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Trip taken May 2007 consisting of two days near Mt. Shasta, two days south of Crater Lake, 1 day in Portland, 3 days in Olympic National Park in Washington, 2 days camping near the Oregon Coast, and various other coastal driving. This was more of a relaxing trip and while I did do a lot of driving and a few hikes, it was mostly about relaxing, reading and drinking beer. One of my goals was to finish a 30-pack of Bud on this trip and I accomplished it on a 3-a-day ration that seemed to be the perfect amount. Some vodka and whiskey of type I can't recall supplemented.
Day 1 and 2, drive up and camp around Mt. Shasta 2 nights:
I left work at noon on a Friday and drove up intending to camp at the base of Mt. Shasta, but all the campgrounds were still closed, even though no snow was present. On the way up, I felt my breaks not working well around Sacramento so I had to drive real slow. Then, all of a sudden, they started working again. I'm still a little worried, but they've been ok since. Anyway, due to snow, I settled for the nearby campground in the McCloud district. Pretty much just set up the hammock and started reading and had my 3 Buds. Had a nice sandwich with some lunch meat purchased the night before. Day 2, I was going to go on some scenic drive, but was stymied by snow on the road so I didn't get to see too much. Sort of wasted a lot of time driving through forest roads. Then I got stuck when I thought I could drive over some snow because I was very close to a point I wanted to see and I had to spend about 30 minutes digging the undercarriage out with a tree limb. I was not happy. Got back to the camp site and had some Bud. Felt a little better. Then decided to take this little walk to a waterfall near the campground and it actually was a very nice one. Here's a closer view. And then later when I drove down a dirt road to get to the point above the falls. Here's a view of Shasta through a clearing in the trees from the McCloud area.
Day 3 and 4, drive north and camp around Butte Falls, OR 2 nights:
Next on the agenda was my Oregon camping. Because it was early in the season, it was still pretty cold and I didn't realize how the lower altitude would be so cold at night given the higher latitude I was at. I sort of had randomly picked a spot on the map to camp by, around Butte Falls, simply because it looked like no fools would be around there. And there weren't. I had an entire campground at Fourbit Ford to myself for 2 full days. On the way, I stopped off at a cool lookout spot for the rushing Rogue River, designated as "Scenic and Wild." No pictures, but I recall it was cool. At the camp, I was at 3200 feet, and I'm used to being in the Sierras where that is not really very cold, but it was absolutely freezing at night here. In addition, it was raining upon my arrival very lightly so I was hunkered in the car, but luckily, after about and hour, the skies cleared. The campground had just opened a few days earlier. But there was a nice river running through it and a huge open space (that looked like the kind of spot people go to get abducted by aliens) to get some sun. Otherwise, the place was pretty dark from all the trees, so this was the perfect place to get some sun and warm up from the freezing cold night. The first night, I sat by the river taking in a bit of the late day light and had my Bud and read some and took a photo or two of myself. The next day, I did nothing by read a very excellent political satire book by Christopher Buckley called No Way to Treat a First Lady and had some Vodka. I alternated from the sunny area to the shaded area by the lake as my fancy led me. Very relaxing and the only 2 days I would have total lack of fools around me.
Day 5, drive to Portland by way of Crater Lake and scenic drive along the Umpqua River:
It was good timing because the day I was leaving my private camp at Fourbit Ford, some people were arriving and starting to chainsaw wood for their fire. So I was glad to be leaving. I was to meet my friends up in Portland, but first, I wanted to check out Crater Lake. Because it was still early season, only a small part of the park was open, but it was still worth checking out I would find because the view was spectacular. Unfortunately, my camera ran out of batteries, but I was able to get some great shots on the way to Crater Lake of this little lake by the road early in the morning that had some cool steam rising from it. Another shot of a bird chillin'. After checking out Crater Lake, I drove along the Umpqua River on Route 138 which was very nice with several waterfall stops along the way. Stopped at about 3 with various hikes and they were really nice and even just the sites from the road were excellent. Looks like a lot of nice camping along here. Hit I-5 and got to Portland around 7, met my friend Josh and had some beers and then saw some weird movie I forget the nature of, then had some Trader Joe's Scotch that I always bootleg into OR when I come since they make it a pain to by liquor up there.
Day 6, Portland to Olympic National Park:
Headed out early to drive up to the north-western corner of Washington where the park resides. You have to drive through some not-so scenic areas of massive clear-cut logging areas which was sort of a dissapointment since I'm used to the nice scenery near most national parks I've been to since there's usually national forests buffering them. Olympic park basically has three sections consisting of the coastal part, a rainforest part, and a mountainous part. Here's me in front of a tsunami warning sign on the coastal part. It was a nice area, but nothing that special to tell the truth. The rainforest section was pretty cool. Major moss. We walked around in this cool, damp area for a while, but it didn't seem like the best place to camp so continued onto another section of the park.
Day 7, Did a hike to a lake, checked out mountain region, camped at campground with a lot of scums:
Though we knew there would be snow stopping us on this hike, we figured we could make it to this lake and we did. It was a short hike, but pretty strenuous in it's steepness and obstacles involving downed trees and snow patches to maneuver. View of the lake at the outlet to where it started it's way down the mountain. Interesting tree trunk on the banks of the lake. We had our lunch sitting on the snow along the lake. The sun was really bright, but sitting even on a jacket on the snow froze our asses pretty good. We headed back down, drove along 101 to yet another section at high elevation and checked out that area which was pretty nice, but took no pictures. Headed down and looked for some camping area and had a hard time because it seemed most places were not open yet for the year. Had to stay in a sort of sad spot with a lot of scums in the area for some shrimp festival or something.
Day 8: Did a big hike in another section of Olympic Park, drove back to Portland, I continued on to Oregon Coast:
After leaving the sad campground early, we went the southeast section of the park which had some dirt road driving. There wasn't much there, but there was a nice little trail along a river we took, then this really steep trail up a mountain where I sweated a real lot, even though it was pretty cold. We got stymied again by snow close to the finish which pissed me off, but it was still cool. I would say that as a whole, I was not all that impressed with this national park vs. others I have been to and would not go out of my way to return, but it's worth seeing if you are in the area. Back in Portland, we stopped off for a nice meal at Burgerville, the Norwest version of In N Out, but with more selection, then I dropped Jeremy off back at his house, then continued south on my trip. I headed west off I-5 passing through Corvallis, home of Oregon State University and drove down some scenic, though very windy, roads to Newport. I arrived around 9:30 at the Econolodge and had a nice relaxing night in a bed and enjoyed some liquor that I do not recall the nature of. No pictures on this day for some reason. Must have been tired of taking them or something.
Day 9: Drive down Oregon Coast to camping inland from Port Orford:
This day consisted of driving down the coastal highway, stopping off at various places to take in views, and then ultimately arriving at Port Orford where I would be taking a Forest Road 16 miles inland along a river to a campsite. I sort of wanted to camp along the coast, but there really is not spot where there aren't a ton of people. Plus, it turned to be incredibly windy (though I think it was normal) and for some of the pictures, I actually had to hold onto something to keep still. Nice coast with lighthouse in the background, which I did not go to. Some stop off where there were a bunch of sea lions resting. Later in the day, it cleared some as I drove off 101 a bit to check out Cape Blanco State Park. This is the spot where it started to become really windy. Looking south. Crazy rock on the beach. At Port Orford, wasn't sure where the road was I wanted to take to the camping area so stopped off at visitor's center and learned that the mad wind was normal from a guy with few teeth as well as directions. This spot also had a nice beach to check out which I did some. A look north up the beach and further out at the actual port. After that, I went down the forest road which thankfully was fully paved (though with a few rock hazard) which I was sort of amazed because it was a pretty long drive to the campgrounds. It was an incredibly scenic drive along Elk River with tall cliffs on both sides most of the time. There were two campsites to pick and I chose the one with the least people, though it was still more than I would have hoped. It was a holiday weekend, the Saturday of Memorial Day and this spot, though fairly unknown to outsiders unless you really planned it out, was probably a favorite of the locals. It was also only about 6 spots in the bar of the river. Unfortunately, these are the types of people for whom camping vacations consists of bringing all these conveniences from home to the wilderness. So there was radio (though it was classic rock that I liked) and at night, family watching ultimate fighting and a loud generator going all night. Not to mention chainsawing for firewood. I set up camp and had a little time to bring my chair down to the river where there was some peace to have a couple of my ration of beers. Some hippie guy talked to me for a while on my way to the river and he looked like he was camping for a couple months out of his van. He seemed to have a lot of wine. I had a sad meal of cold cuts and read at night till the noise of the fools drove me into the tent to listen to music.
Day 10: Chillin' along the Elk River:
A day consisting of sitting by the river reading and having gin and Bud. Here's the river I sat by some of the time looking East and West. And here's me. Later, I decided to take a little walk down the road to a new spot when the sun came out and perched my chair on a little bluff over looking some deeper river water. I saw a river otter swimming upstream which was pretty cool. Other than that, uneventful but relaxing reading. I think at this time I was reading an interesting account of the World Series of poker from the 80's by A. Alvarez, which was excellent. A true gambling classic.
Day 11: Heading home with stopoff at Redwoods National Park.:
Well, I did the final pack up and was off early since I had a long drive to get home and had wanted to stop and revisit a spot I had liked on the coast in Redwoods park last time I was there. Still caught some great Oregon coast scenes before the border. This one was some nice stopoff with a lot of grass that was a nice combo, I think. Zooming in a bit.. And, my favorite shot, currently wallpaper at work. But before this stop, I got stop by an Oregon state trooper for going 70 in a 55 zone. I just wasn't paying attention. First thing, I had my wallet hidden under my seat from when I was camping so I had to tell him to get it and he had his hand on the gun, but I think he appreciated my warning him. Then, I didn't have my current insurance card. He checked me out and chastised me and threatened me with extradition if I was lying that my insurance was currently paid up, but in the end let me off all charges which was nice. Drove down 101 into California. There's a nice amount of liquor stores on the border given Oregon's dumb restrictions on that product. Was dying for some Wendy's which I found in Eureka. Then got to Klamath and turned off to take the Coastal Scenic Drive dirt road which is always worth taking for the views. I stopped at a trailhead on this road where I hiked down about a mile to the beach called Carruthers Cove, with 2 Buds, a chair, some dried peaches, a national geographic, hat, sunglasses, and sunblock. It was a glorious day to be on the beach. Had it all to myself except for one guy that was hiking along the Coastal trail. See Redwoods trip for pictures of this area. Stayed down there about 90 minutes and then headed back up to the car. Nothing to report on drive back other than revisiting some of the Avenue of the Giants and having some bad traffic near Rohnert Park. In all, it was a good trip. Had potential for some trouble, but everything worked out fine.
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