I know I’ve talked about it before, but I just returned from this place and I wanted to share with all of you a little taste of my experience there this year.
This year was different than my previous visits, for a few reasons. We realized that my family started camping here 31 years ago, when I was 6 years old. We haven’t made it up every year, but I think I’ve been to Waldo Lake about 16 times over those years. Since I moved back to Oregon in the summer of 2013 I’ve gone three times. The first visit was with my Dad and Stepmom in 2015. In 2016 I went with my Dad, Stepmom, and one of my favorite families (great friends, and some of my favorite kiddos). We missed 2017, schedules just didn’t work for us to go… but this year my friends and I not only went camping together, but brought along a few more friends!
There is something special about getting to share such a magical place, somewhere that means so much to me, with people I care about. Not only did I introduce two new friends to the magic of this place, but I also got my Mom back up there – after at least 11 years away. That, in itself, was pretty awesome.
There was a LOT of smoke this year, due to the fact that most of the West Coast seems to be on fire. I have never seen it so hazed-over, and that was strange. I’m sure all of us were impacted by it, even if we didn’t quite realize it at the time (pretty sure that every one of us had a headache at some point during the week.
I also struggled a bit. It’s sometimes easy to forget that my body is still rebuilding stamina after the surgeries. When I’m at Waldo a lot of things just fall aside – there I’m able to do ANYTHING. It was very hard to be given the hard reminder that I can’t, actually, do anything I want there. The first day we were there I swam out to one of the islands with the 10-year old in our group. The water was pretty choppy that day – and partway out to the island I realized that maybe, just maybe, it wasn’t a good idea to undertake this swim as my FIRST swim… but I am a stubborn soul and kept going. I made it there, and back, but it completely wore me out and I ended up having to lay low for most of the next day, and approached the rest of the week with the knowledge that I had to pay more attention to what I was doing.
I also couldn’t climb the rocks the same as I used to – at least, not this year – due to the fact that my range of motion in my toe still isn’t up to where it was pre-surgery. But I made a promise to 10-year-old that I will work on things this year so that next year I can make the hikes out to places she wanted me to go this year. It’s a goal I look forward to keeping.
How about some pictures?
Sunset on night one- there were very few sunsets we could actually see because of the smoke. It was odd to have the sun just vanish from the sky some nights.
The smoke was THICK. I’m used to seeing vibrant colors, blue skies… but the sky kept this constant haze and some days it felt like it was dawn all day. The morning haze never really burning off (because, of course, it wasn’t actually morning haze).
The chipmunks and ground squirrels were in abundance. This little guy hung out on the stump for quite a while, cheeks completely stuffed full. He was torn between watching us, and watching the creature climbing up the trees (we think it was a Mink).
Despite the restrictions I realized I had to put on myself, I managed to take two decent hikes. Well, decent given the amount of movement I’ve been able to do lately – both of them running about 2 miles (round trip). I love the woods out here – this was one of the spots where it was pretty open, other places you can see nothing but trees.
One of the cool, and surprising, things about this trip was that we were still allowed to have campfires. The fire-ban didn’t go into place for our campsite until our last day – so this is a picture of our last campfire. We just missed out on having one morning fire, but were able to have morning and evening fires the rest of the trip!
Though not as abundant as last time we were there – wild berries could still be found! We made some mini-pies with them too, which was quite yummy! Baking adventures is a fun thing this little group of friends does, so it was nice to have a chance to do that while we were camping too!
Our last day saw a slight lifting of the haze – and I managed a walk to the boat-ramp! You see those islands – well, that jut of land further in the picture? There are some islands down there – and a small beach with what has been being referred to as “the clear blue hole” a little water-hole that is so clear with such a brilliant blue color. I made a promise that next year I’ll be able to make it down there. I’ve certainly got my work cut out for me – it’s another couple of miles down the trail to get there!
Previous Waldo Lake Posts (of note):