Tumble Lake–June 2018

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I, Becky, just returned from an overnight backpacking trip to Tumble Lake, Oregon.  I had not been backpacking for many, many years, and was excited to get a chance to go with the church youth group.  My daughter, Patsy, and niece, Alissa, were going.  It was Patsy’s first backpacking trip, and Alissa’s second.  I really wanted to introduce Patsy to this sport, and am delighted that Alissa liked it well enough to go again after her first trip last summer.

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At our house, we packed, unpacked, repacked, and packed again.  Of course, this picture was not showing the final result–I added a sleeping mat and a tiny tent.  I was very concerned that our packs would not be too heavy, but we would have the supplies we needed. Mine came in around 30 lbs, and Patsy’s was lighter.  Alissa borrowed a small pack from someone, and it was lighter than 30 as well.  She will need a different pack if she continues to go backpacking.  That one had no extra straps on it to tie things onto, and was not adequate for the occasion.

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There were 14 teens and leaders on this trip.  We drove up into the mountains above Detroit Lake, to a trail that started from the side of the road.  The van and car were parked along the side of the road in a wide spot and we all shouldered our packs and were off.  It quickly became apparent that this was a rigorous hike.  In fact, it turned out to much harder for us than the U-Tube video I watched led me to believe. First, you climbed up a steep trail for about 1/4 mile, then took the spur trail to Tumble Lake.  By the time we reached the spur trail, it became apparent that it was much harder than Patsy had anticipated.  She and I let the quick, strong athletic football players go ahead, and we dropped back to come at our own pace.

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We admired the mist over the trees and the wild flowers.  We actually found a place where there was reception and I let her talk to her dad, who was very encouraging to her.  It was very, very steep and we crept our way down into the canyon as slowly as she wanted to creep.  The rest of the group reached the desired campsite and sent one of the men back to make sure we were ok, and to lead us to the camping spot.

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I set up my tiny tent. My niece put up her hammock.  Patsy chose to go into a tent 2 other girls had brought.  Then the kids fished, hiked around the lake, sat by the fire, and swam for the remainder of the day.  We also played charades for hours around the campfire.  The teens were so much fun to be with, and I got to know several I had not really know before.

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Fires were allowed, so the kids roasted marshmallows.

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Alissa swam across the lake and back.

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Patsy and another girl played with salamander for hours.

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There were hundreds.

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There were also hundreds, probably thousands, of little fish jumping in the lake.  The guys who were fishing caught fish, after fish, after fish.  They were small, so they put them all back, except one that was eaten.

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The moon was breathtaking as it rose above the rock formation on the other side of the lake.

The next day, I knew it would take us much longer to hike out than the others, after our experience on Friday, so we started off earlier than the rest.

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We went slowly, and admired the flowers and butterflies.

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It was so steep, but we scrambled up.  We would go a little, then rest, then go some more. There were a couple of times I was scrambling up on my hands and knees–but we made it!

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We had started out early enough that we had about an hour to wait for the others.  We waited at the place where the spur trail joins the main one, and had a snack.  We visited with several hikers who came along, and enjoyed hearing about their plans for the day.  After a while, our group came along, and we hiked the rest of the way out, and came home.  I am so happy we went.  It was hard, but there is a sense of satisfaction that comes with completing something that is hard.  I am hoping my daughter found that sense of satisfaction, but I’m not sure.  If she goes again, she needs better shoes.  We both need to train harder.  A trail that is not rated “difficult” would be a better choice for us.  I had so much fun, and I will definitely go again if I am offered the opportunity.

Silver Falls State Park

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This past week, we camped at Silver Falls State Park, near Silverton, Oregon.  It is a very large park, filled with miles and miles of hiking trails.  During the Great Depression, it was used as a site for out-of-work young men to do a huge work project.  So, there are many stone steps, some bridges, a lodge, and more.  Many of the buildings and trail improvements are from that time period and some have been added since.

One of the most interesting trails is the “Trail of 10 Falls.”  We hiked part of that trail one day, and another portion a different day.  A third time, we did another small portion.  We  ended up seeing 9 of the 10 waterfalls.  They were beautiful, as was the surrounding forest.

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On one of the days, my sister, friend and little Danait came up to enjoy the fun for a day.

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There was a nice swimming area we visited after our little hike.

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The second half of the week, Jake joined us.

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He was far more interested in lighting the marshmallows on fire, then waving them around to put out the fire he had created, then he was in eating them.  Fine with me.  It was well worth the dollar to see him having so much fun.  But, any boy who has so much energy should go on a hike, right?  So, Lovana, Patsy and I took him on one.  It was a little longer than I though it was.  After all, Rob dropped us at the lodge and was going to pick us up a the bottom of the trail, skipping much of the trail.  5 miles later……….

 

Everyone was still having fun!  I never would have taken him on such a long hike if I had been thinking clearly.  Lovana ended up carrying him a couple of times, but we all made it. It took us almost 3 hours.  We saw many waterfalls, and handed out Oreo cookies at the top of every big hill, of which there were many.  We ran out of Oreos, but continued on, eating peanuts by the handful.   Jake had a ball whacking the bushes with his stick, throwing rocks into the water, collecting sticks and pine cones, and all those things little boys like to do.  Lovana, Patsy and I loved the hike as well.  There were some places where long flights of stairs had been built from stone, which made the steep parts easier to navigate.  There were charming little bridges here and there, and of course, waterfalls galore.

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The trail even wound around behind a few of the falls.  We had a good time hiking.  That is the main activity at Silver Falls State Park.  Some of the trails were quite easy and short, such as the one to Upper North Falls.  Others were much longer and steeper.  There were several times when the switchbacks were quite strenuous for me, but were definitely manageable.  Lovana, powerhouse that she is, marched right up them, even jogging up the stairs at times.  For our long hike, having Rob drop us at the lodge, and traveling down the canyon was a little easier than doing it the other way around, I think.  There was still quite a bit of climbing, as the trail led down into the canyon, and back out again, and went up hills and down hills several times.  I’m hoping we can go there again. I hadn’t hiked there for many years, and I had good memories of the beauty found in the area.  I was not disappointed!

Detroit Lake State Park-Memorial Day 2017

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We went camping at Detroit Lake for Memorial Day weekend.  We stayed 3 nights, and were blessed with exceptionally nice weather.  It was especially welcome since we have had such a rainy, wet spring.

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The wild rhododendrons were in bloom.

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There were a couple of unusual strains of Scotch Broom–usually it’s just yellow.

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There were many ducks and geese, but not as many as we have seen in years past.

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Even this chipmunk was cooperative when I wanted to take a picture!

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Some geese had babies.

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Patsy and I had a great hike one day, circling the campground.  One side runs along the road, but they’ve done a great job of making you feel like you are more secluded than you are.  The other side runs along the lake, and that is always a treat.  We talked to people who were fishing, and some caught fish, but we did not this time.

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We did enjoy some quiet time next to the lake, though, in the early morning on Saturday.  It’s rare for Rob and I to get any time alone, so that was one of my favorite times of the entire trip.  I also enjoyed time spent with family members who came up to visit us later that morning, and enjoy the lake as well for the day.  Rob cooked chicken over the fire, which is a favorite of everyone.  People pitched in and brought some things, so we sat and happily munched on chips, veggies, and melon.  One evening, we roasted hot dogs and marshmallows over the fire.  On Sunday afternoon, I got a big nap.  All in all, the trip was just what we needed–some time to get away from the hustle and bustle that our life is, and just enjoy some time out in God’s beautiful creation.

 

 

Winter Hike on the McKenzie River Trail

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This is a guest post by Ja’Ana and Alissa.

On President’s Day, we took a hike with our youth group.  We drove east of Salem on Hwy 126 towards Sisters.  We passed Detroit Lake, and then went to the McKenzie River trails.  We could not park in the parking lot because there was too much snow, so we parked on the side of the road.

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The trail led us down a pretty easy path towards 2 waterfalls.  The thing that made it harder was that there was snow on and around part of the trail.

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At times, we hiked above the river and there were steep drop-offs.  There was a part where we could see the railing, and parts where it was buried by snow.   Where we were hiking over snowdrifts, we had to follow the beaten path.  If we got to one side or the other, we sunk through the snow.  The more we got into the snow, the colder and wetter we got.

We took lunches in our backpacks and enjoyed them at the second waterfall.

In all, we hiked for about 2-1/2 hours, and went in to 2 waterfalls and back again.  We think that during the summer, this hike could have been made much quicker because it would have been easier.

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Once we got back into the vans, we soon warmed up and made our way home.  It was a fun, eventful day and we are glad we went.

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Detroit Lake Campground Trail

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The trail around the Detroit Lake Oregon State Park campground was easy and fun.  About 2 years ago, we had camped there, and they were just building it.  We hiked around, but there were some interesting parts where we were on the edge of a steep bank, walking in little creeks, etc.  Now, it is all finished and was a good hike.   There are stairs like these to get around some of the worst spots, now, and cute little bridges to cross the creeks.

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On our recent camping trip, we hiked different parts of the trail on different days.   One side runs along HWY 22, inside a fence, and curves between the campsites and the road.  The other side of the trail goes along Detroit Lake itself.  It makes a loop.

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On the west end, you can see Mt. Jefferson peeking out between the hills.  Right now, the lake is pretty low, because it is a reservoir, and they let the water in and out as needed.

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On one of our hikes, we witnessed a male Canada goose chasing away others from “his” territory and mate.  On other trips, we saw many, many baby geese.  It’s just too early for that, yet.

It would be a good hike to take if, even if you were just passing through the area on the way to Central Oregon.  I think you would have to pay the day-use fee, though, if you parked in the campground itself.  Of course, when you are camping, it’s included.IMG_0790

This picture is from a couple of years ago, but I’m sure the sight will be repeated this spring, as usual.  I cannot tell you how cute the babies were to see in person–we enjoyed them.  Detroit Lake Campground will always hold a special place in our hearts, since it is the first place we ever took Patsy camping.  It has been heartwarming to see how she has learned to enjoy it so much when we all go together.

A Simple Walk

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Last evening, Rob and I went for a quick walk.  You can’t really even call it a hike it was so short.  Still, we were so happy that it had quit raining for long enough for us to get out and enjoy a little fresh air.

We went to Cross Park in Gladstone, Oregon.  The girls were in a class nearby, and the days have lengthened enough that we had time for a quick walk while we waited for them. The trail is very short, and runs along the Willamette  River.  There is a bridge that you can cross, if you wish.  The paths are paved and are wheel-chair friendly.

As we walked along, we were able to see several fishermen and women on the opposite bank of the river.  One man in hip waders gave us a bit of excitement when he looked like he had stepped a little too deeply into the frigid waters, causing us to shiver at the thought of the icy river water going into his boots.  No one caught anything while we were watching, but we were able to share their hope of a catch for those few short minutes.

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We enjoyed watching a fat squirrel eat and scamper on a tree right by the bridge.  He didn’t seem too bothered by us, except when we tried to take a picture.  Then, he ran up and down the tree scolding.  Eventually, he decided to tear off across the bridge, easily balancing on the supports, wires and pipes on the outside of the bridge.

All too soon, it became too dark and cold to stay outside and we returned to our car.  Still, it was nice to be able to get out and enjoy nature, even if it was only for a brief time, and gave us hope for spring’s much anticipated return.

Easy Hike At Beverly Beach State Park

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On our recent trip to the beach, we camped at Beverly Beach State Park, near Newport, Oregon.  At the campground, there was a little trail bordering a little creek.  One day, I decided to hike along it for exercise.  The day was rainy and cloudy, but I walked between showers.

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The hike was extremely easy, although a wheelchair would not be able to navigate the path, as there were many roots sticking up and the path itself was narrow and sometimes muddy.  There were clearly signs that this little creek had recently flooded over its banks in places, but it was not hard to hike.  I wore old tennis shoes and did fine.  I only travelled a short while on the hike, as the family wanted to do something else.

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A couple of days later, Rob and I went down the trail again, to see if we could make the short loop.

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We walked east, down to the end of the campground on the little path.  At the end, there was an adorable bridge and we crossed it to the other side of the creek.  We then hiked west, hoping to make a loop back to our camper.

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There were many beautiful mushrooms and ferns growing on the trees.  There was also quite a bit more water on the path in places.  After we had gone a while, we reached a place where the path was closed, due to a tree that had fallen in recent storms.  So, we just backtracked where we had hiked, and went back to the camper.  It was a short, easy hike and gave us time to chat with each other while enjoying some time along together as a couple.

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