We detoured off I-5 and took a backroad to Cottage Grove. We took some time to look at the Opal Whitely mural and the covered bridges near her home by the singing creek.
Waldo Lake Islet Campground
Stopped in Eugene at Oregon Trail’r where Sawyer and Jon replaced a leaky window. Small fix, cheerfully done. Love these guys.
I gave them a copy of The Singing Creek Where the Willows Grow—Brave Horatio is named for my mismemory of Brave Horatius in this book. Opal Whitely grew up in Cottage Grove, just a hop south of Eugene. I love that he was created near his namesake.
I’m fascinated by hot springs, so their proximity was a draw. We didn’t have a reservation, so the number of unreservable spots also figured into our decision.
We decided to head for Waldo Lake on Highway 58, the area least familiar to us.
As Bill drove, I researched campgrounds on my phone. There are three at Waldo Lake and every single one had large, clear warnings about hordes of mosquitoes. Brave Horatio has a full complement of bug spray, bug wrist-bands, bug-repellent hats, and a mosquito net for the hammock.
Waldo Lake is pretty interesting. Right at the top of Willamette Pass, it is one of the largest lakes in Oregon—almost 10 square miles of surface area. There are no permanent inlet streams and it’s one of the purest lakes in the world. No inlets means very low nutrients, so little aquatic plant life. Waldo is clear, clear blue. You can see down through it forever.
Off we go!
There were interesting piles of slash at regular intervals up FS 5897. It looked like a crew had been clearing brush back from the road. The piles were maybe 12 feet in diameter and 6 feet high. The top of each was barely covered with what looked like black plastic. We’re they going to be picked up by a brush truck? Burned when the weather got soggy? Why the plastic?
Islet is a beautiful campground. Larger and less steep than Shadow Bay, smaller and quieter than North Waldo.
Our campsite was huge—wide and deep. There was maybe 50 feet between us and the next campsite and a clear forest for the 100 or so yards between us and the lake. It sloped very gently to the lake and even had a tiny beach to launch our kayaks.
Clear Doug Fir, Hemlock forest air. Sparse undergrowth. Perfect, perfect, perfect.
Yes, there were mosquitoes, but not as many as we were expecting. Enough that our bug spray supply shrunk considerably and I was grateful for my bug-repellent hat.
We paid extra attention to entering and exiting Brave Horatio quickly and I rigged my mosquito net around the hammock.
There weren’t hordes though, just a mosquito or two around pretty constantly.
We set up camp and explored our new home.
As we talked by the campfire, I noticed that my shadow on the trees across the road was distinctly Sasquatch shaped. I had fun making Sasquatch walk through the trees. Unfortunately there weren’t many other campers, so probably no one spotted him. We discussed the possibility of capturing Sasquatch on film.
I didn’t note each days’s meals on this trip, but they included our usual camping staples—tuna poke for a couple lunches, polenta, bacon, and eggs for breakfast, steak for dinner, some granola, and the obligatory campfire roasted hot dogs.
I named Brave Horatio partway into our not-yet-decision to buy a teardrop, but I didn’t tell anyone. I finally admitted to Bill that I thought of our trailer as Brave Horatio after we’d decided on a FronTear, but before we placed our order. Choosing Oregon Trail’r to build our teardrop confirmed it as the perfect name.
One of my favorite books is The Singing Creek Where the Willows Grow. The controversy about the authenticity of Opal Whiteley‘s diary doesn’t concern me. The thing itself is quirky, charming, joyful, and utterly unique. I like to lose myself in Opal’s world joining Peter Paul Reubens (a pig), Thomas Chatterton Jupiter Zeus (a woodrat), Felix Mendhelssohn (a mouse) and her faithful, ever present dog, Brave Horatius.
Wherever Opal goes, Brave Horatius always follows after.
I have a crap memory. (My natal family accuses me of making stuff up, but it’s really my crap memory combined with our boring past. I don’t make it up, I make it better.) When I talked or thought about the book, Brave Horatius morphed into Brave Horatio.
Opal’s diary describes her life outside Cottage Grove. Oregon Trail’r is only about 30 miles north. Perfect. We would go on adventures and Brave Horatio would follow along after.
I think it was Bill who said something about actually putting the name on the trailer. Our daughter is an artist and graphic designer. She offered her design skills. Jon and Sawyer had the equipment and were happy to render Sarah’s file into reality. Not only did Brave Horatio have a name, he now shares it with the world.
I thought I’d be a little embarrassed and a self-conscious flaunting BH’s name, but I’m not. He’s just sweet and cute and isn’t afraid to put himself right out there. I have things to learn from Brave Horatio.