Sunday, July 01, 2012

Estacada Area


The plan was to stay in this campground longer, but an unanticipated need for some dental work for me took us toward Salem on this beautiful, sunny day. We were finished, and on our way, by noon time. After some Chinese takeout from Safeway, we headed for the BLM administered Molalla River Recreation Corridor near Molalla. There is a county park near Molalla, where for $5 I dumped the tanks and filled up with water.
We're in the heart of the Willamette Valley. This was the destination of the pioneers traveling the Oregon Trail. There are farms everywhere. A lot of them, I suspect, are still in the original pioneers family. We stopped at a roadside stand and bought some wonderful raspberries and blackberries. There are cherry trees, Christmas tree farms, berry fields, vineyards, fruit trees, on and on.


 Later in the trip we're going back to the Hood River Valley that we enjoyed so much on previous trips. There is a network of roads around Hood River that is called the Fruit Loop. We'll drive the Fruit Loop. :-)
The Molalla River Rec. Corridor is something a little different. There are named “campgrounds” but the campground is simply a wide spot in the road with a metal fire ring. The only way you really know you've arrived at a campground is by spotting the fire ring. Then you see, nailed to a tree, the name of the campground. The campgrounds are all free. We drove the paved road following the Molalla River for perhaps ten miles just looking around. We came across a very nice “campground” called Mama Bear. (44.99580 -122.48907) It consisted of one fire ring. The river was very accessible from this site and Gopher and I took a little walk along the riverbank. Our site was surrounded by trees and lots of wildflowers.

 Wild blackberries. Will be ripe in a few more days.

 There must be a lot of logging going on in the area because logging trucks, really loud ones, came by perhaps every thirty minutes.

 Our campsite
 The river next to us
 A pretty stream

Identified two new trees today. The Vine Maple and the Rocky Mountain Maple.

Thursday, Friday, Saturday

Loggers go to work real early. The loaded trucks started racing by at about 5am. The three of us were up, dressed, fed, and on the way by 6am. One night at Mama Bear was enough.

Our very early start got us to Estacada by 7:30. The plan was to stay at one of the USFS campgrounds along OR 224 which follows the Clackamas River. We started in Estacada and drove through every campground we came across, looking for the perfect site. Every campground we tried, except for Carter Bridge, has lots of reservable sites. Every one was reserved for the weekend. The sites that were not reserved were either taken or tent sites or just not very nice. After touring campground #4, we came across the Sunstrip campground. (45.15081 -122.10633) It's a very small campground, having only nine sites but the site usually taken by the campground host was available. We have a very large, level, pull-through site right on the bank of the river.
The campground host stopped by to collect the camping fee of $10/night. That's expensive compared to the FS campgrounds we stayed in around the Cascade Lakes area. This campground has a pit toilet, a hand pump for water and trash collection. We had been paying $7/night for sites like this.
After admiring the Lazy Daze, the host commented on our great site. He manages three other campgrounds and said we have one of the best sites of all “his” campgrounds. All the good sites are already take. Good thing we got such an early start.

The sun shined on Thursday until almost noon time. We'll take it.

The river is popular with rafters and kayakers; on Saturday in particular.  No more sunshine for the weekend. We decided to go to the Hood River area on Sunday to explore the Fruit Loop.

 Our campsite
 Our view of the river


Russ Krecklow said...

Sorry to hear of the need for dental work, never any fun. You've certainly found some beautiful places to camp. Have fun on the "fruit loop". Should be nice weather up there.

Jim and Gayle said...

We know all about that emergency dental work. Glad you got it taken care of so quickly.
Hope you found some good fruit. That is a pretty drive.

RJ said...

Just wanted to say how much I enjoy your blog. My wife and I have been fulltiming for just over a year in a 38 ft 5th wheel so I envy the places you find to camp, our rig is too big....may have to plan for a LD soon:)

Travel Safe, Ray