Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Another Rainy Camping Trip....

Roger and I decided to go camping for Father's Day weekend.  We reserved a spot at Timothy Lake, near Mt. Hood - one of our favorite places to camp.  That Friday afternoon, as we were driving towards Mt. Hood, the sky kept getting darker and darker.  Then we noticed a few raindrops on the windshield.  By the time we reached the pass at Government Camp, rain was coming down in buckets!  Uh-oh, this didn't look good for camping!

Roger cooking steaks in the rain

However, the rain let up once we arrived at Timothy Lake.  Roger found our campsite, and quickly unloaded the tent in hopes of getting it set up before another shower hit.  We didn't make it.  It is really no fun trying to putting up a tent in the rain!  Once the tent was up, Roger and I struggled to get our dining canopy erected over the picnic table.  About that time, it really started raining.  I thought "what the heck are we doing here?"

Time for a glass of wine!

The rain tapered off into a misty shower, and Roger got the fire going (even though the wood was wet).  We ate steaks and drank some wine, and then I was feeling better about camping.  We drifted off to sleep that night to the pitter-patter of raindrops on the tent.

Timothy Lake shoreline

The next morning was damp, cloudy and cool, but no precip was coming from the sky.  Roger took the boat out to try his luck fishing.  I decided to explore some of the trails around the lake.

PCT trail sign

We've camped at Timothy Lake many times, and I usually hike the trail to Little Crater Lake, or I hike around Timothy Lake.  This time I wanted to hike a trail I hadn't hiked before.  The Pacific Crest Trail goes by Timothy Lake, so I decided to follow the PCT south of the lake to see where it went. 

The trail beckons..

The trail was beautiful.  It went through a grove of large old growth trees, past fields of wildflowers, and followed a cute little creek for a time.

Forest beauty

Of course, progress was slow due to many photo stops!

Rain speckled leaves

I didn't see another soul on the trail.  I followed the PCT about a mile and a half, and then had to cross a road. 

Beargrass bloom

On the other side of the road, I hiked a short distance and hit an obstacle.  The trail was flooded.  What is probably a small creeklet in late summer had expanded into a wide, fast-flowing stream.  The water was too deep for me to wade, and I didn't see any rocks or logs nearby that I could use to cross over.  Darn!  So much for exploring the PCT.

Raindrops sparkle on the leaves of these blue flowers

Where to go next?  I hated to turn around and hike back on the same trail. I wasn't done exploring yet!  There was another trail heading off the PCT towards a nearby horse campground.  I decided to follow it.

Little cabin in the woods

The trail led me out onto the main road into Timothy Lake.  I knew this road would take me back to the campground.  As I walked along the road, I noticed a small cabin off in the distance.  It was on the edge of a swampy clearing.  Such a picturesque location - I had to hike over and check it out!

This cabin made for some good photo ops

Back through the horse campground, I spied the cabin downhill from one of the campsites.  The location was indeed beautiful.  My camera came out, and I went to work!

If these walls could talk...

The cabin appeared abandoned.  Someone had shot holes in the window glass. I wondered - why was the cabin there?  What had it been used for?  Why was such a nice building being left to rot away?    I lingered for awhile, taking more photos.  Then it started raining again, and I realized I'd better be getting back to camp.

Bear and I dry off by the fire

Back at camp, we cooked some lunch and then just had a lazy afternoon sitting around.  The rain finally let up, and we even got a couple of sunbreaks. 

You would think with it being such a rainy weekend, no one would be out camping, but almost every campsite was taken (and at Timothy Lake there are four campgrounds with approx. 40 sites each).  There were lots of families with kids and many of them were tent camping.  Some of the sites had elaborate tarp - canopy setups that kept the rain off. 

It was nice to hear the sounds of happy kids.  Reminded me of camping trips when my kids were small.  Those were some good memories.  It is weird now to be camping without them. 

Sunset over Timothy Lake

Although the sky cleared up that evening, sometime in the night I awoke to the sound of raindrops on our tent.  Yes, rain again!  The next day was cloudy and misty.  Roger went for one more fishing trip, and Bear and I took a run on the trail around the lake.  Then we packed up all our wet gear, and headed for home!

Our camping track record this year isn't very good - both times we've camped so far it's rained!  Even though this weekend's weather was far from perfect, it was nice to get away.  Being out in nature provides a restorative effect.  And after many years of living in Oregon, I've gotten used to camping in the rain.  Beats sitting at home anytime!  Around here, if you wait for the rain to stop, you won't ever do anything. 

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