Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Quartzville Recreation Corridor & Back Country Byway

Monday and Tuesday
We left our nice boondocking spot west of Sisters about 9am heading towards the Quartzville Recreation Corridor and Back Country Byway. The east entry point is at the intersection of OR 22 and Straight Creek Road (FS 11).

Quartzville Rec. Corridor

The road, which is all paved, and well maintained, starts out as a narrow two lane road for a few miles, then changes to one lane with frequent turnouts for the majority of the drive, then changes back to two lanes past the Rocky Top Bridge.  There are no guardrails but if you're starting at this end, you're on the inside and not the cliff-side. It's a long way down from the road to the bottom.
There are a lot of rocky slopes along the road and, in places, the road is narrowed to one lane by small rock slides.  Some of the rocks which had tumbled across the road, but not over the cliff, were big enough that you sure wouldn't want to get hit by one.
A small rock slide over the road

 There were beautiful trees.
 And lots of wildflowers
 And waterfalls
Little waterfalls were everywhere

Disbursed camping rules vary a little depending whether your in the Willamette Forest on in the BLM administered portion of the Corridor. We found this great boondocking spot just across the "new" bridge from the Bridge #6 area. We're right on Quartzville Creek which is a National Wild and Scenic River.   44.57629  -122.30109

 Our campsite
 "old" Bridge #6

In 1969 there was a great flood in this area. "To observe the power of this flood, stop at Bridge #6 where you can still see the remains of the original concrete bridge. Imagine the water level and force needed to toss the old bridge aside."
 Quartzville Creek behind our campsite. The water is crystal clear. And colder then a well diggers arse, as they say.
 The "old" Bridge #6 in the background.
Recreational gold mining is a major attraction in this area. But not here!! Do you suppose they still shoot claim jumpers?

I Identified one more tree today, and learned more about another. The new one is the Red Alder. Learned something new.   The Western Redcedar isn't a true cedar, rather it's a false cedar. The word Redcedar is not separated into two words in order to let readers know this fact. If a Redcedar was a real cedar, it would be spelled Red Cedar.
Some Northwest Indians called the Redcedar "shabalup" meaning "dry underneath". The dense, frondlike branches shed rain much like an umbrella. This morning, when I let Gopher out first thing, it was raining. Again. Once more.  I stood under a nearby Redcedar and was perfectly dry. In fact, about two feet out from the trunk it was very dry, in spite of the all night heavy rain. The Indians were right.
The weather for most of Monday day wasn't too bad. Overcast but no measurable rain. The serious rain started in the evening and continued well into today. The last time we've seen sunshine was last Thursday, the 21st. The solar panels and batteries are really struggling to keep up. So far, I haven't had to use the generator, but nor have the batteries been able to fully charge.

 Free firewood. As long as you have a really big axe.

There is one "regular" campground in the area, administered by the BLM, called Yellowbottom. We took a look and can't imagine why anyone would actually want to pay money to stay there.  All along the road there are a limitless number of great boondocking spots right along the creek. If you were driving a 4WD vehicle, like the Siberian Tiger for instance, there are dozens of dirt FS roads to explore.  West of about the Rocky Top Bridge, where the creek ends and the Green Peter Reservoir starts, are lots of spots for the fisherman and boaters. Some people were camped on the shore with their boat parked right next to their campsite.
As an aside, there is no cell phone service in this area.

Some people camp in tents. This guy keeps his RV in a tent. At least most of it.

The weather was really gloomy this morning, Tuesday, so we decided to continue on in search of the sun. The rain forests are nice, in their own special way, but they are so dark, damp and gloomy. A few days is about enough for us.

Came across this piece of OR history on US 20.

This afternoon we are in the Santium Flat USFS campground on the Detroit Lake.  $7 for old folks. We were here during our '08 trip and remembered it for it's nice, opened sites right where the Santium River ends and the Detroit Lake begins. There is no privacy between sites, and there is some road noise during the day, but we need some sun.  Not today but hopefully tomorrow.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Summer is here

Summer officially began on the 20th; the summer solstice. Practically speaking, it began the day local schools were out.
This morning, three pickups pulled into the campground. From the looks of their huge tents, and all the other stuff they had,  they are the advanced team for an even larger group.
We headed on this morning knowing that if we were to get a good spot for the weekend, we needed to arrive on Thursday. We drove through the Quinn River and Rock Creek USFS campgrounds but were not especially impressed. Our problem is that we have become terribly spoiled. If a campground doesn't get an 8 on our scale, we continue on.
There are a limitless number of disbursed camping opportunities in the area. I tried two dirt roads that clearly lead down to the river but they just kept getting narrower and more deeply rutted so I found a turn-around.
Here is our next RV:

Our next RV

No need to turn back with this one.

We went to the dump/water fill near the Gull Point campground. This was out motivation for leaving Little Cultus Lake; we were about out of water.  Then we went to the North Twin Lake USFS campground.  We had driven through here before and were very impressed.  It's a small campground with a decent level of privacy between sites. All three of the direct waterfront sites were taken but we got a nice, fairly level, pull-through site with a limited water view.  Two of the three waterfront sites had tags indicating they were leaving in the morning.  We need to go into Bend to resupply before we head out of this area so we decided to stay here, take a site and see what happened with the other sites in the morning.

The day use area is very popular on these warm, sunny days. It has a nice, large sandy beach. A women I was talking to said the crowd of kids are from nearby La Pine. I was sitting outside just watching the world go by when this pickup truck pulled in and disgorged nine kids, four dogs and a pile of inflated water toys. :-)


I was up early watching the two sites we hoped to get. Sure enough, about 8am the motorhome in Site #9, the best site in the campground, packed up and left. Thirty seconds later, we were in the site. (43.731448  -121.765030) We have an unobstructed view of the lake. It's a small lake, probably not much more then a 1/2 mile diameter. Gopher and I set out to walk around the lake but the weather started looking nasty so we turned back. We did see an eagle fly off it's nest.  Before we leave, we'll finish the walk.
The lake does not allow power boats; another plus from our point of view. Todays forecast calls for mostly rain. In fact, the forecast for the next several days is for cloudy and cool with a good chance of rain. The last few days were just weather perfect. We've got no complaint coming.

 Our site #9
 Our view

An osprey fishing

The rain pretty much lasted all day. For us it wasn't all that bad but not much fun for the tenters.  A group of scouts pulled in this afternoon and had to do all their setup during a pretty heavy rain.
About 7pm the rain stopped. Within a half hour, there were six guys fishing on the lake. I think they were stir crazy from being cooped up all day.

The weather improved some. The rain is mostly an occasional drizzle and now and then, the sun comes out.  Right now it's 1pm and 50* which I suspect will be todays high temp. Gopher and I walked around the lake in the morning. On the far side of the lake, there is a clearing that can be accessed by a Forest Service road. When we're here in the Siberian Tiger :-), that's where we will camp.
From the other side of the lake.


The rain has changed into a heavy mist. By 8am most of the campers were packing up; enough's enough. We were going to stay here another day but decided to head into Bend to run errands before going back into the mountains. We stopped at Wal-Mart, Fred Myers where I got gas for $3.59/gallon, we both got haircuts ($12 each for us old people), did a load of laundry and got Chinese take-out from Safeway, all by about 3pm. Bend has most everything we need but it's a madhouse of traffic.
After errands, we went to Sisters. Sisters is your basic summer tourist trap. Nice enough, but we walked the streets once a number of years ago. That's enough. There is a city RV campground where for only $5, we dumped the tanks and filled up with water.  The RV campground is basically a patch of grass with hookups. Nothing of interest to us.  We have groceries, gas, water and empty tanks. Plus with our new haircuts and clean cloths we both look decent. Life is Good.
We continued west on US 20 to the Deschutes NF about three miles west of Sisters. There are a number of FS roads running off 20. We picked a likely looking one and found a nice boondocking spot for tonight. Near here: 44.31540  -121.57582
Tonights campsite

In the morning we head to the Quartzville Recreation Corridor and Back County Byway.

Quartzville Rec. Area