Monday, October 26, 2009

The Last Camping Trip of the Year

As summer slowly pulls the chilly, yellow-leafed curtain across the days, we seek out the "Last Camping Trip of the Year." On September 21st, we set out for just that - - a lovely day heading up to Diamond Lake and finding a quiet campsite right on the lake. We traverse the lake, ending up at the Lodge and Restaurant. Our plans for the next day would be an early hike and, "how about dinner at the Lodge?" Ok! Our early hike wanders along the south end of the lake and I sit down to sketch the range just north of Mt. Bailey. An ominous yellow cloud, which we've learned is a huge billowing belch from the wildfires just the other side of Mt. Bailey at Tiller, hovers in the distance. The atmosphere is very dry, like 15% humidity and my attempted sketch is frustrating, as the watercolor washes dry before I can mix my paints. But when we follow thru on our plans to return to camp and clean up for dinner at the Lodge, we watch as the winds change and slowly, every so gradually we watch the ugly smoke blanket our view and finally our camp. Within a short time our eyes and throats are burning and we pack up and leave. On our way back towards the Rogue Valley I shot this photo over the Lost Lake Reservoir Bridge - oppressive air.

But, we persevere - we found cleaner air down at Union Creek and claimed another campsite along the gurgling creek. Our Lodge dinner moved now to Betsy's where we, of course, enjoyed her fabulous berry pie and slumbered with our camping dreams dancing in our heads. But . . . guess what . . . in the morn the smoke had crept down to Union Creek . . . and again. We closed down camp, and rather disheartened, drove the remainder of the way home.

But HARK!!!, we shall not give up. With one more lovely autumn-like weather day, October 9th, we drive off to another attempt at a pleasurable "Last Camping Trip of the Year!" This time we head to the beach, Harris Beach Campground near Brookings, to be exact. Once we driven thru the campground during the busy summer and the crowded, noisy sites weren't to our liking. But since this time of year, most campers are staying home and families have children back in school. So the campsites are quiet, greenery abounds among the tall trees and we're a short walk down to a magnificent beach. Following our usual pattern of one dinner out and one in camp, we bip off to Gold Beach, trying out a recommended "Norwester" restaurant. The view, sadly, was the best part of the expensive dinner but, we enjoyed a nice walk thru town and stopped to watch the local football team in action. When we woke to crisp, clean air - it truly was delicious! Roland made a breakfast for king and queens of pecan & banana buckwheat pancakes . . . and I got to share it with him :) With a happy, full tummy, we find a pull out parking lot connecting to the Oregon Coast Trail. Hiking north in the coastal breeze with the sun dancing along to waves, this is the kind of landscape we got to savor for hours! When we returned to our camp, I grabbed my sketchbook and started this sketch of the Harris Beach and its rugged rocks. But, I stopped quickly as the evening breeze brought sand sprinkling across both me and my palette. The day was breathtaking filling our spirits completely with zeal!!! And our down-home dinner of Beans 'n Brown Bread (yep, the one in the can!) filled our tummies rotund-ly. At long last . . . our beautiful "Last Camping Trip of the Year" had come to fruition.

So hey - "never give up" - one of my favorite sayings :)

1 comment:

Oma3 said...

I love Union Creek and oh that berry pie... YUM