We left the RV park in Paradise EARLY…Tom determined we should replace 2 of the original tires on the trailer with 30,000 miles on them (we have been to a lot of places in the last 4 years and we are still adding to the list). He wanted to be 1st in line at the tire store and we were - at 7:45 AM. We were out in 20 minutes and headed north. The farthest we had been on I-5 was Redding so we were on new roads to our next stop. The drive went through the Shasta Lake National Recreation Area and right by snow covered Mount Shasta. It was all incredibly beautiful…we need to make a trip there and stay for a little bit, maybe 10 days or so.
As we were nearing Oregon we saw smoke in the forest. Eventually they had a prescribed burn sign and I thought it was pretty close to the highway. Toward the end of our trip we passed through Klamath Falls, OR, about 25 miles south of our destination. There is a large lake and lots of big creeks. We saw a lumber mill that was right on a creek. Cut timber was in the water and some sort of mill equipment was lifting the timber from the water to a belt into the mill…cool.
The road was pretty easy even though we were no longer on the interstate and we made good time to our reserved site at Collier Memorial State Park just north of Chiloquin, OR, Oregon has a lot of state parks and many of them have full hookups for folks like us. Our spot has Spring Creek flowing not far behind us and it is very picturesque – there are river otters in the creek. A very short walk to the creek also provides a view of its merger with Williamson River. This is beautiful country. There are plenty of Stellar Jays, robins and chipmunks passing through our site. There is also a logging museum at the state park visitor center and Tom went to hear a Pennsylvania Long-Rifle demonstration. There was no over-the-air TV available so we listened t oradio and I did watch some very old Sherlock Holmes episodes that I have on DVD.
Creeks in this part of the country are like rivers to us New Mexicans – 10-12 feet across. There are so many and they are so clear. The creeks coming down from Crater Lake have beautiful cascading falls. When we were listening to the radio as we left they announced that the Governor declared a state of drought for the county. It is hard for us to see the drought because everything is so green and there’s water everywhere. Our Santa Fe neighbor told us that the entire Santa Fe National Forest is being closed to all use. As I am writing this there is a major fire burning north of Santa Fe.
We headed to this location for its proximity to Crater Lake National Park, 32 miles away. If you have seen Crater Lake from the rim you have been blessed. If you have not seen it you have to go. It is absolutely breath taking. It is the deepest lake in the US and it is “bluer than blue”, to quote the film narrator. The blue color of the lake is known as Crater Lake Blue. The water is very pure and clear because there is no water flowing into the lake except for rain and snowmelt on the edge of the caldera. They get an average of 44 feet of snow each year and we had to walk through some snow to walk a little bit of the rim trail at the lodge. The east rim drive was still closed due to snow and most of the park trails were still snow covered and closed to hikers. The end of June should open things up for the short summer.
We checked out the commercial property near the campgrounds and ate out lunch at a picnic table in the campground – with Stellar Jays begging for Ritz crackers. In order to avoid anxiety we bought some gas at the store – the price was surprising - $3.41, where there was no competition. We did not fill up so when we got back to our local area we gassed up at an Indian casino (full service at the pump and she did a great job on the windshield) and then took a drive through the cute small town of Chiloquin. A lot of the land is owned by the Klamath Indian Tribe so the towns are not too big and don’t have much in the way of stores.
We are off to Ainsworth State Park just east of Portland, OR for 6 nights.