Trail, and we also have the Applegate Lavender Trail, with 15 farms participating.

The small acreage was beautiful, abuzz with bees and lovely people walking around picking their lavender bundles.  We ate lavender ice cream and listened to live music on the patio, and hid from the lightning strikes that we knew would bring sadness in the coming days, but at the time, it all seemed just so lovely.

That night there were more than 1,100 lightning strikes over the Rogue Valley and the Siskiyou Mountains, and the fires that started then are still raging all around us.  The horrible Carr Fire in Redding started a bit later, with a flat tire causing sparks on the pavement that ignited an inferno that killed 7 people and destroyed over 1000 homes.  Fire season has only just begun, and there is no end in sight.  We have until October to wait for the rains to at last extinguish the fires, but until then, anything goes.  Fire/smoke season in Oregon, in the entire West, is now a reality, and something that must be planned for always.  If you travel here, don’t come during fire season.  It has happened every single year now since 2012, and most years prior to that since the Biscuit Fire in 2002.

I wanted to write a blog, wanted to fill the empty space that is July and August in my memory banks, but as I write I can see how very much the fires and the smoke affect everything that I do.  So with that out of the way, maybe now I can think and write about some of the sweetness.

Early in July, Merikay and Craig of Merikay’s Dream decided to visit while they were camped at Valley of the Rogue State Park just a few miles south.  I cooked up a good supper, Merikay brought yummy cheesecake, and we showed them around Sunset House before settling in for dinner and a rousing game of that silly card game we learned last spring from John and Carol of “Our Trip Around the Sun”.  We had such a good time neither of us remembered to take any photos! Merikay and Craig are cruising around the Pacific Northwest and John and Carol are living the lifetime dream of traveling through Alaska in their motorhome. 

Mid July I drove back over the Cascades to Rocky Point to help out the quilt group with the annual Rocky Point BBQ, the major fund raiser for the local volunteer fire department.  It was great seeing old friends, and I invited the entire group to Sunset House for a get together, maybe some quilting, and maybe some crafting. 

None of this particular group of friends had been over the mountain to visit Sunset House, so I had fun showing them around, and they enjoyed seeing the real thing after all the photos I have shared of our house and the process of building it.

I actually baked a couple of epic quiches, one vegetarian and one traditional with all the bacon I could fit.  We laughed and talked, and then managed to make a big mess of fun with shaving cream and water color paints making marbleized art pieces for handmade greeting cards. It was a silly thing, but we had fun doing it.  Mo isn’t part of the quilt group, but all the women have been friends of hers long before I showed up on the Rocky Point scene.  It was a good day.

I especially enjoyed showing off the fabulous quilting done by Janna from Restoration Cowboy Style on my One Block Wonder quilt. She did an amazing job and the quilt ladies were duly impressed, Janna! I have been doing a bit of quilting on hot days as well, working on a big blooming nine patch with brilliant fabrics.  I hope to have Janna quilt it, but will probably have to wait until spring because I am not going to get it done in time.  I never sewed so many little nine patches, ever!

For everyday entertainment, I have been working on small landscaping projects while Mo works on fixing up her workshop.  Mo decided that a bit of help would be nice, and invited her brother Dan and his wife Chere down for a visit and a consultation on just how to construct the new porch overhang for the small building.

This photo of the old shed is from 2013.  Fires then as well. Look closely at the skinny blue door on the right, that is the same door on the right of what is left of the building in the photo below. 

I thought it might be fun to throw in a shot of the old outbuilding from the days when we first owned the property.  Most of it is gone now except for the main part of the building

She has been working on it for some time now, caulking and trimming, getting all the old wood cleaned up and painted.  Before winter there will be a new roof and a new porch overhang, a place for her to use her saws with some protection from the weather, but not inside the building with all that sawdust getting into everything.

It is always fun spending time with Dan and Chere, and having them here for a couple of days was wonderful. We ate good food both at home and at a great restaurant in Grants Pass we hadn’t tried before, Blondie’s Bistro.  First thing I noticed was that the balsamic reduction on the salad was every bit as good as any I have had, including my own. Actually, sometimes I burn mine and it ends up like caramel, and once it even turned into a sticky candy mess.  So I do really appreciate a good balsamic reduction.

My gardening projects have been small, mostly getting more shrubs planted, and adding mulch to the borders around the house.  With our heat, mulch makes all the difference, keeping roots cool enough, and within days after putting down the mulch, the plants look happier.  We don’t yet have an automatic sprinkler system, so my mornings are spent watering, lots of hand watering.  It is a job I really love, contemplative and quiet, and it gives me a chance to visit with each plant and flower, and check in on them.

We took in bids for a new fence along street side of the house and with the company 8 weeks out, I may not see the fence before I leave for Italy in September.  We also contracted to get a sun shade for the porch.  We love the view, but the western sun at dinner time is a bit much to bear.  Whenever we have company, we pull down the brown sheet that has served for shelter until the shade arrives.  It’s the little things.

We took the MoHo to Guaranty of Junction City, Oregon  for an all around check up and going through, making sure everything is in good order before we head off on a trip of several thousand miles.  It is a 3 hour drive, but folks from all over the country know about the service for RV’s available in Junction City, so it is worth it.

The days just seem to be so full, and I can’t really figure out why.  We are taking care of dental things, some physical therapy for Mo’s ankle and for my knee, doctor appointments to get caught up with the new doctor, going to the meat market for the Thursday sales, to the Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings for all that lovely produce coming in from the Applegate.

I water the flowers, walk the dog, clean the house, cook, do some quilting, watch some news and check out the smoky sunsets. I made applesauce with Mo’s help peeling the apples from our Gravenstein apple tree, have spent many hours working on reservations and plans for our winter trip to Florida, spent more hours working on final plans for the three week trip to Italy. 

A couple of days ago my computer started acting weird, so I tried to be sure all was backed up, and sure enough, out she went.  Probably the hard drive, and she is going to the computer doctor back in Klamath Falls when we go there this weekend.  Oh yes, there is that as well.  A tenant moved out and we spent a couple of days at the apartments cleaning up, and will spend a couple more days there this coming weekend painting for the new tenant.  Always something, it seems. 

At least I have the old laptop to fill in while the big girl gets fixed.  And of course, I am soo soo tempted to buy a new laptop.  This one is really so very old, and the plugin doesn’t work properly and it is slow, and and and…..How do you keep from buying something new and nice when you know better?

How can such little stuff keep me so busy? How can I think that all this little stuff is even worth writing about? How very few people will read to the end of this story.  Ha!  Reminds me of all those facebook memes rolling around that are really long, and at the end they say something like “you probably won’t read all of this, but if you do, copy and paste to your wall etc etc etc.”  I never do even if I DO read it all.  So don’t copy and paste, but if you made it this far, maybe you could comment.  Ha!

Nickie  (Out and About with Jimmy and Nicky) called me today to commiserate about all the smoke and heat and frustration about being house bound in summer and I think we both felt better after the phone call.  She laughed about having nothing to blog about except the grandbaby and I don’t even have that.  Still, for me, as always, it is about memory.  I need to be sure than when I return to the blog there isn’t a giant hole where July and August reside.

Friday, July 6, 2018

07-05-2018 Playing Close to Home

Current Location: Grants Pass Oregon at 86 degrees F with strong breezes and mostly clear skies

It has been a precious summer so far.  For the entire month of June I breathed in the blue skies and fresh air without a touch of smoke from wildfires to mar the loveliness.  Sometimes during a simple quick run to the grocery store I would be completely awed by the technicolor blues and greens that made me wonder if I hadn’t perhaps ingested some sort of mind altering substance without knowing it. 

The colors were almost psychedelic, cartoonish, so brilliant that I would just breathe and drive and gasp out loud all alone in the car.  I know the fires will come eventually, the clear air will go gray and dingy when the smoke from the wildfires that are already beginning to dot the maps of the west finds our valley once again.  Then again…could we really be lucky enough to skip the smoke this year?  I haven’t lived here long enough to really know if that is a possibility.  Smoke always seems to come when everything is at its most beautiful.  Maybe not this year, I’ll wait and see.

This is our first summer actually living in Grants Pass full time.  Mo and I are enjoying having more time to fiddle around with projects.  Mo’s most recent creation was an arbor for the old front gate area, where she used two old doors that we saved from the cottage as side walls.  Thank you, Pinterest, for the ideas!  We loved the old doors in the cottage, built in 1926, and I think these doors were originals.  Mo cut and sanded and painted, figuring out the puzzle of using the old existing gate posts as standards, and making the whole thing fit in, level and even.

I love the arbor, and the old gate that it surrounds.  Somehow it feels like a portal to me, a portal from the outside world into a magical world of our own making.  I love the feeling of memories of the old cottage contained in those old doors.

July 4th was quiet this year.  Daughter Melody and her family had other plans.  For years she has missed sharing time with her old theater friends from the days she lived in Albany, and now that she is in Eugene, just an hour away from Albany where those friends live, she was able to attend the annual Fourth of July party with the theater group.  She told me a year ago that she would NOT be available this year for our traditional family time.  

Instead she and Robert drove down from Eugene on Saturday to spend the weekend with us, and on Sunday daughter Deborah showed up for yummy brunch, family time, and the traditional game of Bocci Ball, which seems to show up every year on the 4th, no matter where we are.

On the actual 4th, Mo and I decided that we needed some sort of entertainment that was out of the ordinary house work, yard work, book work, and such, and decided to try out the trails in our nearby county and BLM park.

Cathedral Hills is a big park, with several miles of trails for mountain bikes, hiking, and horseback riding, no motorized vehicles allowed.  Still, when hiking, a mountain biker barreling down those trails can seem quite fearsome, especially when getting off the trail involves negotiating the thick stands of poison oak and corralling Mattie!

This view from the Hogback Trail is facing east toward our house, which lies on that terrace at the base of the mountain to the right of the big pine tree.

Close friends know that Mo has been having some ankle trouble lately, and it has kept our hikes short and to a minimum.  She has been seeing a physical therapist and felt good enough that she thought she could handle at least a couple of miles of walking.

We started early in the day, while it was still cool, and found our way to the main entrance to the park, farther west than the Walker trailhead that is just half a mile down the road from our house.  I hiked the Walker trail a couple of years ago, and knew it was terrifically steep with tight switchbacks to the Hogback trail on the ridge.

There were quite a few people in the parking lot when we arrived, but the multiple trails were not the least bit crowded.  In our entire 3.5 mile hike we passed just a few people, horses, and dogs.  Mo’s ankle held up well, and she was only a little bit sore the next day.  Both of us were encouraged, since for the past 16 years one of our major forms of entertainment has included hiking and walking.  We surely don’t want to give that up!

My crazy hip did fine as well, with the buckets of Aleve that the doctor said I should take, insisting that my kidneys were strong.

After our hike, we came home and relaxed a bit, did some chores, had a early supper, and decided to brave the city crowds for the fireworks show at Reinhart All Sports Park in Grants Pass.  Once a long time ago, when we first bought the property in Grants Pass, I discovered the pedestrian bridge, but hadn’t explored the park.

Official parking was less than a mile from the park grounds where the fireworks were going to be set, and the walk through the park and across the river was lovely.  Mo’s ankle did start barking, and we decided that if we do this again, we will save the big hike for another day and save our steps for the park.

The music was loud, but in the distance, the crowds were pleasant, and not too thick, the police presence was there but not intrusive.  We set up our chairs and waited, hoping we were in the right place.  Many people around us hoped for the same thing since the city fireworks show hadn’t been in this location in the past.  In fact, last year, Grants Pass didn’t even have a fireworks show.

The show itself was interesting, and quite different from any I had seen before.  Gone were the big loud booms, with the wait, and then the bursting flower of color high in the sky.  Instead, some sort of machine shot out many bursts at once, in all directions.  They were lower in the sky, but very colorful and there were a LOT of them.  We enjoyed the show, but I did miss the big ones.  There were no fireworks allowed in the park, so the scary prospect of a firecracker set off underfoot by some crazy person wasn’t a problem.

The parking was handled exceptionally well, and we were surprised at how orderly and easy it was to exit the parking area and within minutes afterward we were back home.  It wasn’t a typical July 4th celebration for us, and I did miss the family time on a lake somewhere, but it was still very nice.  My kids know I get all silly about July 4th if I don’t have family around, but this time I was perfectly fine.

When Mo and I returned from our trip to South Beach, we left the kayaks on top the baby car, thinking that we would find a lake to kayak soon enough.  On the last Wednesday in June, we traveled south through the Applegate Valley beyond Ruch and the wineries, to Applegate Lake.  It is actually a reservoir, with only a little bit of shoreline showing and the water wasn’t terribly low as is the case in some of the other reservoirs in this area on the west side of the mountains.

I remember a couple of decades ago when Melody lived in Ruch, and saw Applegate Lake for the first time.  I still lived in Idaho, and she called me in a panic saying, “What is wrong with this lake??  It has a huge bathtub ring?!!”.  She had the luxury of being raised in the Northern Idaho Eastern Washington lake country, where every lake is real, and very few have dams that let out the water to levels that make for those ugly steep brown exposed shorelines.  Here on the west side, every lake we have found is actually a reservoir, with associated levels that are affected by the spring rains, snowmelt, and irrigation.  This year, with a drought officially claimed, those levels are going down fast.

Still, our day on the Applegate was perfect.  The skies were again that technicolor blue, with only a light breeze.  We first checked out the official campground and boat launch site, but it really didn’t have much to offer and was at the northern edge of the lake, without much to see on the shoreline.  There was also a $7.00 fee to launch and the manager of the place was rather rude.  I told him nicely we would look for another launch, and he said, “Your stuff won’t be safe there, why in the world would you want to be on that end of the lake?!”  Duh, we are kayakers, not boaters, and we want complex shoreline, little coves, and no big fast boats getting in our way!

The Copper launch was just about perfect.  Clear water, no silty mud, and nice long paved launch where we could take the car right to the water. Something I read on Wiki was fascinating.  The boat ramp is the upper part of the road that once went to the town of Copper, buried forever when the lake was filled in 1980.

Once on the lake we traveled south, and found a beautiful little cove the meandered back into the forest, shrouded with shady firs, and huge rock cliffs.  It was back here that we did see some birdlife, mostly geese, but with their little ones they were very entertaining.

There were a few more kayakers on the water, but they weren’t intrusive, and told us about another cove farther south past a place they called “The Orchard”.  Sure enough, we continued south and found this inlet, along with a big open park that looked like a campground.  Still planning to check if it is a day use area only or includes overnight camping. 

We spent about 2 1/2 hours on the water, enjoying every single moment of crystal clear skies. clear clean water, and brilliant sunshine. I am sure we will return to this lake in the future, since it is the best place so far on this side of the mountains for kayaking.  As I said before, the mighty Rogue River is a bit much for us, with a strong, fast current.  It is a big river, with lots of rapids in between the quiet places, and neither of us is particularly interested in that kind of kayaking in our long lake boats. 

I packed a picnic for us and we shared it on a real picnic table overlooking the lake.  I have no clue what we did for the rest of the afternoon, but were back home by 2. 

Being on the road and traveling in the summer can get so tiresome, with overcrowding, parks full of kids, hot weather, and no vacancies plaguing so many folks any more.  Our idea of good summer times is enjoying all the beauty of our own local world.  I think we are off to a good start.