Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Back in the mountains.

 The fishing tournament got kicked off at 4:23am; one hour before sunrise. :-)
The boats with the conventional outboard engines aren't all that noisy but the jet boats can be.  I think some guys, much like their trucks and motorcycles just like loud toys.
By mid-morning we decided to head into Bend for grocery shopping, laundry and propane then head back to the mountains. Someplace a little quieter perhaps.
We got back on the Cascade Lakes Hwy in Bend. At the higher elevations near Mt. Bachelor, there is still a fair amount of snow on the ground. We stopped next to Sparks Lake. There were people snowshoeing, cross country skiing and hiking in shorts. It was in the low 80*'s; a perfect summer day.

Saturday afternoon is about the worse possible time to look for a campsite. We drove through the very small Point campground on Hosmer Lake, but both of the RV spaces were taken. Elk Lake campground was closed. South campground had some spaces open but none that were very special or even reasonably level. Then we went to Mallard Marsh and got real lucky. We're right on the marsh that surrounds Hosmer Lake. (43.96212 -121.78374) Our view is the marsh, then the lake then the evergreens with Mt. Bachelor in the background. No power boats allowed on the lake so it's very popular with the canoe and kayak people. Catch and release, fly fishing only.

It's very peaceful here, mostly just a bunch of quiet old people like us. Hmmmm.

Mt. Bachelor.

Mt. Bachelor as the storm approaches. It never quite made it to where we were.

I identified a new-to-me tree today. A Western Hemlock. It's a very common tree. According to the book "No tree exceeds this one in pulp quality and yield for high-quality newsprint and book, magazine and tissue papers". You just might be blowing your nose on a dead hemlock tree.

We continued on to Little Lava Lake, one of our most favorite campgrounds. (43.91019  -121.76319) We came across it on one of our previous trips to Oregon. There is one very special campsite we stayed in the last time but someone was already there. Most of the weekend campers had left, that was the plan, so we were able to get a great site right on the Deschutes River.   Little Lava Lake is the headwaters of the Deschutes River. Gopher and I waded across the river much as we did when we visited the headwaters of the Mississippi River some years back.

Deschutes River

Our campsite

Our view of the river

The beginning of the Deschutes River

Little Lava Lake. Mt. Bachelor in the background.

A male Mallard duck.

.Identified another conifer today. The Englemann Spruce.  Per the book "It's used to make the finest violins in the world".

 It rained a little last night and this morning was chilly and grey with a misty rain. We've stayed in this campground before, so decided to go exploring. There are three other FS campgrounds within about ten miles of here. First we drove through the Cow Meadow campground which is located right on the bank of the Deschutes River. It's a small campground having only 18 sites. This would be a great spot for the fly-fisher types. After that we went to the Cultus Lake campground. It's very big with 55 sites, a paved boat ramp and dock. The lake allows boats of all types. This isn't the type of campground we tend to enjoy. We continued on to Little Cultus Lake where we will be for the next several days. (43.80045  -121.86466) Little Cultus Lake allows power boats but with a 10 mph speed limit so that eliminates the jet skies, go-fast boats, jet boats, and such. Plus access is via a three mile long marginally maintained gravel road so that will really keep the crowds away. There are 31 sites here. Tonight it's us and one guy in  a tent. Our kind of place.
We're is a very large pull-through site, #4, completely surrounded by trees and directly on the lake. We have our own little beach area. From our site we can't see another campsite. This campground is easily in our top five all-time favorite campsites. Maybe even the number one formal campground. Our boondocking site on Lake Superior in the Michigan, U.P. remains our favorite overall campsite.

Out campsite

Our view
The weather guessers are predicting close to freezing temperatures tonight with a 30% chance of precipitation in the form of a "winter mix".

Saw three new-to-us birds today. A Red-Brested Sapsucker, a Yellow-Rumped Warbler and a Dark-eyed Junco.

No "winter mix" but a slight drizzle last night.  Helps keep the dust down.
There are a lot of old downed trees in the area so I collected a good supply of firewood. It never got much above 50* today so the fire felt real nice.
As I type this, Gopher is looking out the screened door at the chipmunks eating the oatmeal I put out earlier. I can just imagine what she's thinking. "Wonder what they taste like? Chicken?"

Keeping warm.

Little Cultus Lake

I found this piece of wood for our fire. It had a bowl shaped cavity in it. As the piece heated up, pitch pooled in the cavity and eventually caught fire. The orange pool of sap is at the left hand side of the "bowl". That's what's burning.
Yet another perfect day.