Wednesday, July 1, 2020

America’s Deepest Lake

The first real hiccup, of the trip (involving our camper) has been dealing with the death of our refrigerator. We have a large cooler, we always travel with, to store extras and ice (that won’t fit in our small dorm size fridge) so, we’ve managed to make do. However, discovering a dealership in Eugene, that has a model that will fit our trailer and a service appointment time to install it has taken precedence over our plans to head to Collier State Park, this weekend, near Crater Lake National Park. The campground, where we are right now, is about 80 miles from the national park. We decided, even though it’s a bit of a drive, we didn’t want to leave this area without seeing America’s deepest lake. We got up super early  this morning and made it to the park with only a handful of other people. We were amazed by this impressive landmark formed over 7,000 years ago when Mt. Mazama erupted and collapsed creating a 2,000 foot deep crater. The end result is a lake created solely from snow melt; there is no water flowing in or out. We spent the day hiking and picnicking in the park. What a beautiful day! What a beautiful place!

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Looks Like We Made It

When we began this trip, I referred to it as my tree trip. One of the goals of the trip was to see the Sequoia/Giant Redwood trees (the biggest trees) and the Bristlecone Pine trees (the oldest trees) in California. Because of the Covid Crisis we never made it to California and it looked like that goal would have to wait for another trip. Today we left the Oregon coast and decided to take the route to our next Oregon state park (Valley of the Rogue State Park) that dips into California and passes by Jedidiah Smith Redwoods State Park. The park has been closed since early March but we knew we could probably see some redwoods, from the road, if we traveled that way. I couldn’t believe my eyes when we got to the park sign and it said, “Open”! We pulled in and learned that the park only opened this week so we are some of the first people to visit this year. This state park contains 7% of all of the old-growth redwoods left in the world. We hiked through the magnificent forest and I was truly awed and humbled by these astounding giants. “....from the Redwood Forests, to the Gulf Stream waters; this land was made for you and me!”

Love at first sight!

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Sad Farewell

Port Orford Heads State Park

Many of the places we visit, we know we will visit again, but the Oregon coast is so far from home, it could be years before we find ourselves this far west again. That fact has made us more conscious than we ordinarily are, of making the most of each moment we have here. We have hiked almost every day, but after talking to a local biker, staying in our campground, we found out about a bike ride, 10 miles inland, that he comes every year to do. It’s a road ride, but after hearing his glowing reviews we decided to pump up our mountain bike tires and check it out. The ride takes you along the crystal clear Elk River, on a tree canopied road and gives you the illusion that the topography is basically flat. It’s only after you pedal 11 miles and turn around, when the pavement becomes a dirt road, that you realize you’ve been on an incline the whole way out. The ride back is fabulous with amazing views of the river and effortless pedaling to the parking lot you started from. If you love biking and are visiting this area, I highly recommend this ride! It begins at the Elk River Fish Hatchery and has little to no traffic.

Tomorrow we leave the coast. I’m sad we’ve run out of time here, but SO thankful we had the opportunity to visit this extraordinary place.

Favorite Redhead

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Last Stop on the Coast

After traveling essentially the entire length of highway 101 (beautiful,but long if you can only average 50 mph because of traffic and slow speed limits through coastal towns) we made it to Humbug Mountain State Park, six miles south of the idyllic town of Port Orford; oldest town on the Oregon coast. This park is smaller than Nehalem and is a popular camp stopover for hikers and bikers. It’s another amazing Oregon park. This area has one of the Oregon Coasts highest headlands that shelter our forest ringed, creek side campground. There is also beach and trailhead access from our campsite. One of my favorite hikes of the trip is the Humbug Mountain hike. The trail is pristine (no mud) and the 4.5 mile loop stays in an old growth forest the whole way offering breathtaking views of the ocean and beaches below. If that’s not enough, we also discovered a wonderful joint called Crazy Norwegians, in Port Orford, serving wonderful fish and chips and Marion berry pie. Life is good for the Amundson’s!

Campground beach

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Tasty Treats

As we have made our way west, I discovered that the Cabot (Vermont cheddar) I usually buy, had been replaced, in the dairy section, with a cheese called Tillamook. I bought a block and loved it and have continued to look for it wherever we go. I realized when we ended up on the coast of Oregon that the county where we are staying is called Tillamook. Ironically, my new favorite cheddar is made at a creamery just down the road. The creamery hasn’t reopened to the public yet, but we are thankful that most of the cool shops along the coast are slowly reopening with a few restrictions. It would have been a shame to spend the week here and miss out on the cherry pie at Sisters and Pete’s, in Manzanita. It’s definitely the best pie of the trip!

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Wow, Just Wow

I’m not really a beach person; at least I wasn’t until I visited the Oregon coast. Nehalem Bay State Park has been our home this week and the campground here is awesome! We have a campsite in the trees and beach access a short walk from our camper door. However, the state park just five miles north has really stolen my heart! Oswald West State Park doesn’t allow overnight camping but does have incredible hiking trails. Most of the trailheads begin in the shadow of Neahkahnie Mountain; the tallest peak on the northern coast. The name Neahkahnie means “place of the creator”, and it does feel magical. The assortment of trails are varied and beautiful. Hiking to the top of the mountain takes you through open meadows, lush temperate rain forests and old growth coastal trees. The Sitka Spruce tree grows here and is the largest of the spruce species. The hike to Falcon Cove takes you by a pristine beach and ends with views of coves bordered by cliffs that drop hundreds of feet straight into the ocean. Factor in that we just happen to hit this rainy section of the coast during an unexpected dry period and you have nirvana!

Sitka Spruce

Devil’s Cauldron 

Friday, June 12, 2020

Oregon Anniversary

After a stopover at Memaloose State Park, in the Columbia River Gorge, we continued our trek to the Oregon Coast. The drive was absolutely breathtaking, with waterfalls spilling over rock cliffs and vistas of the Columbia River as it cuts it’s way through the Cascade Mountains. We had second breakfast in Portland, then ended the day at a point as far west as we can go. We are in the harbor town of Garibaldi, for a couple nights, at Harborview Inn and RV Park. As the name suggests, we have a view of the harbor and real fishing boats!

Today also happens to be mine and Mark’s 36th wedding anniversary. What a “long strange trip” life continues to be!