Little Red Hen and I spent the weekend of the 4th in Oregon as we drove down to Medford to visit my sister and see Crater Lake. In fact, earlier in my blog I posted a picture of the lake as I flew over from 35,000 feet. After showing this picture to Theresa, we both agreed that we had to go back (we’ve both been before, but many years ago).
We decided to leave on Saturday and arrived in Shady Cove (near Medford) just in time to attend my sisters church. She goes to the Red Rock Cowboy Church which originally started out as a church service at the local rodeos but eventually settled down to its current location an old barn that has been converted into a church. The service itself was enjoyable and involved a lot of country worship songs, cowboy hats and guitars. During the collection they passed around a cowboy hat for donations. We both agree that the epitome of the Red Rock parishioner was this old cowboy we spotted who sported a skoal ring, wranglers, a large Red Rock Cowboy Church belt buckle and an oxygen tube that he had to remove in order to smoke.
The following day we hit the Rogue River on tahitis, which are basically inflatable kayaks (more like narrow rafts). At this time of the year the rapids are only around class 2-3 but we hit a few rough spots where we almost lost our balance. At one point our boat ended up running a rapid sideways and luckily I was able to use a rock as leverage to keep our boat from turning over. Not quite what Id expect from a peaceful ride on the Rogue.
The wilderness around Crater Lake is full off natural beauty from majestic 200-foot waterfalls, to mountain streams cutting groves through the mossy rock. My sister knew all the local landmarks well and we tried to stop at as many as time allowed as we made our way toward the lake. One of these landmarks was the pair of waterfalls fed by Barr Creek and Mill Creek. They were practically adjacent to each other and fed a stream at the bottom of the cliff face from which they cascaded. I remember remarking that the falls created a unique sight, since the stream at the bottom flowed toward the base of both waterfalls. It was here that we took the opportunity to take a bunch of cute coupley pictures rather then practice our landscape photography skills. Continuing on, we stopped at a bridge that spanned a creek that had slowly cut a canyon into the rock face below us.
Just beyond this breathtaking vista was a section of the Rogue River that flowed beneath the ground though a lava tube that formed under the original river bed. This section of the rogue forms a natural land bridge that has been used by travelers and Native Americans for hundreds of years. Sections of the river have eroded the ceiling of the tube, creating blow-holes much like those you’d see at the ocean. A lone kayaker had just prepared his Dagger creek boat for a rapid run at the base of the lava tube. The turbulent water, as it emerges from the tube, creates several cascading rapids ripe for a class IV run. Surprisingly there is no direct access to the river, so he had his boat set up on a twenty foot high cliff and started lurching forward until both he and his kayak free-fell into the river!
With all the other sites on our itinerary, our arrival at Crater Lake was delayed until the late afternoon. As the sun was starting to set, the mosquitoes came out looking for dinner and they quickly found us. These were not normal mosquitoes by the way, they were giant blood sucking monsters and they did not relent. Fighting off the swarms did put a damper on our sight seeing but we were still able to capture a few pictures of the lake just before a large rain cloud drenched us.
We headed home on the 4th of July reaching Mercer Island just before sunset. The view from my place was incredible and perfect for watching fireworks! My west-facing deck has a view of Lake Washington and Seattle and I was able to see both Seattle fireworks shows. My east-facing deck looks out over Lake Washington and Bellevue and from here I watched the Bellevue show and Bill Gates private show. Even though the night was clear, there was a large rain cloud over Bellevue with occasional flashes of lightning. This created a dramatic backdrop for the colorful explosions of the show and try as I might; I was unable to capture a single bolt in all of my photographs of the fireworks.