Great campground with nicely spaced sites
Continuing our journeys northward, we are enjoying a slower pace. I reserved many three-night stays in places, where before we may have just passed through for one or two nights. This has the advantage of giving us time to explore, but also means we can relax a little and spend more time chilling. Richard gets some work done (which he has mixed feelings about), and I can keep up with the blog a lot easier. Three nights seems to be a nice cadence that balances covering territory with getting breaks from travel days. It is also the limit for the grey water tank where we don’t need to be very conscious about wastewater conservation. We have some built in tricks, like putting a misting aerator on the sink faucet (or using an Aquabot), using a flow controller on the shower head, and using a small collapsible bucket to collect cold water from the shower before the hot starts to come in. Otherwise, no caution needed. For four or more nights, we need to take really efficient showers, or someone (not me) needs to use the campground facilities at least once.
Newberry National Volcanic Monument – Obsidian Flow
For our first full day, Richard rode through to the Newberry National Volcanic Monument to Paulina Lake. I followed him up and we met at the Visitor Center, which was closed. We checked out Paulina Falls and then drove over to the Big Obsidian Flow. There is a one-mile loop trail you can take that allows you to walk amongst the enormous piles of obsidian, created over a thousand years ago during an eruption. There are signs posted cautioning against trying the hike with sandals or dogs, because it is essentially like walking on broken glass (cue The Eurythmics).
Obsidian (which is basically Dragon glass, so now you know where to go for weapons when we are attacked by White Walkers).
Obsidian is very cool stuff, and it was worth the climb up a long metal staircase with no hand railings (it looked like they hadn’t finished attaching them yet) to get to the top. There were parts of the trail still covered in snow, so we had to follow tracks to stay on the loop, but it was a relatively easy trail.
We also took a spin out to East Lake, where there is a fun resort and campground. There is no cell service over there, but there is resort WIFI and a very cute general store. All the Forest Service campgrounds in the area were not yet open for the season, but the resort was going strong and had RVs in hookup sites. I’ll bet it gets very hopping in the hot summer months. At over six thousand feet, it is probably cooler than La Pine, but the only hookups would be at the private resort.
Most excellent floaty boaty
We had two activities in mind for this stop, and one was for me to do the floaty boaty from the state park on the Deschutes River. I had done this before through a kayak rental company, but what I learned from that is that all you need to know is where to put in, where to take out, and have someone willing to pick you and your boat up at the end. Richard was that person and the best weather for that activity was on day 3. I highly recommend this for anyone with a kayak. It is three hours of blissful floating down a serene 9-mile stretch of the river. There are places where you can take one branch in the river vs another and you will end up in the same place. I think it would be hard to go wrong or get lost, but I did have cell service the whole time and was looking at Google Maps frequently.
Made it to the end! I’m the tiny blue dot in the water.
There is no paddling necessary, though you do want to be able to steer. When the river takes you around bends, the current wants to push you toward the outside, and there are often fallen trees or clusters of branches that you would not enjoy running into. But, as long as you can gently suggest to your craft that you want to hug the insides of the curves, you should be just fine. When I went with the organized group, they told me to look for a house on stilts on the water and it would be about thirty more minutes from there. That was an underestimate, and it was more like forty-five or fifty minutes from the little house.
Cascade Lakes Highway
While I was drifting merrily down river, Richard was trudging uphill against the wind on the Edison Ice Cave Road up to the Cascade Lakes Highway. The weather looked threatening all day, but never dumped on him, nor drizzled on me. And it was temperate, so no worries of triggering the anti-coldness whiny behaviors that had impeded us previously. He timed his trip so perfectly that he was able to unload me, watch (supportively) as I complained my way through the elaborate inflatable boat set up, drive himself and his bike over to his launch spot, ride up and take a picture at the summit, ride down, stretch, and make it all the way back to the take out location with enough time left to get a picture of me as I came around the last bend in the river. That was a great day.
New cell booster antenna holder (actually just extendable pole used for Dory washing)
La Pine is an excellently located spot for a whole variety of things to do. If you want a city buzz with services and restaurants, Sunriver is not that far away. It is close to the Cascade Lakes area and is just a few miles off Highway 97. There are hookups in the campground, but be forewarned that they are 110, not 30-amp. We always have an adaptor on hand, but that could be a bummer if you were expecting a 30-amp pole. Also, there did not seem to be any trash cans in the loops. We found a secret unsigned trail that went right to the dumpsters. It is a nice trail, and we imagined the disappointment if you took it thinking it was going to lead you to something pretty. But it was an impressive dumpster for mixed recycling, so that might be an exciting destination after all. We also saw rather disturbing clusters of caterpillar sacs all over the place, which were equal parts cool and creepy.
Very beautiful area
There seems to be no end to all that you can explore in this corner of the world. Burn scars from previous fires are evident everywhere, and we saw that Collier SP is still closed and looked very burned. We also saw lots of evidence of tree cutting. That seems to be the business to be in nowadays. What an awful lot there is to manage out there.
Total miles from Lake of the Woods: 132.8, 19.0 mpg, 3 hours 19 min. Site 126 electric and water hookups. No trash in loop, have to walk out to kiosk for trash and recycling. Good dump, despite clueless person who didn’t understand about valves. Cell service said 1 bar of LTE, but it was meh and hardly functional most of the time. Greatly improved with cell booster to 2-3 bars of working LTE for either of us.