Crater Lake National Park

One last trip before winter hits! We decided to knock off another National Park by heading to Southern Oregon and see Crater Lake.

We should have seen Crater Lake a long time ago. Both of us saw it on family trips when we were kids. We went to college in Klamath Falls, OR, and considered going to Crater Lake because it was really close, but we always ended up spending our free weekends at Tule Lake and the Lava Beds Caves. Crater Lake was always just something I had a vague idea of where it was, and we figured we’d get there sometime. We literally drove right by it everytime we drove to school and back home. But who knew after college we’d move to another state and not get around to it for <cough> 30 years?!

On the way down we stopped for lunch and Dave showed off our ability to fit into any parking lot where he can find two parking spots end to end. This is the real reason we will probably never move up to a bigger trailer. It is so convenient when travelling to know we should always be able to find a spot to park it.

On the way down the road climbed over a mountain and as it got higher, things got colder, and by the top it was sprinking snow on us, and Dave was getting skeptical about my trip planning. The weather said it was supposed to be nice all week, so I tried to keep the faith. The trip took a little longer than expected so by the time we got to Diamond Lake, it was dark. It was also only a week out from it closing for the season, and it looked buttoned up, and completely empty as we drove past the closed ranger station and wound through the empty park. We found a spot not far from the only other trailer there, right on the lake, and didn’t even bother to unhook for the night. We checked our phones and found we had no service. I made a quick dinner and Dave went out to get something from the cooler in the car, and walked back in and announced it was snowing! We went to bed and it was the darkest and questest place I think I’ve ever been, as the snow drifted down around us, nervous to see what it would look like by morning.

To our relief, the snow didn’t stick, and the roads were clear. If we had woke up to a foot of snow, with no cell phone coverage and no ranger on duty, I’m not sure what we would have done next. We decided to pull out and head up the road to my backup campground, Lemolo Lake KOA, which was even farther off the main roads, but for some reason had cell coverage and was staffed.

On the way we realized we were low on gas, and it was getting a little sketchy for driving even farther off the beaten path and then all the way back to the main highway. Luckily there was a gas station between the two campgrounds, so we stopped there first. When we got there there were two cars waiting at the pumps, and one person was walking back to their car from the building, so we figured it was open. One car left and we pulled up and waited. In Oregon you have to wait for the attendant to pump your gas. And we waited, and waited, and waited. Finally Dave went to the building and the person in the other car said she had used the phone to call the attendant, and he was on his way (from wherever he lived, apparently somewhere nearby). A couple minutes later a pickup truck pulled up and the gentleman got out and got us all gassed up! They probably don’t get a lot of customers this time of year!

We headed up to the KOA, and got all settled in. It cost a bit more, but now we had full hookups, electricity, cell service, and a little store on site. Everything we needed. I felt a lot better about leaving the trailer unattended there. There was even another Airstream.

We were finally ready to head off to see Crater Lake.

Crater Lake is inside of a mountain that has blown it’s top, leaving a crater in the middle, which filled with water. So at the slightly higher elevation of the mountain, the snow from the previous night stuck around a bit longer.

What a treat to see the rim covered in snow! I would not have planned a trip if I had known there would be snow, because we have had some bad experiences with snow driving, and the snow piles on up here in a hurry. In fact the East Rim drive was closed by snow just a few days after our visit!

For this beautiful, sunny morning, it was a winter wonderland!

The blue-green water around Wizard Island was stunning! Even more so than the photograph could capture. And..are those fish down there in the shallows?

We worked our way around the rim, stopping at all the overlooks and chatting with folks from all around the country who had come to see this natural wonder. Everyone was just so happy to be there, and amazed by the beauty of it all!

Sunglasses selfie!

We hiked up to the Phantom Ship overlook. This rock formation is apparently bigger than it looks – 16 stories tall! It is the oldest part of the original volcano – 400,000 years old!

Crater Lake is all about shades of blue.

As we went further East, we got a glimpse of cool rock formations and colorful bands showing different layers in the rock. I wish I knew enough geology to read what it is telling us!

On the east side of the lake we were eye-to-eye with Mt Scott. Looking at a map, and then looking at it later from Highway 97…(with help from Google Earth)

You could be driving down Hiway 97, see this little mountain, and not have any inkling that Crater Lake is right there on the other side of it! You are looking right at Crater Lake!

All you have to do is change your perspective a little. Imagine the view if Mt Mazama was still there!

From up there by Mt Scott we could see across the valley to the North, where we had come from. That lake in between the two mountains (Mt Bailey on the left, Mt Thielsen on the right), in the center of the picture, that’s Diamond Lake, where we stayed the first night. The KOA is a bit further North.

Between Crater Lake and the campground there was a lot of burned forest. Mt Bailey is barely visible between the charred trunks.

That night in the trailer I could just not get comfortable. The heater was squeeking, the foam matress was too thin, the leg kept falling off the gaucho (I’ve been putting up with that since we bought it), and I just wasn’t having it. I tossed and turned and in the morning we thought about what else we wanted to do down here, and decided…nothing. We came for Crater Lake, and we saw Crater Lake. We had it pretty well covered. So we packed up, and headed home.

So the next project on my list will be a remodel to fix several things about the camper which will make it much more comfortable to use next season. I’ll be sure and post to the blog as I do them.

Crown Point, 2 Ways

Someone in a hiking group mentioned that for a few weeks a year, in late June/early July, the sun sets far enough North to light up the walls of Crown Point with Golden Hour light. I did not research their claim, but it sounded like a good excuse to go take a picture, and I haven’t picked up my camera pretty much since the pandemic started in March. Dave and I hopped in the car and headed up to the Portland Women’s Forum Viewpoint in Oregon.

Lots of other folks were there too, setting in for an eclipse that evening. We just wanted the sunset. We had stopped by Abby’s in Gresham and got a pizza, and settled in to wait until the sun was as low as it could get hoping for better color in the sky, but this nice peachy color was as good as it was getting, since there was not a cloud in the sky.

I’d say that’s a postcard perfect pic of Crown Point and Vista house, and the Columbia River Gorge stretching off into the distance. You can see Phoca Rock out in the river, and farther upstream you can see Beacon Rock in Washington state.

Crown Point

The next evening, since I was so happy with the outcome of that photo, we headed out to Washougal on the Washington side of the Columbia, and snapped another picture of Crown Point, this time with Mt Hood in the background. I liked this shot best. Even though the light was not on Crown Point as nicely as the evening before, the glow on top of the mountain was very pretty.


So there you go, Crown Point, two ways, from two different states. Both are home to me, and I feel lucky to live in this beautiful place.

I bought a boat!

In my continuing effort to find the best way to get out on the water, I added to my vehicle collection this week.

I have had my mighty blue kayak for 3 years, but it takes two people to launch because it’s so heavy.

I have had my inflatable kayak for one summer. I can take it out alone, but odds of getting very wet in it are fairly high, so it is summer-time only.

And now there is a boat.

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This little guy is a 12ft Gamefisher. My goal was to find something I could take out myself and launch/recover alone. I looked at several larger project boats, like an aluminum StarCraft that needed to be completely rebuilt, and a finned runabout that was rough. They both looked like a lot of work, and would not fit in our short garage.

This boat had caught my eye earlier in the summer because it looked like it was ready to go. Seats, shade cover, 2 motors, fish finder, oars – pretty much ready to launch and go. The trailer even looked like it was in good shape. So I went to check it out with an amount of cash in my pocket slightly less than he was asking. We came to a deal and I dragged it home.

Although I liked those other boats, they all looked HUGE in person, and like a bit of a handful. This boat is small, the trailer is small, and I can move it around by hand if necessary. And best of all, after Dave spent the evening organizing, it fit safely in the garage, so I didn’t have to worry about anyone picking it clean out in the driveway.

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It just squeezed in there!

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This boat has a tri-hull shape to it, which I’ve heard is very stable. I’m not going to be taking it anywhere crazy, just out onto the local lakes. It has a 30lb/thrust Electric motor, and a 5hp gas motor. The electric should be fine for my needs for now.

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It has a livewell which needs to be hooked up, or I guess it would function as underseat storage just fine. And it has an old fish finder, so that should be fun to learn about.

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It needs some cleaning up, and the trailer was missing a few lights and has some rusty spots that could use to be touched up, but for the most part, I think it is ready to go, and I’m happy with this catch – I hope I will have many happy catches in it on the water!


Jellyfish at the Lake

This is worth sharing – better late than never. While fishing at Battle Ground Lake last fall, I saw a little jellyfish in the water, and got it on video!

That was a pretty fun trip. I had taken a day off from work to go fishing, and I almost didn’t go because it was raining. But I put on my waders and a raincoat and went anyway, and I was so glad I did, because it was a beautiful day, with just a short sprinkles early on. I had the lake all to myself almost. No fish, but a nice day trying.

Sprinkles! The only time I briefly used my raincoat all morning. Dave left me out about 4 hours before he came back to get me. It was just a really nice morning out.

Horseshoe Lake (Woodland)


Dave and I packed some snacks, grabbed the kayak, and headed up to Horseshoe Lake in Woodland. We got going a little late, so we stopped and grabbed lunch to eat on the water. After we launched we paddled down past the fancy homes on the shore and found a peaceful shady spot to park and eat and have a little rest, watching the world go by.

Eventually we paddled over to the outside of the horseshoe bend and there were all these old tree stumps or dock pilings sticking up out of the water, so we tied the kayak to one and I enjoyed a little fishing while Dave worked on his script.


The pilings all had these otherworldly globs of something growing on them. They were cool but freaky looking.


I had my usual luck fishing…


A good time was had by all.

No pictures of the following weekend, but Dave launched me at Lacamas while he went to a theater event. My phone camera doesn’t work, so no pics, but I had a lovely time fishing with the help of my new anchor trolley. This allows me to anchor the kayak and move the anchor point to the bow or stern, so when I get the hang of it I should be able to point the kayak in the direction I want and keep it there, until the wind shifts anyway.

Also on that same adventure we got to Lacamas, unpacked, and realized we had forgotten the paddles! Luckily there is a vendor there renting kayaks, and they rented me a paddle for $5, which saved the day, because there was no time for Dave to go get the paddle and still make his theater event. When I got home I decided I would rig our new kayak cart n the garage to hold the paddles so we wouldn’t forget them again (they were hanging on the wall before), then I looked at the kayak and had a realization – and just set them inside the kayak – duh! We will have to move them to load it, so that should solve the problem.



Ashes Lake

We went out in search of bass at Ashes Lake. Ashes is down Hwy 14 almost to Stevenson. It is one of those lakes on the north side of Hwy 14, separated from the mighty Columbia by a berm with a little tunnel between them. I was told it had plentiful small and largemouth bass, as well as pikeminnows, and would be a great place to break my losing streak.

The road down to the lake, visible on Google Earth else I would never have believe it was a road, was an overgrown path between blackberry bushes that was not quite a Flex wide. So unfortunately I culd hear it scraping along the side of the car all the way down to the tiny parking area which only had room for three cars. Luckily there was only one car there when we arrived.

We parked and unpacked the kayak and walked it down the hill to the water. The road was very rough and I wasn’t sure I wanted to make the Flex try to climb back up that hill on loose gravel . Pretty soon we were paddling our way out into the lake.


It’s a big lake, and it was really pretty, and a perfect tempurature, blue sky day. But like it often is in the Columbia River Gorge, it was also windy. So paddling was a challenge, and unless we were both paddling, it felt like we weren’t making any headway during gusts.

Finally we made our way to the sheltered west end of the lake, and it was very nice. There was a family of canadian geese floating around, we saw fish jumping, and every tree overhanging the lake seemed to make a shady spot for fish to hang out in the rocks.


I got several nibbles in this area, including one that grabbed my bait and took off, dragging the float behind him! But I was unable to hook up. I certainly had fun trying anyway!

We still don’t have an anchor on the kayak, so we tried drifting up against a log where I could cast towards he shore. The log seemed to be popular with tiny blue damselflies who were hanging around, landing on our paddles. Big dragonflies also zoomed overhead, with clear wings with black spots on them. Strangely enough, the majority of birds we saw were seagulls, and they seemed to be flying around high up in the fir trees around the lake in big flocks the whole time we were there. They looked spectacular, flashing white against the blue sky! We also saw a bald eagle at one point.


We came around a corner and found a secluded little beach, and went ashore. The kayak’s seats are made to come out and be used as beach chairs, so that’s just what we did.


We kicked back on our own private beach and had a snack and watched the world go by for a bit.


Since it was such a nice beach, I waded in and did a little fishing with a bobber and worm. Still no luck, even though I saw some big fish jumping not far off shore. They were not interested in what I was offering.

Finally we decided to head back. While out there we had seen a couple other kayaks and small boats join us, and when we got to the launch the 3 parking spots were full, plus one more truck which they had parked right in the middle of the beach where everyone was launching from, so everyone else had to walk around them! There was a guy there who had come in the truck, but it wasn’t his truck so he couldn’t move it, and there was some younger guy with him who looked completely wasted. So we just packed our stuff back up the hill, walking around them as they made no effort to move out of the way.

All around though, it was a great day, and I could have stayed out on the little beach all afternoon except we needed to get home to the doggies. No fish were caught, but I had some exciting close calls, learned some stuff, saw some things, and spent some great time alone with Dave to catch up on our week. Perfect.




Fishing at Mosquito Lake

We had a rare free weekend for a change, and I wanted to get out and do something fun, so I decided we would go up to Goose Lake, which I have heard has good trout fishing. We got up at 6am and drove up to Trout Lake, and stopped by the ranger’s station to ask about conditions. She asked what we planned to do at Goose Lake and I told her we brought our kayak to go paddling.

She said “This name is going to sound off-putting, but you might have more fun at Mosquito Lake, because Goose Lake is super popular in the summer.” Dave said later she probably took one look at us and went ‘oh, these aren’t Goose Lake people, I’d better send them to Mosquito Lake!’

So we zipped on up there, and almost blew right by the parking area, because it is so small. Just room for 4 cars, just off the PCT, but the lake looked glorious! Beautiful clear water reflecting the perfectly blue sky.



We put in at the beach by the parking area, and then had to weave our way around a little serpentine path to get out to the lake. Along the way we had to go over an old collapsed dock, and it was pretty shallow and narrow. But pretty soon we were out there, and I cast out a streamer on my sinking fly line and let it drift behind us as the breeze slowly blew us across the lake.


No need to paddle when you’ve got wind!


Dave is helpful for holding my rod while I tie a new streamer on after losing one in the reeds. We drifted halfway around the lake before I checked and discovered it was gone – doh!


We paddled back across the lake to the starting point, but we were really fighting the wind, which had picked up a bit. We could only make progress when we were both paddling hard together. Back at the parking lot end I spotted this little area in the reeds where we could park it for a bit and not have to fight the wind. I’ll be glad when the rest of my anchor parts show up – an anchor would have been really useful today!


The water was the clearest I’ve ever seen. You could see all the way to the bottom over most of the lake. There were lots of water lilly pads still under the water. I’ll bet this lake will be packed with them later in the summer.


Sitting in the reeds we could see some little trout – like 2-3 inches. I guess they were trout, they were shaped like trout and had spots. We had fun watching them, while just kicking back, discussing vacation plans, and enjoying the day. When we had enough, I cast out my streamer one more time and we paddled back to the parking area. I didn’t even get a bite, though I saw a lot of big fish jumping. Maybe next time.

The best part of this trip – no mosquitoes and NO people! Yes, we had this little lake all to ourselves. It was so quiet you could sit and just hear the wind blowing through the trees. Sometimes you could hear a car driving by on the forest road, but that was about it. As we were packing up to leave, another car drove up with 2 kayaks on top. Well now they could have the lake to themselves!

On our way home we decided to go by Goose Lake just to take a look at it. Along the way we saw a sign for Natural Bridges and stopped there. The area was a collapsed lava tube.


Kind of hard to get the scale without a person in the shot.


I’m not sure that helps, but it was a really big tube, maybe 50 ft deep. And in places there were natural bridges where the tube had not collapsed fully, and you could cross over the culvert left by the tube.


It’s just really hard to photograph. Neat area though. I would like to come back here next time we are nearby and work on photographing it better. There is a lot of interesting lava in this part of the woods, and Goose Lake itself is right next to The Big Lava Flow, which looks very rugged, but we were too tired to explore today.

We continued past Goose Lake, and although the lake was pretty, it was full of partying people, and so not for us. We continued to Stevenson, where we stopped at our favorite lunch spot for post-Gorge activities, Big T’s Diner in Stevenson, Washington, with a spectacular view of the Columbia River Gorge and delicious Hawaiian Burgers. We enjoyed our well-earned lunch which watching wind-surfers playing on the river below. The perfect end to an unexpectedly perfect day.






Fly fishing from the kayak

Ignore my blindingly white pacific-northwesterner legs, so you can see how much fun I am having casting with my fly rod in the kayak this weekend.

We took the kayak out and I prepared my fly rod with some sinking line and picked up a few streamers so we could try just trolling around the lake. I thought I got one nibble, but otherwise no fun. I did get to practice casting from the kayak, which went really well. I think the high seating position works pretty well. Im also getting the hang of my new PFD/tackle vest. Fly fishing feels kind of minimalist compared to spin fishing. I like the simplicity of it.

Dave paddled us around while I fished. This was the first time the water was low enough to get our big kayak under the bridge and into the neighboring lake! So we had fun trolling around there as well.

As always, catching fish would be nice, but just hanging out together on the water is a great way to spend part of the weekend.

First Flyfishing Outing

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This weekend I went on my first outing with the Clark-Skamania Flyfishers group. I had a great time, learned a lot, and caught a couple fish, so overall it was a success, and I can’t wait to go again.

I only have one picture from the trip because my phone camera has been working intermittently since I dropped it in the lake getting out of the kayak a couple weeks ago. But that picture is of the Kalama River, and it was beautiful. It was basically exactly the kind of river you want to be flyfishing on. I joined a couple ladies from the group, and we went to Beginner’s Hole, while other folks drove farther up river, or went up to The Big Red Barn and put in there to float back down to the bridge. I would like to do that with my kayak someday.

I had bought waders, wading boots, a flyrod, flies, and a new PFD with pockets for fishing (that will be useful in the kayak too), so I was all decked out. But I missed a crucial piece –  a walking stick. So I Tried to use an old paint-pole, which was about the right height, and sturdy, but I failed to properly secure it to my person. We waded upriver a hundred feet to get above the riffles near the parking area, and after I was in it about knee deep and fishing, I turned around to grab my stick and saw it floating downriver! Which is when I realized the value of a good walking stick!

After losing my stick I located an actual stick I thought would do the trick, and more securely tied it to my person, but shortly after that it broke in half, leaving me with half a stick, which was working in a pinch. Until I learned about why we should also have cleats on our boots, and I slipped on a rock and went down hard. I continued fishing, cautiously, but I knew a real walking stick would be first thing on my list when I got home.

I learned to cast at the class/casting clinic with the fly club a couple months ago, and I practiced in the backyard, and then realized that doing it in a stream was a completely different deal. The stream drags your fly downstream, and the wind pushes your line around in the air. It took a lot of casts to get the hang of pulling the line off the water and sending it where I wanted it to go! At one point while standing there resting between casts two big trout appeared right in front of me, did a taunting little dance, and swam away. Smug bastards!

But eventually we moved down to the beach and I had had enough wobbly wading for the day, so I got out of the wading get-up and just enjoyed fishing from the shore. There were butterflies everywhere! I was casting out to a rock in the river when something grabbed my fly but let it go, so I kept casting above that rock so it could drift over it, and sure enough, I finally caught a little 6 inch rainbow. I let him go of course, and shortly after caught a slightly smaller brook trout, and sent him on his way. So I was very happy to have caught anything considering it was my first time out.

After I pooped out I went up to join the club at a member’s cabin to have some BBQ and review our take for the day. Only one guy had got a steelhead at the put-in, and everyone else got skunked except for those tiny trout, which were plentiful. I hadn’t been expecting to catch a steelhead, so I was happy with my little catch. I had a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to go back out. That was a great way to start on a new hobby!




Trout Lake 2018

Over Memorial Weekend we took our annual trip with our Airstream friends to Trout Lake, to our usual campground snuggled under shade trees with a gorgeous view of Mt Adams. This year the weather was windy, but otherwise fine. I was a little worried about reports of ticks being bad this year, but we tried to stay out of the grass.


We set up the X pens in front of the trailer door to make a little yard for the dogs, and the door was pretty much open all weekend, so they could hang out inside or out, and watch all the goings-on around the site. Of course there were also lots of walks, including walking into town to get lunch at the hamburger/milkshake/gas station/coffeeshop (it’s a small town!)


Sunday morning I woke up at 5am and realized the trailer was lit up pink, so I pulled on clothes and grabbed my camera and went out to see what was going on.


Just a beautiful mountain sunrise. I was enjoying photographing it when I thought, what this picture needs is an elk.


Why, thank you very much! I was so excited to see the elk, I was almost shaking! How cool is that?!


The river behind our campsite was high, and I would have loved to fish it, but it was not open until a week later.


Everyday there was gorgeous. I just can’t believe we get to hang out someplace with this amazing mountain right there on the horizon, it is in the background of everything we do.



We had a tinfoil hat contest (Dave and I just watched):



Everyone was so creative!

And every night it was music and sing-along beside the fire.




Full-moon night-shot.


I brought a book to read on my kindle. Dave played a game of cornhole and got into a card game. Navi snapped at our friend Gary when he wouldn’t quit petting her. Barclay was chill as usual.




The trailer functioned perfectly – not bad for a 50 year old trailer. Basically a good time was had by all. In no time another fun long weekend was over, and we all went our separate ways, until next year.