Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Metolius River and Lost Lake

Chores day. We went to Prineville to do laundry at the place Jim suggested, then dumped the tanks and topped off with water at the Crook County Fairgrounds RV Park ($5). Then it was grocery shopping at Fred Meyers in Redmond. Filled up with our first tank of Oregon gas; $4.13/gallon; the highest price we've seen on this trip.
Then we drove very slowly, that's the only weekend option there is, through Sisters remembering the last time we were there. The view of the snow topped Sisters Mountains, Faith(north), Hope(middle) and Charity(south), was as beautiful as we remembered. Tonight we're at the Allen Springs USFS campground ($7) (44.52738 -121.62892). Our campsite is very large and directly on the bank of the Metolius River affording us a super view. The headwaters of the river are at Metolius Springs, where the river emerges from two clusters of springs, about 300 feet apart. That's why the water is so clear. The springs are at the base of Black Butte. Water flows to these springs from the drainage basin around Black Butte Ranch, several miles to the south. The Metolius River flows 28.6 miles from Metolius Springs through the Deschutes National Forest, emptying into Lake Billy Chinook and ultimately the Deschutes River.
This place is popular with the fly fisherman, although we never saw anyone catch anything. There is a trail running along the rivers edge that goes for miles. Gopher and I has a nice walk. She went for a swim in the 48* water. Brrrr!

 The Metolis River
 Our campsite
 Our view

Some time ago we tracked the Mississippi River to it's source in Lake Itasca, Minnesota. Somewhere in the photo archives is a picture of Gopher and I walking across the river. (I walked, Gopher swam.) At it's source, in the Itasca State Park, the river was about up to my knees and about twenty feet wide. The water was perfectly clear just like the Metolius River. Quite different then the Mississippi River water that discharges into the Gulf.

Jim recommended this camping area. A very good suggestion, indeed. We'll be back.

Today was weigh-in day. We both have health goals and maintaining a reasonably healthy weight is one of them. Neither of us needed a scale to tell us what we already knew, but wished we didn't. Going forward, no more bakery stops and more veggie meals. Our basic eat less, move more type diet like we do at home. For desert after lunch, we have one cookie and split it three ways. Desert after dinner is small bowl of apple stuff with a dollop of frozen yogurt.

A chilly and overcast day. The drizzle started about noon time and continued for the rest of the day. On the positive side, the rain did soften the bugs up enough that I was able to take a rag and give the front of the camper a much needed cleaning.

The predominant trees around our campsite are cedar, but I don't know what type, and Lodgepole Pine with some Ponderosa Pines. Growing in some clearings along the river are some “Christmas trees”, most likely a spruce of some sort. What a botanist would call “mixed conifers”.The tree identification book I have is very limited. Next time we find a book store, I'll get one devoted to the Pacific Northwest. Much like the birds and animals, we just enjoy knowing what trees we're looking at.

Woke up to a mostly decent day but by mid-morning a light, but steady, rain started. We decided to go exploring. Suttle Lake is off US 20/OR 126 west of where were camped. The USFS has three nice campgrounds on the lake. Blue Bay, South Shore and Link Creek. Blue Bay and Link Creek have some sites right on the lake. Most sites can be reserved and were for the upcoming weekend. I suspect these campgrounds are full on most every summer weekend. This morning, in all three campgrounds there was a total of three campers. Any of these campgrounds would be very nice, with Link Creek being our favorite.
We continued west to the Lost Lake USFS camping area which is just west of the Santiam Pass.(4,817'). These OR passes are wimps compared to the CO Rockies.
As we were driving along the one and a half lane road that not quite, circles the lake, an SUV was coming the other way. The guy pulled over so we could get by but said I shouldn't go much further in the camper because the snow on the road gets deeper. We're at 4,000'. I found a place to turn around and we drove back to a nice, snow-free, spot we had looked at coming in. Shortly after we got the camper, we installed a Wave 3 heater. It's been running day and night for the last few days.
We're right here: 44.43121 -121.91228
It's just the three of us with an unobstructed view of Lost Lake. A great place to pass a rainy day or two.

 Our campsite
 Our view
 Right now it's 2:40 pm. 42* and raining. A good day to be wrapped in a blanket.

So often, we find just amazing camping spots only to have an even better one awaiting not far away. Lost Lake is one of those very special places. We'll be back.
We've been wondering where to go after our appointment with AM Solar on June 6. We decided we'll just head back into the Cascade Range where we've been for the last few days.
Oregon is such a beautiful state.


Donna K said...

Hope you visited the Head of the Metolius while you were there. It's a sight to behold, especially when Mt. Jefferson is "out." We agree, Oregon is a beautiful state with much to see and do.

Jim and Gayle said...

Looks like some beautiful FS campgrounds around there.
Sorry to hear your bakery days are over!

Delta Mike said...

That's a good place. I paddled the Metolius three years back. Great ride.

Jimbo said...

Glad to see you made it to the Metolius River. It is a beautiful spot.