Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Gone Campin'

I've been a little remiss in keeping up with my blog posts - so if you are really curious, you are welcome to scroll backwards a few days and you might soon see 2 or 3 new ones popped into the mix chronicling the different fun things we've been up to. However, right now, I'm focusing on the most recent event - Michele and I's version of "Sons of Thunder" with just us girls. Does that make us the "Daughters of Drama"? Ha ha! No, this was something special we decided we'd do with the girls, partly to satisfy a very strong desire of mine to get out and get camping in the Central Oregon terrain, and partly to let the girls feel like they are getting some special outdoor adventures with their mommas.

While camping itself was the main focus, part of the experience was the "joy of the journey". We knew the general vicinity of where we wanted to camp - somewhere along the BEAUTIFUL Cascade Lakes Highway of Oregon, but decided to just pinpoint exactly where based on how we all felt about the campground once we cruised through it.

We checked out about four campgrounds prior to arriving at Little Lava Lake - where we found this fun little "resort" store. That was part of the fun too - stopping at places like this......

and getting treats like this......(My treat was tootsie pops - I always cruise these tiny stores for just the right flavors. Much to the girls' horror, we later used the tootsie pop sticks as mock microphones to lip synch Glee's version of "Total Eclipse of the Heart" - I think at that point, the girls were ready to settle for any campground, just to get out of the car from their crazy moms!)

This was the view from the store - hard to believe we passed it up for something even better, huh?

But, we did pass it up - and ended up at this happy place to call home - at Little Cultus Lake. To get there, we had to meander on about 4 miles of gravel and dirt roads to get to this 10 site little loop next to the lake. We all felt good about it, based on the presence of some very quiet, but friendly looking "more mature" campers who had nice RV's settled in. They seemed safe. =)

We set up the campsite and threw the tent up in no time flat. I'm in love with this new tent we have - speedy to put up, roomy, and those "framed-in-velcro-flap" doors (that prevent the perpetual zip-zipping every time you need to get in and out) are golden.

Just as soon as we got everything put up, we paid for our site back at the entrance - and then followed the road we took to get in even further to find this.......Irish and Taylor Lakes - which SUPPOSEDLY were just an additional 4 miles up the road.

While I snapped the shot of the sign, I caught a "nature shot" in honor of Brayden - miss that boy while he's at camp this week, and these are the kinds of images he likes best.

As you can tell by the filth layer on my poor little van, it took quite a "dusting" on this FIVE mile journey that got more rough and tough the further we went. We had let the girls sit in the back of the van (the seats were put down) and they thought it was a blast. I was a little nervous about it all, but felt like we'd find something worthwhile just around the next turn.

Sure enough, Irish Lake was quite stunning. And secluded - except for the poor couple that we "crashed their date" on (they literally arrived about 20 minutes before us, I know this because we saw them start in on the road that direction when we paid for our site).

The good news is, they were friendly enough to us, and brought along a friend for the girls to play with.

According to his collar, his name was "Bogey" (sounds familiar, huh?) - and he loved to go after sticks - even sticking his head under water to pull ones submerged out.

Despite the cold water temps, the girls ventured partly in. However, they started getting a little eaten by the bugs (we think Ellie got chewed on by a horsefly as she has two welts on her back that are nearly golf ball size.....poor thing!)

When we returned to our site, we found that somebody had been there - and we don't think it was Goldilocks.

Our number one suspect was this guy and his family - he had a very BIG family around the campground.

After walking the girls down to the lake at our campground, we settled in to bask in the goodness of life - great books, gorgeous sunshine, the smell of pine like you wouldn't believe - happy girls.....ahhh!!!

The girls started the campfire early and very much enjoyed making their own dinner of hot dogs - and then launching into the s'mores.

This is what a builder's daughter does when she has wood to play with....

And then they moved on to decorating......

I'm still trying to get the knack of using John's camera - would have liked to have focused on the lake vs. the tree in the foreground.

It may sound crazy, but we all ended up in bed in the tent by about 9. We kind of underestimated the drop in temps in the higher cascades, I was glad we had some good sleeping bags, but we had to kind of teach the kiddos how to use them for maximum warmth. (At 3am, "Yes, honey, put it all the way up and around your head like a hoodie....") I was kind of bummed we went to bed before seeing the stars that I knew would be magnificent, but in a true "glass is half full" scenario, I was "prompted" the opportunity to see them when I had to get out of the tent to get some painkiller and soda can (to use as an ice pack) for a very nasty headache. Sure enough, the stars were BRILLIANT! I thought about getting the camera out, but didn't figure it would do any justice. God heard my praises though, as it was a masterpiece night sky.

In the morning, Mikayla and I awoke to a new set of friends - who we believe might be the true culprits of the zucchini bread (and hot dog bun) theft. Scrub Jays. We made them like us even more by offering more treats - Mikayla was in the process of throwing something to the jay in this picture.

They are pretty little guys, huh? I was quite enchanted with them, that is until one landed on my HEAD! It didn't stay long as I was so shocked it moved on with my "jolt". Crazy! That's never happened before!

If you are a camper and have not yet invested in a camp oven, I really need to give you my sales pitch. We've had ours for about 6 years now and it's revolutionized the variety and ease of clean-up of our camp foods. For breakfast was store-bought (refridgerated) orange rolls - made even better with a little layer of butter on the bottom- SO YUMMY! While we ate breakfast, we had fun asking the girls random questions - it came out that Ellie really liked this camping adventure! Since she was our least supportive "outdoorswoman" on the hike, I was delighted we had won her over. =)

Throughout the morning, these guys were our true nemesis. We had come prepared for them with some products containing a great deal of DEET.....but, they were persistent enough to find any square inch of uncovered flesh that they could. I think we are all averaging about a half dozen bites - it could have been worse - but all of us women-folk in the family tend to welt up significantly in response. Nasty stuff. They eventually drove us out earlier than intended this morning.

This was the morning pastime for the girls - it seemed very "outdoorsy" - you go girls!

Back on the road again - the agenda before returning home was to check out a reservoir and accompanying campground that might serve as our future camping location to accommodate my snobby preference for a high-mountain camping "feel" that would combine the boat for skiing and water sports. I liked it - and also liked this little place just a mile from the campground that we made as our final stop before returning home.

It's the Twin Lakes Resort - which means it has tiny little cottage/cabins - a store, and a little cafe.

They also rent out big inflatable islands/trampolines - as well as paddle boats to play in this cute little mountain lake. (This is NOT the reservoir we'd be skiing in!)

I took this picture just to catch the outdoor seating for the cafe. It just struck me as some sort of family destination from the 50's. So cozy!

Speaking of cozy, that would be the girls soon after taking the Benadryl tonight (to relieve their itching). They konked out super early, we found Mikayla having slumped off the couch in the oddest position - clearly so exhausted it just didn't matter. I was determined to get this post up, but I'm ready for some Benadryl myself (it itches so bad!) with that, I'm outta here - and into a real bed with a real mattress!


Jen and Bern said...

What a great post! Gorgeous view.. sure miss lakes, though the ocean isn't so bad. :)

Jodi said...

Keep forgetting to tell you my kids went to Campfire Camp at Wilani and at the closing ceremonies they did that fire thing you and Chele used to do and it brought back so many memories! :)

StephieAnne said...

Oh, that's hilarious Jodi! Did your kids have fun?

sara said...

I love these pictures!!! they brought so many great memories from our camping days!!!