Sunday, August 31, 2008

Paulina Report and Prepped for Portland

Well Paulina was fun but kind of unremarkable. It was fun meeting our friends at their cabin, Bos brought his friend Jack along, too. Nice getting out on the lake in a small, rented boat with a itty-bitty motor that only ran at idle or wide open, and great relaxing by the lake at the cabin.

Our campsite was a bit less than relaxing as we had a giant motorhome next to us that pushed the "Generators may be run for up to two hours, twice a day" rule to three hours three times a day. Also, a rowdy bunch of birthday party/home from Iraq party people were not too far, either. I'd much rather listen to them than the incessant hum of a generator, running some god-knows-what power hungry appliance while the inhabitants of said land yacht are at the next campsite over playing bridge.

Only you can prevent nebulae.

The rented boat was to save us the four mile hike around the lake to the hot springs (midwife's orders.) I am glad we didn't make the trek on foot because we didn't really soak very long. The pools were definitely nice and hot, but they required some digging with my handy army surplus folding shovel and were pretty silt-y for awhile after deepening them. The best pool was at the west end of the beach. Lined with logs, it was right on the edge of the lake so regulating the temperature was easy.

The problem with being right on the lake was the massive amount of nasty fish egg globules forming flotillas bigger than many southern pacific islands and intruding into the hot springs. Oh well. I am still trying to figure when a better time of year would be to get a nice soak. We searched for East Lake hot springs on Sunday morning before heading back home. We never did find them.

On our way home we took a turn on a fairly washboard-y forest road toward McKay falls. Once back there we found a nice little primitive campground along Paulina Creek with plenty of beautiful pools to splash/soak in and some nice hikes up and down stream to various waterfalls.

It is also rumored to be where you park to hike upstream 2 miles to some natural waterslides. The water here is nice and warm, the creek fed by the warm top waters of Paulina Lake.

Now I've got to get Totoro cleaned out and ready for a trip to Portland for a wedding.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Preparations for Paulina

I suppose I should clean Totoro out.

I have a theory/lazy habit that if I don't unpack from camping, I'm always prepared to go camping.

A flaw in that theory is when you leave perishable supplies in the van for a week or two of the hottest weather seen in Central Oregon this summer. Or when you forget you exhausted your supply of necessities like toilet paper/matches/Red Vines/Mike&Ikes etc. and don't stock up before your next trip.

We are headed to Paulina Lake next weekend for two or three nights. There are hot springs on Paulina Lake as well as East Lake; Sommer and I have been dying for more soaking so this I a major draw to the area for us. The problem is that both springs are said to be about a 4 mile hike around to the north side of the lakes. Normally, four miles would not be an issue but, with Sommer being told by the midwife not to hike or bike the rest of the pregnancy, it looks like we'll be boating across. Oh well. I suppose paddling a canoe is less stress on your pelvis than Sommer's usual cliff drops and table tops on a Mt. Bike.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Overnight in the Ochocos and the Painted Hills: Part Two

Sunday morning we woke up to bright sunshine and made breakfast and coffee.

We decided to pack up and head to the Painted Hills about 40 miles east.

We could've headed back over the Ochoco Pass on NF-2630 and come out in the valley just before the turn to the Painted Hills but that will have to wait. We headed out to HWY 26 and east toward Mitchell and turned north toward the hills.

Arriving at the information center, we filled the canteen, had a bathroom break and read up on the geology of the area. As we were loading up to explore the area, I found a small plastic cow of E's had jumped ship and was making a run for it.

We drove up to a view point and Sommer snapped this picture:

Down the road there was a short hike around one of the smallish examples of the hills. They are very interesting up close. (The hills and the cows.)

Suddenly all the color drained out of the world. . .

We headed from the beautiful Painted Hills to tiny Mitchell and got ice cream sandwiches and checked out the local Black Bear, Henry. The small sign on Henry's not-apparently-reassuringly-secure habitat says that Henry was born on a bear farm and had his claws removed as a cub. It also says he enjoys wrestling with his keeper, playing with his ball and long walks on the beach. Henry is a Scorpio. I'm exaggerating a bit there. My pictures of Henry didn't turn out but I assure you he is indeed a large Black bear.

We made our way back through the Ochocos on HWY 26, stopped at Ochoco Reservoir for a splash and a snack and then headed home to Bend.

We had a wonderful time and I know we'll be back out that way again, maybe we'll scout some potential group sites for a VW get together. Maybe a pre or post Maupin camp.

Overnight in the Ochocos and to the Painted Hills: Part One

We took a quick overnight trip to the Ochoco Mountains outside Prineville, Oregon. Here's a map of where we ended up traveling:

View Larger Map

We took off around 4:00pm after a friend's birthday party and headed through Prineville past Ochoco Reservoir into the hills. My google directions got us fairly close to our ultimate destination, Walton Lake. The roads along the way were twisty and the scenery was amazing.

There were Forest Service signs that took us away from our directions but in the end saved us some time/miles. At one fork in the road, a cow was munching grass in the "vee" of the road. Open Range for sure.

As we pulled up to the the tiny seven acre lake, a sign out front informed us the camp was full. We made a loop around the lake and headed back down the way we came in search of a nice, secluded, dispersed campsite. We saw a sign at the vee with NF-2630 (where Cow was now nuzzling on his friend, Other Cow) with two campgrounds listed as 1 mile and 3 miles up the road. We went for it. The view out Totoro's dirty windows was so incredible. Late evening light coating pastures, valleys and forests in dripping butterscotch. We climbed the smooth gravel road and went past one mile with no sign of any campground, past three miles, and over the top of Ochoco Pass at 5289' with no camps to be seen.

Turning around, we headed back to a sign we'd seen at a tee saying HWY 26 was 4 miles away and found a couple guys in a pickup at the intersection. They said down that road toward the highway there was a prairie with a spring and a few roads leading off into the surrounding forest. We headed down and found the turn into the fields, past a horse camp and up into a little spot with a long dead fire-ring. It was dinner time for sure so I got a fire going for some turkey dogs and heated up some chili. E crashed with Sommer pretty quick after dinner, while the Bos and Sis stayed up with me playing with the camera.

After they snuggled into there sleep ing bags in the tent I was left alone to watch the fire die down and the meteors fire up. I saw a few tiny flashes among the countless stars. I listened to Sis and Bos talk as FRIENDS for the first time in forever. Their subjects: Sharks, Mythbusters, etc. I listened quietly, I think they forgot I was there as they forgot about annoying each other. It was getting cold so I took a couple rocks form the fire ring, wrapped them in my flannel and put them a the end of the bed as I climbed into Totoro. It was my best idea yet! Sommer really appreciated it as the down comforter trapped the heat around our feet. As I was drifting off to sleep, a super bright meteor burned across the entire slice of sky i could see out the top of the back window.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Hambone Springs and Bagby Hot Springs, Part Three

The drive down forest road 58 was pretty but as we got further and further down hill we started seeing more and more other cars and big RV's and such. Sommer, E, and Bos all slept in the back on the way to Austin Hot Springs; Sis was a great co-pilot riding shotgun. She fed me eyeballs (green grapes,) played dj and kept me company.

We took the turn for Detroit, south on 224, and headed down to Austin Hot Springs. None of us had been there before and it was a bit of a shock. I had no idea it was sort of a hillbilly campground/motorcross track/skeet shooting range/hot springs combo. Twas not our kind of scene at all. We turned tail and made a run back down the road to the turn off for Bagby Hot Springs.

Once there we loaded up a back pack with some PB&J supplies and some fruit and started the 1.5 mile walk back to the tubs.

It was incredibly beautiful and a nice stretch of the legs. Oddly enough there were trolls under each little foot bridge. Sommer and I couldn't see them, but the kids caught a glimpse of a couple beasties.

We passed some beautiful spots that looked like amazing swimming holes, though I'm sure the water was a bit chilly.

A troll shower.

The wait to soak in one of the private tubs was only about 10 minutes, just enough time to eat some PB&J. Soaking was so nice. Relaxing, cleansing, and fun.

The requisite GIANT LOG PHOTO.

We left Bagby and continued down the road through the middle of the Cascades, past Breitenbush into Detroit, over Santiam pass to home. We had a wonderful time!