Time for a new house

Time for a new house
Time for a new house

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Camping in a Caldera

Monday July 16 at East Lake in the Newberry Caldera east of Lapine, southeast of Bend, Oregon

Temperature at 9am 66 degrees F, last night low T 55 degrees F, might get to 79 today, or not.

Something about being in the mountains by a beautiful reflective lake makes time completely irrelevant.  I know that it is morning.  There are a few high puffy clouds coming in from the west that hint that there may be a shift in the weather on the way, but I have no way to predict what could happen except my own personal weather savvy from looking at the sky and feeling the air.  beach at East Lake campground

We have been here at East Lake, the smaller and quieter of two lovely lakes at Newberry Crater for a few days now.  Not sure how many, maybe three?  I vaguely remember going to the Sisters Quilt Show last Saturday, but it has already become a bit of a memory filled in and muted by hours and hours of images of reflected water and sky.  I’ll have to blog about the quilt show eventually, maybe when I get back home and get out of this lazy lake mode.

Yesterday early in the morning we kayaked east and found the hot springs that I knew were tucked in along the shoreline, small pools hand dug in the pumice sands to moderate the hottest temperatures coming from the bubbling springs.  A mayfly hatch made for interesting reflections on the perfectly still water, frustrating all the fishermen with their various catch methods.  Those big black-backed trout were very happy filling up on mayflies. Seems as though someone dumped chubs in this lake and instead of poisoning the lake with rotenone as was done on Diamond Lake, they imported some non native Canadian Black Backed trout, or maybe they are European.  Supposedly they are strong predators of chubs and the native trout can recuperate.  Reminds me a bit of rabbits in Australia.beach camping at East Lake

I was glad that those bugs weren’t very interested in landing on me and didn’t seem to bite.  We heard that they only hatched yesterday, but a few non biting mayflies are nothing compared to mosquitoes and gnats, neither of which seem to have found this perfect little lake in the mountains.there is our site from the water

There are incredible geologic stories of the Newberry Caldera, recent volcanism, obsidian flows, there is even a nice visitor center not far from the entrance to the national whatever area that this is.  I don’t know.  I don’t have internet  or even a cell signal to look up and research every little thing, I just have my memories and much like the weather, I can only share what is already tucked away in my mind. I am completely disconnected from the outside world.  All I have is water, pumice sand beaches, blue blue skies, clean clear water, and yes, an absolutely to die for, perfect campsite right on the beach. 

Roger and Nancy provided a couple of nights of easy camping in their driveway in Lapine with hookups and a great dinner of bbq chicken on one night and we all shared a yummy treat dinner at McMennimen’s in Bend the night of the quilt show.  On Sunday we packed up the rigs and headed east just an hour or so to Paulina and East Lake in the Newberry Crater area.  We thought that by Sunday afternoon the campgrounds should have quieted enough that we could get a campsite without much trouble.East Lake reflections

Surprise!  East Lake is a very popular little fishing lake for the locals, and we only managed to snag a good beach front site by walking the park, checking the exit dates on all the tags, and finally asking one camper when he planned to leave.  He was very accommodating, and said if we paid now, we could take possession of his site when he pulled out in a couple of hours.  I guess that is the way it is done here.  We got here about two hours before the 2PM exit time, and it wasn’t a bit too early since other folks were checking tags after us and any later than we were wouldn’t have been so lucky.

Even on a Sunday night, all the front row water sites were taken, but by Monday the park did have a very few unoccupied sites toward the back row of the park.  We are camped  at East Lake Campground, the best one in our opinion because of its easy access to the water, although there are bigger campgrounds in the area, and this one only has 24 sites.  There is a boat launch and a large parking area for boat trailers.the fish are jumping at East Lake

Seems as though fishing is the most popular pastime here, and the first night we saw a young family pull in with a nice big string of trout for dinner.  After the mayfly hatch, however, the catch went way down.  The lake has a 10 mph limit so that makes it wonderful for kayakers like us.  I haven’t yet learned how to paddle at 10 mph.

Nancy and Sue making s'mores with less (no crackers) I really have lost track of time, a nice thing.  We have been out in the boats paddling in several directions, found little bays and inlets, and of course, the hot springs.  We have cooked suppers to share at the picnic table, and in Roger’s rig when the evening winds were a bit too much.  We have had campfires with the great juniper wood Mo loaded up from home, and learned to make S’mor’s with Less, a new favorite of mine.  S’mores are just too dry for me, but if you slip a perfect little square of chocolate inside a perfectly done marshmallow, the chocolate melts and ohmy!!  Even Roger who refuses to eat marshmallows decided it looked too good to pass up and he loved the one that he tried.

campfire time at East LakeLast night brought a bit of a downer for us, though, when we decided to go for a walk and Nancy discovered they had locked themselves out of their rig.  No spare key anywhere.  She also thought their car was locked, and of course we don’t have a car with us either.  There is no cell phone service here, so we walked down to the camp host who offered a hangar and if needed a ride over to Paulina Lake and his boss who had a land line.  Nancy’s wallet, everything, was in the rig, so she didn’t even have phone numbers of Good Sam, or any information to try to call.  It was already getting dark and Mo and I were thinking we might need to break out the sofa bed (not ever used) and picturing a night in our rig with 4 adults, 2 dogs, and an elderly cat was interesting.

Lo and behold, when Roger checked their Honda, it wasn’t locked!  Still no wallet or rig keys, but at least one little Honda key in the glove box, something called a “valet key” that started the car.  They decided the best option would be to drive back home (just an hour from here) where they could make the needed phone calls, have access to their information, and sleep in their own bed.  We are hoping they will show up here sometime this morning with someone to open up the rig and all will be well. 

Tuesday July 17 Sherry, this one is for you!

East Lake Hot Spring is a magical little spring that emerges right along the shoreline of the caldera lake bubbling up through the pumice sands.  People have scooped out the sand into a couple of small pools, and edged them with rocks and logs to keep the hot water contained.  The pumice is lightweight and a bit crunchy, but you can scoop it out deeper if you want a deeper pool, and the temperature can be controlled by sweeping more cool water from the lake into your little handmade pool of choice.steamy springs in the morning on East Lake

The momentary drama of last evening was solved easily when Roger and Nancy spent the night at home, calling first thing in the morning to the dealer where they bought their rig.  It was a 2012 model, without electronic keys, so they got a replacement key for just $7.00, and before noon they were back here in the mountains with us, rig opened up, and everything just fine. 

Nancy and I decided to kayak over to the springs while Mo and Roger took the spring hike trail up over the hill.  They found us in the pools, from a high spot overlooking the spring, but certainly not any kind of path I would want to climb down to get there.  Kayaks are the only way to go.  Mo and I had boated over there earlier in the morning for a soak and there already were some kayakers there enjoying the lovely little spring, but they called out saying they would be leaving within ten minutes or so, and I waited my turn.  I had the springs to myself for a long time while Mo paddled east to the East Lake Resort in the distance.

East Lake shoreline hot springsSo my afternoon soak with Nancy was the second of the day for me.  What an amazing treat!  After paddling back to the campground, we all settled in on the beach with the dogs and balls, and Nancy and I even braved the chilly waters for some swimming.  A bit later I thought it might be interesting to see how Jeremy was in the kayak and that turned out great.  He did really well, but finally decided that he wanted to leap back to shore.  It is said that Turkish Angora kitties love to swim and Jeremy may have not loved it, but he definitely was a great swimmer.  He kept his head above water and just swam into shore.  He may have been a bit indignant, and he was definitely a bag of bones with all that wet fur, but he didn’t seem to mind that much.  I took him in a couple more times and he proved his swimming abilities quite well.Jeremy goes kayaking while the doge play

We were treated to a nice clean fluffy cat when he finished drying himself off.  The sun was brilliant and the pumice sands were warm and he liked being there, at least I think he liked it.  He at least didn’t run away.kitty swim

We all settled in on the beach and I kept looking at the dark cliffs on the opposite shore of the lake.  The wind wasn’t too strong and I decided to jump in the boat one more time for an pre-supper paddle. It was only about a mile and a half across the lake, but I paddled hard for a good 45 minutes before I finally approached the cliffs.  No matter how much I paddled, they always seemed as though they were close, but I kept paddling and they didn’t seem to get any closer.  In the shadow of the cliffs, the water was calm, and I could hear it lapping inside the eroded rhyolite volcanic rock caves.  The water was very deep and clear and the cliffs had much more complexity that it appeared from a distance.  In fact, they were almost scary. 

There was a deep spiritual silence there, and the closer I got to the rock, the more I felt as though I needed to ask permission to be there.  I looked up and said a little prayer before I paddled close and touched those dark rocks.  Yeah, it was spooky, for no reason I can name.  A powerful spot.  I turned away after a time and paddled straight back across the lake without much trouble.  I had purposely left the camera behind so I wouldn’t have to worry about it, and as I was silently cruising around those rocks I thought it was properly fitting that I didn’t photograph the moment.rougher than it looks!

The next morning Mo and I woke to glassy waters and decided that it would be fun to cross the lake once again, returning by way of the springs.  Within minutes of launching, a big lake wind came up making for a very rough crossing. This time I did have the camera, but the I took very few photos, since I was paddling hard against the wind and current. We reached the cliffs, which seemed less spooky and actually more dangerous with the rough water.  I could see how a storm could bash you right up against those dark rocks.  We didn’t linger, and decided that it would be safer and easier to skirt the shoreline along the northeast side of the lake along the Cinder Hill campground and around past the East Lake Resort to the hot springs.

By the time we reached the springs, we had been on the lake longer than planned so a dip wasn’t in the cards, but it was good to be there at least one more time.  Roger and Nancy had already left early that morning and we needed to be in Lapine by mid afternoon.  We packed up in a nice breeze but I was still sorry to leave that beautiful, warm and sunny beach. East Lake reflections

On the way out I thought it would be good to stop at the visitor center, but the parking was extremely limited, with only 15 minutes on the south side of the road and no parking signs everywhere else.  I figured it wasn’t worth it, but hopefully next time I go to East Lake I can stop in to read about the monument and the geology.  The Newberry area is “hot”, and there is some controversy brewing about companies planning to inject water under high pressure deep into the fissures in the lava to generate steam power.  Ahh, let’s mess with nature just a little bit more.  But since I am still writing this without the benefit of the internet, you will just have to search it out yourself!

 

 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Leaving the prettiest place in the world…

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For the other prettiest place in the world.  Or maybe there are others, but do you remember ever saying “That was the best ever”, and knowing that the next one would definitely be the “best ever”?  Leaving Rocky Point on a clear summer morning seems a bit silly, unless of course you are heading north toward Sisters and a quilt show that probably rivals one of the best ever.  Although I have never been to Paducah, Kentucky or to the Sisters show before either. 
The MoHo is all loaded up and we are ahead of schedule.  Just enough time to write a bit about what has been and what is yet to come.
DSC_0079 Best little trip recently was a quickie north to Collier State Park where I met up with Jerry and Suzy, a couple of RV bloggers I have followed for some time now.  To say they are a delightful couple is an understatement, and as usual, a couple hours of visiting time at their sweet comfy rig in the shade flew by.  We didn’t even have to go out to eat!  You know how you set that one up sometimes….just in case something or another is awkward and you need a table between you and a waitress to mediate.  I am so glad I got to meet the two of them, and look forward to their next trip our way so they can come out to Rocky Point for a visit as well.  Don’t you just love their traditional matching tee shirts?
DSC_0006 The delphiniums finally bloomed in front of the cabin, just in time for the wind and the sprinklers to knock them over.  Soooo glad I got a photo of them the morning before that happened.  Then I decided it was time to entertain some local Rocky Point folks for a nice dinner.  I think the last time I had Wes and Gayle (our next door neighbors who winter in Tucson) over I fed them hot dogs cooked on a pitchfork.  This time I went all the way with a French Country dinner including appetizers and an Apple Galette for dessert.  It was great fun to have someone to cook for, but once a yeIMG_0758ar might be enough for that kind of dinner! 
I invited another local Rocky Point couple to join us, Jim and Mata have lived here for decades.  Jim was the contractor who built Mo’s house and Mata is one of the first members of the local quilt guild of which I am the newest member.  I even had fun!  Isn’t that the point?  Although most women know how hard it is to have fun when you are doing a dinner party with the timing thing always in the back of your mind.
Tomorrow is the quilt show, and we will be meeting up with Roger and Nancy in Lapine for an evening of fun before taking their car to Sisters.  (The MoHo will wait safely back in uncrowded territory!) Nancy and I get to play why Mo and Roger hang out in the park. That way we can look and shop to our hearts content without worrying about them getting bored with the whole thing.
The next day we will all travel east toward Newberry Crater and Paulina Lake for some high mountain forest service camping.  Did you notice no car on the back of the MoHo!  Kind of fun to load the kayaks on that trailer, nice and low!  Hopefully we will get a spot close enough to the lake to make up for the fact that I have yet to order those little wheelie thingies that Sherry and David have.  Oh boy!  camping, kayaking, family, and quilts!!!  Does it get any better anywhere??
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Sunday, July 7, 2013

July Fourth

In Rocky Point, Oregon Sunny and Clear Current temperature 70F Hi today family fourth86F Low today 59F

I know I must say this every year, but I LOVE the Fourth of July.  No reason that makes any sense, I love my country, but I don’t get excited just because she is having a birthday.  I just love the day.  I have “issues” around it.  If I am somewhere my family is not, I will get as weepy as a kid at Christmas without Santa.  My kids know this about me and just shake their heads.  Even truck driving daughter Deanna has managed to surprise me with a July Fourth visit now and then from half way across the country.  My kids remember two things, I am sure.  Potato salad and sack races.  They all hated those dang silly yard games that I made them play when we all got together for the holiday picnic. 

Grandpa Lance with Matthew and Steven on the 4th at Tubbs Hill in 1986

Lance with our grandsons, Matthew and Steven in 1986Back when they were younger, and we all lived in or near Coeur d’ Alene, we would pack a picnic and hike around Tubb’s Hill to watch the fireworks over the lake. There are family stories that have grown to mythic proportions about those hikes to the lake, and then the hikes back around in the dark to the car.  Just a couple of miles, with flashlights, and lots of people.  It was fun.  I was insistent that we have a picnic, no matter the weather, and there were some very wet, very rainy picnics on a blanket under the big red wagon in Riverfront Park.  Our favorite family story includes a rainy hike around the hill and a place we dubbed Guacamole Cave, named for our snack entertainment while we waited out the storm on the way to the lake. My husband Lance was alive, my two little grandsons were just 3, and now they are both 30 years old.  It was a different world and a different life, but we still have potato salad!

Guacamole Cave on Tubb’s Hill (our own personal name of course)

Lance, Michael, Sue, Matthew, Steven, Deborah, Melody, and friend in Guacamole CaveIn recent years, since I have been in Klamath Falls, we have trundled ourselves downtown to enjoy the local parade, and then waited for the very late fireworks over Lake Ewauna, with varying degrees of delight.  Sometimes the midges are out, sometimes the wind blows too hard for the big booms to make it high enough over the trees.  Sometimes it is hot.  Sometimes it is wonderful.  This year I didn’t care how wonderful it might be, I just decided that maybe the potato salad and family games on the cool green lawn in the cool Rocky Point shade would be enough.  It was.  In fact, it was very nearly perfect. 

Deb to the cottage-014 Mo and I were recuperating in the quiet house this morning and she said to me, “You know, I think this was the best Fourth of July ever”.  I couldn’t agree more.  Of course, there was an extra little treat that made it even more special.  I got to have TWO daughters here instead of my loyal youngest who lives nearby.  My eldest daughter Deborah has returned to Oregon, and was here for the holiday.  In fact, she is now settled into the cottage for the time being, as she readjusts her life and leaves Texas behind.  She loved some of Texas, in fact she loved most of Texas, but other parts of the situation weren’t acceptable, and she decided the best place to be was home near family.  Mo and I never intended the cottage to be a place to live, but we still have been fixing it up so it was perfect for Deb.  We now have a caretaker, and with the third interview in the works for a local Grants Pass job, Deb may just be settling in to an even better situation in the near future. 

family fourth-001 Of course, with family coming, all the little places we have around for people to stay needed a bit of sprucing up.  We spent several days over at the cottage working on details.  Mo fixed doorknobs, made sure the plumbing was all working properly, made drawings of which plugs were on which circuits, and I raked.  I discovered that those beautiful madrones, evergreen leathery leaves, drop big batches of old yellow leaves as the new leaves emerge, meaning I get to rake that acre in June as well as in the fall!  Oh, wait….Deb is there now!

We also have the little cabin here at Rocky Point, next to the house, and it is a great place for Melody’s family to stay when they visit.  It even has its very own composting toilet, a nice little kitchen and refrigerator, and hot water heater.  We love having people stay there, and it is nice to open it up and freshen the air, and dust the cobwebs away. 

Gardening has taken a big priority this time of year as well, and the flowers are just now coming into full bloom.  The incredibly hot weather we had last week has dissipated and now we are back to cool nights and mornings and days in the low 80’s with bluebird skies.  Ahh….perfect.  Of course, with all these projects going on, quilting has taken a very back back seat in the list of priorities.my favorite columbine

Melody came with her family the night before the 4th and we celebrated the beginning of the holiday morning with a big pancake breakfast.  Even though the heat has lessened a bit, it was still a good idea to get out on the lake before the sun was high and hot, and we were on the water in the 4 kayaks before 9.  It was a perfect morning paddle with me, Melody, Xavier, and Axel while Mo waited back at home for Deb to arrive.

kids at Harriman We paddled south into Pelican Bay from the Rocky Point launch with a plan to continue into the Harriman Spring run and then back out through the marsh into Klamath Lake.  love that osprey

The spring run was gorgeous, and we saw pelicans, cormorants, lots of common terns, several great egrets, a few blue herons, Canada geese, and a beautiful osprey who posed nicely, and a beaver who was too fast for me.  Is he making bird sounds?

Xavier has only paddled once before but by the time we finished our 2.5 hour trip he was leading the pack. 

which way did you say to go? We couldn’t find our way to the lake through the vegetation, even though the water was high enough, but the wocus and rushes and tules were just too thick to paddle through easily so we backtracked to Harriman Spring.I think Deb likes the kayak, and she is wearing Bel's Habitat for Humanity hat.  Nice.

When we returned, Deb was relaxed in the living room, and after putting the final finishes on the potato salad I went out for another 2 hour paddle with a different group.  Melody and I went out with Mo and Deb and went the opposite direction, south into Pelican Bay and through the marsh back to Harriman Spring. 

Mo and Deb led Melody and me into the marsh from Pelican Bay and we found the way through this time on the afternoon trip This time we made it through, but it was interesting to see just how different the trip can be depending on the time of day.  The morning was still and full of reflections and the afternoon had fewer birds and a lot more wind.  Both trips were wonderful and by the time we all got back to the house we were ready to fire up the bbq for burgers and POTATO SALAD!  Yum.

Axel On the previous evening we pulled out the Bocci Ball set and played some good games with Melody and the kids, so we were ready to redeem ourselves again with another round on the grass.  Bocci is so much fun, very little equipment needed, just those balls and a place to throw them.  By the time we finished the last game and Melody and her family departed for Klamath Falls, we all felt perfectly satisfied with our family fourth.

Xavier I didn’t hear a sound out here.  Fireworks aren’t allowed in the forest, and even on the private land I think most folks care about the fire danger and don’t want to jeopardize our beautiful forest home.  I love fireworks, but I surely didn’t miss waiting around until 10:30 at night for them to start, fighting the traffic, and then driving home around the lake near midnight.  Deb spent the night here before going home.  I can’t say just how much I missed her.  Even though we were as close as the phone and email, Texas is still a very long distance and knowing she is just over the mountain is soul satisfying in a deep way.  Two out of four kids close by is a pretty good ratio, I think, in this day of dispersed families.

checking the distance We are now planning for a short trip next week when I will finally get to visit the famous Sisters quilt show.  Roger and Nancy (Mo’s brother and SIL) will be sharing that with us, and after the show we will all go up into the Newberry Crater east of Bend for a couple of days camping at East Paulina Lake.  Excited about that one.  I remember the last time I was there it was raining, but I had a magical kayak trip one evening with fish jumping all around me and practically jumping into my boat.  I also know now where the lakeside hot springs are located and plan to check them out.

family fourth-028 I am still making progress on our plans for next winter, and with the help of some blogger friends have managed to get plans and reservations firmed up as far as the end of January and South Padre Island.  The planning process, especially so far out in time, seems a bit daunting to me, especially with the necessity to know where we will be in February in Florida so I can make reservations there.  We traveled all of Alaska for almost two months without reservations, but I don’t think that would be very smart in Florida that time of year.  Of course, the Military Fam Camp in Key West, our most distant destination, doesn’t take reservations anyway, but I still need to have a general idea of when we will be there.

A couple of weeks ago I was incredibly stressed, going through all sorts of stuff with kids and such, and a friend listened to me saying, “I know it sounds trite, but it will pass”.  You were so right, dear friend, it has passed.  It all worked itself through, the daughter is here, the kids are fine, and I am back to enjoying my lovely little stress free life of retirement!  Good advice!!