Capitol Reef NP

Capitol Reef NP
Capitol Reef NP

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

08-18-2020 Hiking to Boundary Springs

Even though we originally thought we might do our Boundary Springs hike and then go home, we decided it wouldn’t be a problem to spend another night on “store” and continue our camping trip as planned.

After a good breakfast we headed back up Highway 230 toward the north entrance of Crater Lake and the Boundary Springs Trailhead.  We stopped along the route a couple of times, once to photograph a distant pointy peak.  I was surprised when I walked to the edge of the roadway and discovered this magnificent example of downcutting in the cemented pumice from the explosion of Mt Mazama, (Crater Lake) 7700 years ago.

We also stopped at the bridge crossing Muir Creek where we had noticed a camping rig parked among the trees on the previous day.  Pulling in to check it out we discovered a lovely dispersed campsite with room for a couple of rigs without imposing on anyone’s privacy.

There was a tent settled into a site along the creek, but still plenty of room that would accommodate another camper without being intrusive.

Continuing north on the highway, we again stopped at the main trailhead where we encountered a large family getting ready to hike to the Springs. They said the hike was 5 miles round trip. Good to know that we could lop off a mile or two of the total hike by returning to the dirt road we found yesterday that intercepted the trail closer to the springs.


We drove to our dirt road that we found yesterday that cut off some distance for us by intercepting the trail closer to the springs. I think our total hike was between 3 and 4 miles, but I discovered my Fitbit is seriously overestimating mileage. My 36 inch stride has shortened considerably since I started hobbling along with sticks. Time to reset stride length so I get reasonable mileage numbers. After returning home I did a bit more research and found a good map of our hike and discovered that we had indeed covered 3.5 miles round trip from where we entered the trail to the springs and back.


The hike wasn't difficult, with some ups and downs, but a fairly smooth surface thanks to the deep pumice soils. The family overtook us in short order even with our short cut. During the hike we passed a woman from Arizona, a couple from San Jose, and another young couple.

We all stayed distanced as we greeted each other and the two couples stepped off the trail and donned their masks as we passed. I thanked them and we covered our faces with our shirts, feeling silly that we had left our masks in the car. I find I am much less concerned when outdoors and tend to be less vigilant. Especially after yesterday where we didn't see another soul on the trails.


Prior to the spring is a magnificent cascade. It is thrilling that there is so much water in the Rogue so close to its source.

The family departed the spring as we arrived so we had it entirely to ourselves as we sat and enjoyed not only the springs but the thought of the mighty river that it becomes.

On the way back out I found myself wondering how long it takes a drop of water to reach the Pacific, and then what happens if it gets caught up in Lost Lake and never gets there...or evaporates on the way. Silly thoughts hiking the headwaters of a great river. Although I never did get an answer to that question, I did find an excellent synopsis of the Rogue River in this website

Another fascinating blog that I found in my research is this one, Boundary Springs, Source of the River.  Great information about the source of the water that forms the springs, and while they don’t emanate directly from the bottom of Crater Lake, the waters move through the deep pumice layers under some of the deepest snows in the western US.

Ripe huckleberries!

I managed the hike with 2 sticks, and noticed my quad muscles really didn't hurt any more at the end of the hike than they did at the beginning. Its just a matter of doing it. I did notice that much of my walking movement is generated from my hips rather than knees or quads so it makes for a bit of a funny looking gait. I remembered something a well known Myositis Warrior said, "Don't mourn what you can no longer do. Celebrate what you still can do."

Lately I have been often saddened when I read about so many great hikes that blogger friends are doing that I know I will never do again. But on this walk I celebrated that I made it to Boundary Springs and that my hiking days may have changed, but they aren't over.


We decided to return home by continuing to the north entrance of Crater Lake and making a loop via highway 62 back to Farewell Bend.

The drive was lovely, but with a bit of overcast the lake wasn't as blue as we have seen it. The view sites were mostly full but we only stopped at one for a few photos.

We were back at camp before 3 and while warm, it wasn't as hot as the previous two days. We played cards at the picnic table for awhile, planning to have supper at 7 so it would be a bit cooler and we could try again for a campfire.


I wanted to walk the short .3 me trail to the Rogue Gorge Overlook along the river. I decided this time to try the walker since the trail was smooth, level, and not rocky. We were alone when we arrived at the overlook but within minutes there were a bunch of families with happy loud kids running around so we made.our exit. It was fun seeing kids playing in the slick rocky pools in the river channel. Most of the times we have been to this part of the river the water has been much too high and wild for this kind of play.


Supper was the best ever and the easiest. Mo started up the Weber Q and I put on two ears of unhusked corn and some nice loin chops.  We cooked and ate at the table with a jar of our homemade applesauce and the other half of our bottle of red we had the first night we were here. We also turned on the generator and the air to let the rig cool down a bit. Amazing what a treat cooled air can be when it is hot and muggy outdoors!

Back inside after supper and a little bit of campfire we finished our card game in the coolness before opening all the windows putting the rig on store and settling into the darkness to read kindles before bed. I love the dark silence of having the rig on store at night. No blinking lights anywhere.

The next morning we turned on the generator again for breakfast, and considered whether we should return to Crater Lake to drive out to the Pinnacles Trail. We decided to wait till the next time we visit so as not to be rushed by the 2 pm check out time.

Instead we once again walked the beautiful Rogue Gorge trail for a couple of miles along the river.  Such a perfect way to end our trip. 

Both of us were really happy that we hadn’t let our battery issues cut our plans short.  Every single day had something wonderful for us and we are already planning to return to camp at Farewell Bend for more explorations into parts of Crater Lake that we have yet to visit.

Monday, August 17, 2020

08-17-2020 Searching for Boundary Springs


Traveling north on Highway 230

After breakfast this morning we loaded ourselves and the dog into the Tracker and headed north to find the fabled headwaters of the Rogue River, Boundary Springs. Even though I had downloaded the Google map for offline use, it didn't work well enough to see detail.

Many acres burned in 2015

Following what was supposed to be the route to Boundary Springs, we bounced along the dirt on the Old Diamond Lake road for almost 4 miles to a small lake lake we thought was it. Google maps even binged that we had arrived at our destination, but the small lake certainly didn’t appear to be any kind of spring.

 

We drove back where the road crossed the Rogue River and I walked a bit up the trail realizing that we had discovered the upper portion of the Rogue River trail that we were fairly certain led to Boundary Springs. 

Google was no help whatsoever, with a curving line of random white dots indicating the general direction of the spring.  Time to give up the search without more information at hand.

We headed back down highway 230 looking for a road we had seen previously leading to the National Creek Falls trailhead. In all this time on back roads we had seen no other cars or people. At the trailhead there was a large parking lot with room for a boondock site and the lot was completely empty.

The trail sign said 1/2 mile to the falls so I figured I could do it. The trail was mostly easy down to the top of the falls but we couldn't see below. Mo didn't know if the trail went to the bottom but I couldn't imagine the trail didn't go to some kind of viewpoint. I knew it had to be close because we  were getting close to half a mile in distance according to my Fitbit.

Sure enough after a few more switchbacks we were at the base of a gorgeous double falls. I am so glad we continued. Its hard for me to know if I am going to hold up so Mo worries about us going too far and not being able to get me back out.

I did OK. Up was a lot easier than down and we are both glad we made it to the waterfall viewpoint.  Standing in the cool mist and listening to the roar of the water was perfect for a hot afternoon.

Back to the rig the afternoon is still and muggy with heavy gray skies and fairly hot. Outside was better than inside but there wasn’t much air either way. Our friends from Rocky Point, Mata and Jim Rust, were to arrive at any time. We were ready with hot dogs and salad but didn’t have cell service to get any kind of message from them so we would know when they left Rocky Point.

We talked a bit about our day, and our plans for the next one.  Originally we had planned to visit Crater Lake, but decided that rather than going to Crater Lake we would backtrack to try to make it to Boundary Springs.

Mata and Jim arrived just after 3 in the afternoon. It was a nice reunion with cautious hugs all around. We stayed away from faces and I noticed I didn't breathe while hugging.

Afterward we all sat nicely apart while visiting.  I noticed that we were a bit closer than 6 feet apart at the picnic table, but since we were outdoors and no one was sick or had been around anyone sick we felt safe enough.
Supper was nice and Mata brought peach upside cake. The girls shared Creamsicle cocktails with Jack and Coke for Jim, his favorite. They left a bit after six in order to get back over the mountain to Rocky Point before dark.

Mo started a fire but it was so hot and muggy that we couldn't enjoy it much. Also, the chocolate filled marshmallows that I had purchased with such excitement were a bust. The chocolate had a weird flavor and wouldn't melt even though the marshmallow got all runny and tasted very strange.

After dishes we were worn out and went to bed at 7:30 after running the generator for just half an hour. I noticed it had dropped to 11.9 and wondered about it.

Sure enough we were wakened at 5:30AM by the screeching CO2 indicator. The batteries were completely dead. Mo wasn't able to open the battery cells before we left on this trip to check for water thinking we would have to take the rig in to get them checked. We hoped that low water was the problem and that the batteries at least take a charge. After running the gennie for two hours, we watched the charge drop again and simply put the rig on “store” for the rest of the day.

Hopefully we can get sealed no maintenance batteries when we get back home. That is what we wanted last time but we are not sure why we didn't get what we asked for. It was something about availability but I will have to go back to our records to remember. We are lucky there are no posted rules about generator hours here. Our spot is fairly isolated with only one other rig several hundred yards from us. Thankfully our generator isn't very loud.

We woke after a very dark silent night feeling ok about our options. We ran the generator long enough to charge the batteries and put the coach back on store for the day. There was nothing in the fridge that would spoil and it stayed cool enough with the doors closed. Ice cream was a little soft by evening but we could live with that.

Our first instinct to give up and just go home dissolved with the light of another pretty day ahead. Even though a camping trip is a goal in itself the other goal for this trip was to view the headwaters of the Rogue River and I didn’t want to miss my chance to get there.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

08-16-2020 Camping Along the Rogue River

We had planned to leave by noon, with no real rush to get to the campground since we couldn’t check in until 3 PM. We needed propane and fuel in the MoHo and a few other grocery items that I had forgotten to bring and by the time we were actually on the road it was almost 1:30. 

Then, as we traveled south on our usual route leaving town on I-5, out of habit when we are going east I told Mo to use exit 40 so we would be sure to miss the narrow bridge that almost wiped out the side of the MoHo one time in the past.  What I forgot, however, was that we were NOT going to Klamath Falls, we were going to Crater Lake and should have taken exit 43 to go through Gold Hill.  These kinds of mental glitches are so annoying.  The extra miles weren’t terribly troublesome as we meandered the long way around toward the east, and we still managed to get to the park right at 3PM.

I had reserved site 59 without much to go on at the Recreation.gov website, but found a campground map and a photo of the site online somewhere and it looked level and private.  We weren’t disappointed.  The site was quite lovely, very close to the last site in the park on an almost empty loop.  We were surprised to see how many sites were marked with an “open” sign. 

After settling in, we decided to walk the campground a bit and check out the river.  I made notes of sites that looked appealing to us. 

Our favorite was site 40, right on the river, large, level, and fairly private.  Other sites that would be acceptable would be site 39, 26, 47, and 58.  We did love the fact that our site 59 seemed to be out of the main path for people walking dogs and for kids on bikes.  We rarely saw anyone pass by. 

Farewell Bend campground is visible from the highway but the only part you can see well without entering the park are sites 1 through 10, tightly spaced between the river and the highway, and one of the main reasons we  had never considered staying in this particular campground in the past. 

Our closest neighbor

We were pleasantly surprised to find that the rest of the campground was well laid out, with plenty of space between sites, and level sites with nice big picnic tables, although most sites had a considerable distance between your rig and the table.

It wasn’t far to the river, and I thought it might be a good opportunity to try out my new walker.  I don’t need it all the time yet, but I am trying to be proactive and prepared, and I have enjoyed using it around home sometimes.  It was fine on the road and on the trail, but not quite so good on the rough rocks along the river.  I did manage to bump along but had to carry the walker a few times where it was especially rough.  Kinda misses the purpose of a walker I think.

I did enjoy sitting in my comfy seat as I watched Mo take Mattie to the water.  As usual, Mattie wasn’t all that interested in swimming, but loved running around in the soft sand and climbing rocks.  Climbing is her most favorite thing.

I think the walker did help me out a bit and I felt pretty good until evening when I was thoroughly wiped out.  This camping trip is another test for me, to see what I can and cannot do.  So far, so good.  We ate our spaghetti dinner outside and then played some cards after dinner at the picnic table.

Both of us were tired after spending the day loading, driving and setting up camp and we were in bed with out books by 7:30.  The air was warm and heavy with predicted thunderstorms.  Somehow they missed us and with no phone service or internet we had no clue if anything was coming our way our not.

As I fell asleep I laughed at myself wondering how I manage to miss things we need for a trip. I made long lists and we checked them off as we packed. Still...we invited friends for hot dog night  while we are here and in spite of all the condiments, buns and extras, at the very last-minute I realized I hadn't put in the hot dogs. Once at the campground, making salad for supper , I realized that I had forgotten the rest of the fresh food waiting in the fridge at home. I had forgotten the onions and peppers for the company mac salad, and cream for the planned “creamsicle” cocktails for our guests. Then in the middle of the night I discovered that I should have checked for Advil, assuming our big jar was still in the rig, but no. I must have taken it in the house for whatever reason. Tylenol just doesn't do it for the first night in the rig backache. Sigh.

It was a dark quiet night and quite warm till midnight or so and I only woke up 2 more times. By morning the backache was gone.

Tomorrow we are planning to explore an unknown trail to Boundary Springs, the headwaters of the Rogue River.  Looking

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Turning off All Comments as of August 12 2020

 


Even though I must moderate all comments on this blog, I have been having to manage more than 20 spam comments per day that are awful links to spam sites.  I have no idea why this has been happening for the last few weeks, and have chosen to faithfully delete each comment after marking as spam.  They are commenting on blog posts from the past few years in addition to my recent posts.  It is tiresome, and I am worn out.  I have hidden the comment section and restricted comments to blog followers only.  I will possibly open up for commenting for a few days after making a travel post, but will disable again if it becomes troublesome.  I have enjoyed your comments so much over the years.  If you wish to comment, you can still do so directly to me via email.  Most of the folks who comment are people I know personally and who have my personal email.  So be it.  Such a bummer, but only reflects the nastiness that seems to be taking over the world for the moment.  I pray for healing and kindness for all of us.

In addition to the frustrations with spam, it seems that with the new update of windows 10 my version of Live Writer which has been working perfectly, refuses to post this blog, so I am back to the blogger format.  Another reason that I may just give up entirely.  We will see.  And, discovering as I attempt to put in a photo, google can't seem to see my links to my smugmug photos either.  Frustrating to say the least.  So a heads up.  Who knows if I will be back or not.