Posts Tagged With: camping

Goodnight From Harris Beach State Park in Oregon

We are enjoying a four-day escape from home where work has begun on a new roof for our town home. Longtime friends, Kathy and Doug, drove their trailer up from California, joining us to camp and explore Oregon's beautiful Coast. We finished dinner just in time to rush down to the beach and catch the setting sun.

Categories: Road Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Umpqua Lighthouse State Park. We’ve been there…

…or have we?  When Reg reserved our “one night stand” at Umpqua Lighthouse State Park on the coast of Oregon, we both had a pretty clear memory of our prior visit and a mental picture of where we’d be staying as we headed up the Oregon Coast.

When Reg pulled into the campground I commented that it was much more forested than I remembered.  Without another thought we checked in, quickly set up camp and headed out to explore the ‘hood.

Following a one mile trail that looped around Lake Marie, Reg marveled at our surprise discovery.  “I never would have guessed this lake was here,” he said as we watched children splashing in the swimming area.  

When the camp host told us the Lighthouse was just a short quarter mile walk from our campground, we began to have reservations about our reservation!  Perhaps we were not where we thought we were…

Slightly disoriented, we arrived at the Lighthouse and realized why everything felt so unfamiliar.  As it turns out, we’ve never been to Umpqua Lighthouse State Park before…until today that is!  A chat with a crusty old sea captain type who was selling admissions to the Lighthouse Museum cleared up our confusion, reassuring us that we weren’t completely losing our minds.  It seems our memories (and where we thought we had a reservation) are from (we think) Heceta Head Lighthouse, just north of here…where there is no lake and the campsites are not quite so forested!

Categories: Road Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Very tall, very old things

On our way to the Boy Scout Tree in California’s Jedediah Smith State Park today, our camera found several other old, tall living things along the trail, including a former Scout!

Categories: Road Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Newberry National Volcanic Monument Rocks

 

The skies opened up as we parked atop Lava Butte - our first stop of the day.

This was not what we had in mind when we scheduled four days at Tumalo State Park, just north of Bend, Oregon. However, with so much to see and do, we headed out early and hoped the weather report, which called for just a 30% chance of afternoon showers, would be accurate. Silly us!

We would have preferred sunshine, but the view wasn't bad for such a cloudy day.

Lava Butte is located within the boundaries of Newberry National Volcanic Monument. The monument was created in 1990 to protect more than 54,000 acres of lakes, lava flows and spectacular geologic features, remnants of long past volcanic activity in Central Oregon. The butte was our first stop on a rainy morning, a morning that got progressively brighter as we continued to explore.

A narrow road spirals around the butte where ten parking spots are located. Visitors are assigned a time slot and given 30 minutes to spend up top.

Even with gray skies, the view was pretty amazing.

Lava fields extend for miles. A pathway from the Visitor's Center led us up, down and around the ancient piles of lava.

A series of stairs, ramps and railings led us into the cave, but they soon disappeared and we were left with just our flashlights to guide us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It didn't take long before the light dimmed, then disappeared completely. Flashlights are a must!

One of the more unique adventures we discovered at Newberry Volcanic National Park was the walk through the Lava River Cave. Surprisingly, this is a self-guided walk through a pitch black lava tube. We were told the path extended a mile into the cave. Reg exchanged his car keys (for collateral) and ten dollars for two park service flashlights – you can bring your own but make sure the batteries are good and strong! We were educated about bats…although, lucky for me, we didn't see any…and sent on our way.

I've must admit…we didn't walk the entire way to the back of the cave, so I can't tell you what lies at the end of the trail. There weren't many other brave souls making the journey that day and I started getting the the heebie-jeebies.

So…my suggestion to you would be that you plan your own visit sometime soon and find out for yourself what's found the end of the trail…then let me know!

 

Categories: Road Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Lake of the Woods: Relaxation in the Cascades

All is quiet the day after Labor Day at a Lake of the Woods beach.

Mount McLoughlin dominates the Cascade Range during our kayak cruise. A bald eagle watched us at one end of the lake.

Lake of the Woods is the crown jewel of lakes in the southern Cascade Mountain Range within an hour or so drive of Ashland, Oregon.

At 4,949 feet elevation, the natural lake offers relief from summer heat with swimming, boating, fishing and other fun managed by the Lake of the Woods Resort.

We hitched up the trailer on Labor Day and headed for Aspen camp, one of two National Forest Campgrounds on the lake.

The resort was a short walk away from our quiet, deserted campground. We resisted the restaurant but found firewood at the camp store.

The lake's level fluctuates just two feet during a normal year and water temperatures warm to the 70s at the surface. Brook and rainbow trout as well as Kokanee salmon swim in its waters.

Fish Lake was our destination on a nearly seven-mile stroll from North Fork Campground, just a short drive away. We found a greasy spoon cafe that fit the bill perfectly.

Brown Mountain is a backdrop for Reg's stroll.

Fall was in the air as nighttime temperatures dropped into the 30s.

The trail from North Fork campground to Fish Lake follows the North Fork Little Butte Creek.

A boardwalk keeps Trekkers dry during the wet spring months.

 

Categories: Road Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Oregon Coast: A cool summer getaway

 

Beautiful Eel Lake greeted us as we pulled into William M. Tugman State Park.

Smokey Bear made an appearance at the ranger program where kids of all ages enjoyed hearing his story.

When the temperatures skyrocketed a couple of weeks ago, we hitched up the trailer and headed for the fog and cooler temps that the Oregon Coast is famous for.

Having spent only two nights at one campground on our maiden voyage last June, we were eager to test our hookup skills on our second adventure – a seven night/three campground coastal tour.

Our first stop was a two-night stay at William M. Tugman State Park, located just south of the town of Reedsport and the Oregon Dunes Recreation area.

The campground was clean and neat, thanks to the friendly staff and many volunteers who keep the place running like clockwork. We were pleased to find that fires were allowed in the fire pits and wood was available. Eel Lake offered fishing, boating and swimming in addition to a well maintained 4-6 mile (depending on which source you choose to believe) shoreline hiking trail.

Lighthouse tours are available from April through October if you are able to climb to the top and don't have a fear of heights.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A day trip down the coast landed us at Cape Blanco State Park. The westernmost point of the 48 states, it is also home to the Cape Blanco Lighthouse. This coastal beacon has been in use since 1870, longer than any other in Oregon.

We were fortunate to arrive on a crystal clear day. I poked my head out an open door at the top of the north side of the lighthouse for a quick shot of the coast.

If you look really hard you'll find me, feeling small, near the front of the turtle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I could see the turtle more clearly from a distance.

We spent two nights at Turtle Rock RV Resort, aptly named for the massive grouping of rocks that resemble…you guessed it…a turtle.

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Hour at our campsite. Life is good!

Sunset Bay has got to be one of the most beautiful spots along the Oregon Coast. Knowing there were hiking trails, seals and sea lions to see and the beautiful gardens of Shore Acres to explore, were looking forward to the three nights we scheduled here. However, as luck would have it, the fog rolled in early on day one and became our constant companion.

An interesting piece of trivia we found posted at the beach of Sunset Bay.

The sky finally cleared as we finished dinner on our last night so I grabbed the camera and we hurried out to the beach. Would Sunset Bay live up to its name? We watched in awe as Mother Nature put on a magical show for us!

Sunset Bay did not disappoint!

 
 
 
 
 

 

Categories: Road Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Tour du Mont Blanc: Worth every step

The Alps (Mont Blanc on the right) rose like the sun each time we approached the top of the cols, or mountain passes.

Some accommodations required trekkers to stow shoes and boots downstairs.

The Tour du Mont Blanc is complete. As we sit in our Chamonix hotel lobby directly below western Europe's tallest peak, some reflections:

We knew the weather in the Alps was unpredictable, so we packed rain gear, a warm jacket and lightweight clothing designed for layering. We had two days of overcast and some rain at the beginning, then five days of brilliant sunshine with highs in the 60s, 70s and into the low 80s. Cool nights the entire time.

There was a snowstorm (yes, in mid-July) at one of the passes the day before we went through. Later, we had several days of clouds and some rain, but very little precipitation while we were walking. The last couple of days were clear until late afternoon, when rain, thunder and lightning entertained.

Bookings. We booked our tour through an Irish company (Follow the Camino) and asked for a mix of refuges (hostels) and hotels. We wanted to stay in some remote locations where refuges are the only option. We got private rooms, rather than shoulder-to-shoulder dorms, in the five refuges.

Refuges are rustic, noisier, and not as relaxing as the hotels. They also have shared baths. But, they are great places to meet people. We have met lots of people on this trek and often run into them for several days afterward. Generally, the refuges get quiet by 10 p.m. or so.

The hotels on the Tour are nicer and less expensive than chain hotels in the U.S. Both hotels and refuges have bars and restaurants. They are places to hang out after a long day on the trail. The hotels on the Tour du Mont Blanc have character and the staffs have been very welcoming. All our accommodations included breakfast and eight included dinner. The dinners have been very good, some superb.

The Mont Blanc refuge in Trient was packed with at least 70 trekkers, but we met some great people there.

Le Dahu Hotel in Argentiere had the best bathroom and a great breakfast.

What about clean clothes? We use moisture-wicking athletic wear that dries quickly. We often do some laundry in the bathroom sink, wring it out in a bath towel, and it is dry by morning. In Courmayeur, Italy, the hotel did our laundry for 2€!

What's for breakfast? Always bread, butter, jam, coffee, tea and juice. Wonderful fresh croissants almost everywhere. Most places had cereal, yogurt, meat and cheese. Two hotels had eggs and most had fruit.

Lunch was usually a picnic on the trail. The usual fare was fresh bread, cheese and fruit, capped with chocolate. We had lunch at some spectacular settings in the Alps. Hotels and refuges offer packed lunches, but we usually shopped for our own.

The cost of the Tour du Mont Blanc is much less than most other European travel, but far more expensive than the Camino de Santiago in Spain.

Luggage transfer: the routine was to have our small orange-and-black bags at reception by 8 a.m. When we arrived at our next accommodation, we would check in and (voila!) the bags were waiting for us. We carried small Osprey day packs with water bladders during the day. One exception: our bags skipped ahead a day when we stayed at the very remote Refugio Elisabetta. We have carried our own packs on prior treks. We figured the elevation change would make it too tough and we were right.

We had climbed about 2,000 feet before having coffee at Refuge Elena, below. We were part of the way to the col when Sue took this photo. This was one of the toughest days, but led us to 360-degree views from the Swiss-Italian border.

We splurged for lunch at a ski lodge a few days ago. Skiing facilities were plentiful around the Tour.

We have not found language to be a major problem. French is dominant, but most of the time people know at least some English. Sue's study of French this past year has helped.

Many people are doing part of the Tour du Mont Blanc rather than the whole thing at one time. There are quite a few day hikers, especially when the weather is good.

Most go counterclockwise around Mont Blanc, but a significant number go the other way. Hikers usually start in Les Houches, but we met many who started in other places. We started in Chamonix, France, a beautiful and popular resort at the foot of Mont Blanc.

Trekkers readily engage strangers on the Tour. Friendships form quickly, much like the Camino.

Mont Blanc trekkers come from all over world. Europeans dominate, but there are some Americans, Canadians, Asians, and people from other parts of the world. Many travel in groups, some with guides. We are among the older trekkers here. Many seem to be experienced mountaineers and we have seen a number of people running (yes, running!) the trail. They are likely training for the annual Mont Blanc run in August, when some do the entire 110 miles in between 20-plus and thirty hours. There are also a fair number of mountain bikers. We have seen some who push and carry their bikes up several thousand steep feet and then ride down. There are a small number of campers as well.

Almost all refuges allow picnics, especially if you buy a beverage.

Champex, a quaint lakeside village at 5,000 feet, was one of our rest days. Like much of the Swiss part of our trek, places were strangely deserted. Our hotel owner told us the euro's decline has hurt Swiss tourism. It is much cheaper to travel in France, Italy and other countries, she said.

Most people use trekking poles. Sue and I can't imagine not having them, for many reasons. But, we have seen people doing the trek in running shoes and even sandals. Go figure! Few people on this trek wear hats.

Safety. If you are careful and have proper gear, this trek is safe. There are steep drop offs and the ascents and descents are steeper than we expected. Much of the time, each step must be measured on the often rocky and root-covered paths, which takes a lot of concentration and is exhausting. Some of the water crossings have been challenging, but doable. Some trekkers use crampons over snowy passings. Neither of us fell during the trek, but there were a few close calls.

Not much politics, but we have heard a strong dislike of Donald Trump here. Many have expressed concern and have talked about similar movements in their countries. A Danish high school student asked me during dinner about Trump. “Why do you ask?” I questioned. “Because the U.S. President is the most powerful person in the world and Trump scares me.”

Most of all, the astounding views and the chance to meet so many interesting people were worth every step.

As Reg looked up at the snow, he wondered if we had gotten into more adventure than we expected. This was near the beginning of our trek.

 

Categories: Tour du Mont Blanc | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Bullard Beach Escape

Escape is exactly what we did. The weather forecast warned that records would surely break as we packed up and fled the unseasonably warm temperatures of Southern Oregon.

The tide was coming in so we kept to the road on our mid-day walk.

There is nothing quite like camping in Oregon State Parks. Campgrounds and facilities are clean, tidy and located in beautiful spots. Bullard Beach State Park offered us the perfect location, not too far from civilization, for our first experience living the trailer life.

Reg was reminded what a workout it is to walk in the sand.

 

 

The campground is located just over a mile from the shore so be prepared to get some sand in your shoes. The trail took us up and down through the trees, eventually opening on to grass covered dunes.

There are plenty of trails for hiking or biking, plus 11 miles of designated equestrian trails that spring from the park's horse camp.

The Coquille River Lighthouse still stands guard at the mouth of the river.

The high point of our day was the six-mile round trip walk to the Coquille River Lighthouse. Built in 1896, it was decommissioned in 1939 and no longer serves as a navigational aid.

Inside are interesting historical displays and a small gift shop. However, they don't sell any food, so if you walk out to it like we did, don't forget to pack your snacks! Renovation efforts are ongoing and donations are greatly appreciated.

Campsites are nicely spaced and most provide a minimum feeling of privacy.

Each of the three loops of campsites surround a central restroom/shower facility so this is a great place for tent campers as well as RVers.

Yurts are a fun alternative to traditional camping and Bullard Beach has 13 available for rent. You'll need to supply you own bedding and whatever is needed for cooking, but you will be up off the ground with a roof over your head, a bed/futon to sleep on, lights, heating and a lockable door. Reg and I spent a couple nights in yurts along the Oregon coast several years ago. We loved their rustic comfort.

Isn't it time for you to plan your escape?

 

Categories: Road Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Old Town Eureka shines like new

The Carson Mansion, built in 1884-1886, continues to stand watch over Old Town Eureka. Once owned by lumber baron William Carson, it has been a private club since 1950.

We spent four years in Garberville, California soon after we were married. The population was about 1300 back then and Eureka was “the big city” we drove to for much of our shopping. It's always fun for us to revisit Old Town Eureka to see what has changed (and what hasn't) since we first wandered through the historic district 30 years ago.

We were pleased to see so many of the beautiful old Victorian buildings renovated, brightly painted and home to a variety of shops, cafes and professionals. We even recognized a few of our old favorites that have survived the recent economic ups and downs

The Milton Carson home was a wedding gift from lumber baron William Carson to his son.

Pride of ownership is spreading outward from the historic center.

The Arkley Center for the Performing Arts provides an array of cultural events.

For many of these buildings renovations continue both inside and out.

Architectural detail and Victorian era color schemes bring these old buildings to life.

Eureka is located on the Northern California coast in Humboldt county. U.S. Highway 101 will guide you right downtown, but not before first leading you through beautiful coastal redwood forests that blanket the area.

There is plenty of lodging available in town…or the more adventurous can pitch a tent amongst the redwoods in nearby campgrounds or state parks.

 

Categories: Road Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Yurts!

Oregon has the most beautiful campgrounds and we have some wonderful memories of past trips…so when Reg suggested we camp on this trip, I was tempted. Until I gave it some serious thought. Camping for us (even for one night) is never simple so in a desperate attempt to find a compromise for the nature vs. comfort battle, I found Yurts!

Our first Yurt was located on the north coast of Oregon at Cape Lookout State Park (center). The top left photo is our home for tonight, located just south of Newport, Oregon at South Beach State Park.

These ingenious little dwellings are located in many State Parks throughout Oregon (and other places in the country). We checked in and were handed a key…it was that simple! While we needed to bring sleeping bags, pillows and towels, we got a relatively comfortable bed (up off the ground), heat, electricity and use of the campground showers. Each yurt has a picnic table and a fire pit, so you won't miss the fun of toasting marshmallows.

Yurts might not be for everyone, but I think Reg and I agree that they offer us a relatively comfortable, and economical solution (we paid about $40 each night) for Road Trip accommodations.

 

Categories: Road Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: