When is a road not a road?

Starting the day with another paddle to the islets

This time we stayed closer to shore. Perfect weather, perfect paddle.

I decided to try my hand at cairn building.

And enjoyed the cairns of others.

Afternoon scramble toward Irish and Taylor Lakes

We explored the roads around Waldo and found an opening in the forest with a signpost saying it was a road. We looked at it for awhile before following the arrows.

Doesn’t it look like you can drive to Irish and Taylor Lakes?

What a change of pace. From placid, peaceful, cool, lake to dusty, dry, rugged not-quite-a-road through an old burn.

We’re not offroaders…but this was, ostensibly, a road and we thought there was another lake about 8 miles down it. Tally ho!

At least an hour in we’d covered maybe three miles and realized that we had very little water, no tools, and no cell phone coverage.

We gingerly turned around, hiked a bit, and made our slow, bumpy, way back to the gravel. Bill and LuluBelle are an awesome team.

Smoother roads up the pass

We found another, much smoother, dirt road. Wide and empty with occasional potholes and rocks. Eventually it hooked into the highway and we made a big circle back to camp.

Diamond Creek Falls

The longer trail at Diamond Creek Falls was marvelous. I did get confused by some of the markers. Maybe they’re for snowmobiles?

Bill and Mary, happy hikers
You could see down, down, down and out, out,out from this viewpoint
We saw several falls. This smaller one was my favorite.

High mountain Milky Way

Morning paddle to the Islets

Woke up to a beautiful morning, clear, bright, quiet. We decided to try to kayak across the lake after breakfast.

It was pretty calm, but Waldo is Oregon’s second largest lake by surface area. It’s big. What looked like smallish ripples from the shore felt pretty big out in the middle.

A bit more than half-way we decided that we should head our Walden Paddlers toward shore and the lovely little islets we could see.

Beautiful little islets with beautiful cairns on. Some must have taken several people’s collaborative concentration. The cairns made the islets even more peaceful. I think it’s the knowledge of how quiet, calm, and thoughtful you need to be to construct a cairn.

It was a lovely paddle.

Afternoon walk to Diamond Creek Falls

We drove down Highway 58 to the Diamond Creek Falls trail. The short loop had some nice views. We decided to visit again for a longer walk.

Late night photography

Sunset over Waldo Lake looking toward Taylor Burn

Bill has been wanting to experiment with night-sky photography and Waldo Lake gave him that chance. Sometime in the middle of the night he got this marvelous shot of the Milky Way.

Milky way with Jupiter to the left

So many highways, so little time

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.

We knew we wanted to head east from Eugene and discussed campgrounds on Highways 126 and 58. We zeroed in on Highway 58 and looked at Salmon Creek Falls, Blue Pool, Gold Lake, and Waldo Lake.

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?

We scoped out Shadow Bay campground and found a couple reasonable, but not perfect, open campsites, so continued on to Islet.

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.

Our own private kayak launch

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.