"Of all the paths you take in life make sure a few of them are dirt" US Forest Sevice

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Heceta Lighthouse and Florence, Oregon

Driving north on I-5 we repeatedly climbed at least 3 summits in 30 minutes and then went back down to climb the next. Turning towards the coast had us on some winding roads. It takes hardy drivers on these roads. Leaving the warm temps inland and heading to the coast made us rethink our apparel and pulled out the jackets. The wind blows so hard at time along the rugged coast that many of the trees grow leaning towards the inland.


Lighthouse keeper's home is now a B&B with rates in the $200-400 range per night including a 7 course breakfast. It was nice to stroll by and see the visitors.

We took a drive 12 miles up Highway 1 along the ocean to Heceta Lighthouse which was quite winding and beautiful. Once we hiked up to the lighthouse, we listened to one of the volunteers give us a tour and explain about the different light patterns of each of the lighthouses along the coast. They have different patterns of blinking so sailors could know which part of the coast they were if it was foggy. We hiked along the Oregon Coastal Trail through a heavily wooded area lined with plenty of berry bushes until we heard a thunk. Bears had been sighted in the area and I voted to end the hike.


The Siuslaw River flows 110 miles through Oregon and joins the Pacific Ocean just beyond the town of Florence.
We have been staying in Thousand Trails Resorts some of the time. They seem to be getting better as we travel north. Here at South Jetty Resort, we are nestled in the moss covered redwoods with the Oregon Dunes just up the road.
As we walked along the Oregon Dunes, two cyclist were carrying their bikes over the dunes to place their rear wheels in the ocean after riding the northern route across the US from Boston Harbor over 55 days. One of the cyclist said climbing the sand dunes carrying bike was harder than any of the ride they had done.

The four wheelers on the dunes looked like a good time.

Walking up the Siuslaw River near where it enters the Pacific Ocean we found some jellyfish during high tide.

Old Town Florence

 I seem to be having bathroom issues. While walking around Florence, I stopped at a porta pot along the road. I thought I locked it but a gust of wind came up and blew the door open as a car pulled up in front and parked. I waved as I shut the door and gave them a little time to be on their way. No wonder my kids were mortified when they had to go places with me when they were young.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Ashland, Or

As we were making our way north, Mt Shasta was in our line of view most of the 200 miles as we headed to Ashland Oregon. We like to keep our drives a bit less than that but would never get to any of the places we had planned to visit this summer at that rate.
Mt Shasta as we were leaving California going north is pretty impressive with its 7 glaciers.
View from our campsite while at Emigrant Lake near Ashland, Oregon. The first day was 92 degrees but cooled each day. This lake is very much used for boating, fishing and swimming with some nice hikes along the lake.

 In the morning, we had to set our alarm clock to get out the door for our bike ride at 6 am before it heated up too much.We set out to find the Bear Creek Trail to Medford. There were berry bushes all along the creek. Fall would be a great time to be here when the ripen for pie. Once we got to Medford, there were more trails and greenways without many hills. Far too tempting, but we turned around before it became a 50 mile ride instead of 32.

We stayed at Emigrant Lake Recreation Area where the full hookup sites overlook the lake. We would wake to the sound ofthe rowing club and kayakers. In the evening water skiers were out in full force. Once again, we would wake up at 2 or 3 am and sit outside to look at the Milky Way and stars that were easy to see without the light pollution.

Ashland, Oregon seemed like a good stopping off place on our way north. We are finding that we short changed ourselves by not staying longer. Even though the temps were in the 90s in the afternoons, we enjoyed our visit. Oregon has made a good deal of effort in making cycling byways a big part of their identity. We hope to return and visit the byways that include waterfalls and covered bridges in the future.

The original American pioneers who set out on the Oregon Trail in search of a better life. These pioneers who made it were granted a square mile plot of land where they could stake their claim and pursue their dreams.

A walk in Lithia Park through the shaded trails was a great treat from the heat. There were plenty of locals walking the trails and playing pickleball.

Lithia Park has the Sherwood Forest feel. Walking along the shady Ashland Creek Trail was a nice respite from the heat.

 The Free Auto Camp, developed in 1915 at the upper end of Lithia Park, one of the first such facilities on the West Coast. We hear there were many on the east coast.

As Mike was tasting the mineral water from the fountain and making a face, a driver passing by was chuckling and told him that he should drink a quart a day....

Once we returned to Ashland, we found a coffee shop/brewery so we could use the internet and catch up on some things we had been neglecting.

Ashland and Lithia Park is also the original site of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival theater. Shakespeare Festival that runs all summer until October. They also have the Green Theater on Thursday evenings that is entertaining, free and presented by the local college students.
Our stay is Ashland was shorter than we would have liked. But we were glad that we made the stop and met somemore nice people along the way.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Lassen Volcanic National Park

There were too many pictures of the great time we had here to put in one post. Here goes part two.
We would get on the trails fairly early to avoid the late morning and afternoon crowds. Some of the people we would see on the trails later in the morning without water worried me. They didn't seem to  have any idea that they could have a problem and need help to get back. When we returned to the visitor's center, I asked a ranger if they had to rescue many people. He responded that they did quite frequently, mostly dehydration. A few days earlier, they had to fly a boy scout off Brokeoff
Mountain after he fell and fractured his leg. That is no easy hike. Before a helicopter can be allowed to enter the protected area, they have to have it cleared with the federal agency.

Sulfur Works boiling mud and steam vents near a short interpretive path loops around odoriferous steam vents, rumbling vents called fumaroles, and bubbling mud pots. The largest mud pot, about five feet across, is right next to the sidewalk.
It is a little hard to see the stream vent to the right.
Our hike to Mill Creek Waterfall was a lot of up and down but a good morning.

Fields of Mule's Ear flowers

A marmot was sunning himself during our hike to Mill Creek Waterfall. Mike heard a pica once but they are declining due to the warming temps. A hiker we met on a trail had seen a black bear earlier in the day. One night we woke to an unusual screeching critter sound.

Snow plants have no chlorophyll. it derives nutrition from fungi underneath the soil.

At night we would wake up at 2 or 3 am to look at the stars. There seemed to be millions once the moon went down and no light outside.

Did a little skiing in our shoes back down the hills


Chaos Crags Trail to Crag Lake. Once we got to the lake, the temperatures went up and  felt like we were walking on Mars in the volcanic dust and sand. There was no breeze as we climbed down in the areas of eruption. There are high school students that do research with NASA for credits in the area.

 We managed to hike 16 miles of trails during our days in Lassen to put a small dent in the many trails available.
We were living without hookups but at the park store there were showers that cost 6 quarters for 3 minutes that were pretty handy. Mike was getting ready to shower when he heard two boys around 11 years old discussing that if they hurried and took turns with one shower, they would have $1.50 to spend in the store on a treat. They got all ready and took turns jumping in the shower. I bet they
told their parents they felt grungy the next day and needed another shower.