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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Camping & Canoeing


With our three-day weekend last weekend we decided to go camping.  Instead of moto-camping with the bikes we opted to take the canoe out since we haven't had it in the water for a few years.

Friday morning we loaded up the car and headed to the coast.  When Troubadour was chasing Bobskoot he noticed a large lake off of Highway 101 and there was a campground and trail head across the Highway.  Our destination was Tahkenitch Lake Campground.

We stopped in Florence for fuel and a few groceries and arrived at the campground around 2 pm. Three circles through the campground and we picked our spot - #11.  It was the furthest one from the restrooms, but also seemed to be quite private.  We unpacked the car, set up the tent and our bedding.


Troubadour proceeded to build a fire.


After roasting veggie dogs for dinner we decided we needed dessert.  A healthier option to roasting marshmallows is to roast bananas, and that we did.


I think the bananas would have been tasty smashed between two graham wafers and dark chocolate as a slightly healthier s'mores option.  We sat there enjoying the peace and quite and remarking on how few people were in the campground.  There were no RV hook-ups or electrical at any of the 30 sites so we didn't expect it to be too busy.

We headed to bed just after dark and that is when we realized how noisy the traffic out on Highway 101 really was and that we'd forgotten ear plugs.  We thought traffic might ease up at some point but it didn't.  Just as we'd fall asleep a large truck would come along and jerk us awake. Finally after hours of tossing and turning we gave up trying to sleep and discovered it was 5:30 am.  Might as well light a fire, make some camp coffee and get the party started.

We watched the fire as dawn approached and others in the campground stirred awake.  We packed up the car knowing we wouldn't be spending a second night.  We decided to check out the trail head.  It was only a mile or so to the sand dunes then another mile to the ocean.  It was a beautiful trail through the woods.



As we got closer we could hear the ocean, but the fog was rolling in so we couldn't see it.


And then we were abruptly at the dunes and we could see what it would be like to walk a mile in that soft sand.  With the fog rolling in and a chill in the air we decided to forgo that last mile to the ocean.  We wouldn't have been able to see anything and the chance of losing sight of the trail over the dunes wasn't appealing.  Here is the panoramic view from where we stopped.  Just to the left of center is the trail over the dunes to the ocean.


Troubadour was adventurous and went down the hill to take a few pictures.  I stayed up the hill knowing I didn't want to climb back up the loose sand.



When he walked back up I used the camera to take a picture of a little piece of driftwood buried in the sand among the grass with one lonely dandelion bloom for company.


Then we got goofy with the self portraits.  No sleep and strong camp coffee will do that.




We made our way back into the woods and when I saw this bench I had to climb aboard and make vroom-vroom noises.



As I sat down I noticed a large banana slug on the front of the log and the legs of the bench had mushrooms on the ends.  Troubadour also noticed a colorful snail eating a mushroom.




(A fallen log feeding new growth)
(Troubadour trying out the soft focus feature)
We made it back to camp and drove to the Tahkenitch boat launches.  Both were quite busy. One in another campground and the other a day use boat launch.  There were at least 20 trucks and trailers sitting there with their boats already in the water.  We opted not to canoe around the fishermen.  We drove up the road a little trying to find a more remote place to put the canoe in the lake.  We stumbled upon a large section of ripe wild blackberries and decided it was snack time. We ate our fill and filled up a small container to take with us for snacking later.


We drove south thinking we might not get the canoe in the water and then we passed Elbow Lake. Just before a passing lane Brad spotted a driveway in the general direction of the lake and took it. We were glad he did as it was a little makeshift boat launch area.  With no one around and no one else on the lake, the canoe was getting wet.








(You can just see the car on the far right shore)

(Close up)
A view from the car.




I was looking out over the lake as Brad was taking pictures and didn't notice he took a picture of me with the car.  Apparently he realized he chopped my head off and had to take another.  Here they are - take I and take II.



We got back in the car and decided we'd head towards home the long way and see if we could find another spot to camp overnight.  We went east on Lower Smith River Road which turns into South Sisters Road and then Oxbow Rd.  All paved/chip sealed forestry roads.  Nice twisty bits of fun great for two-wheels.  We'd been down this same way in 2011 on our three day adventure. Although I don't think the road was in the same shape back then.  Time hasn't been good to it. Early on we passed this mill operation and Troubadour went across the bridge for a closer look.




We did pass three different camping areas and drove through them, but we were so out of place in our Subaru.  They were full of lifted pick up trucks with screaming children and dogs running amok.  You could almost hear the banjos and folks sayin': "you ain't from around here is ya?"  We finally lost hope for another night of camping.

Somewhere along the way we stopped by the side of the road and made sandwiches to eat by the river. We were too hungry to take any pictures.  Brad was snacking on the blackberries as we drove and I told him if there were any left I'd make him blackberry scones or muffins Sunday morning for breakfast - his choice.

Further northeast we came around a sharp corner way up high and were surprised at this sight. The clear cut logging is devastating.  That huge rig had cables hooked all across the canyon floor to the other side of the valley.  We aren't too sure how they plan on getting the logs out.  This was new to us and wasn't there in 2011.  On the far right of the panoramic photo below you can just see the road we were traveling.  Karen would kill us if we tried to take her on this one.  We were far from Flatlandia.





We popped out on Territorial Highway south of Veneta and made it home by 5 pm.  Basil was happy to see us and we had a relaxing evening.  We were exhausted and in bed by 9 pm and slept for 10 hours.

Oh, and Sunday morning he chose scones.


- Au Revoir

" Camping:  Nature's way of promoting the motel industry." - Dave Berry in The Only Travel Guide You'll Ever Need
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49 comments:

  1. I have never even thought of roasting bananas over the fire... That is brilliant. I am going to try that for sure.

    Looks like a fun weekend even if the camping was a bit of a drag due to road noise. From what I see, it looks to be a nice spot, otherwise.

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    1. I can't take credit for the banana idea. I was looking up vegan camping tips online and found it. They were tasty.

      We did have a fun weekend despite the lack of sleep and we didn't know how good the campsite was until compared with the others along Smith River Road.

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  2. Too bad that traffic noise came in the way of a good night's sleep. I love the idea of roasted bananas over the fire, alas, no open fire allowed in the garden (we should have a poll about a pit in the backyard...), so I usually just pan-fry them.

    Thanks for the pano shots. I like them, especially the one with you in the canoe. I miss kayaking... there is no lake close by, only lots of little creeks and rivers, but they are too shallow for boating.

    I am horrified looking at the clear cut pictures. I am sure that this happens here in the Black Forest as well, but I haven't found the sites yet. Just lots of lumber truck and saw mills.

    Yet, overall it sounds like you guys had a great outing, with a yummy outcome.

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    1. Can you roast the bananas over a candle flame? That would make a funny picture. Our closest lake is an hour away up highway 20 towards Newport. If we don't mind a longer drive they are a lot of them around.

      I always hate to see clear cuts and Oregon has entirely too many of them. Unfortunately we build with wood so there will always be a demand. it was such a shock coming around that corner. The pictures don't do the sheer scope of it justice.

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  3. Beautiful, beautiful Oregon. What a wonderful time you had.

    I remember the first time I saw clear cutting. My heart stopped. I had never even heard of "clear cutting" before, having just arrived from the middle of Illinois corn and bean fields.

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    1. I believe around here they think of clean cutting as a necessary evil because of the demand for wood. I think it is about money too of course.

      Sad. All I could think of was - "I am the Lorax - I fight for the trees."

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  4. Trobairitz:

    If Brad were free on that Saturday instead of teaching, I would have preferred to camp on the coast instead of going to coffee. That was my original intention but I didn't want to ride Hwy 34 in the morning and I didn't want to miss seeing Brad.

    Otherwise a relaxing day breathing in the sea air with nowhere to go would have been relaxing. I think I would have chosen the Scones too. Good choice.

    bob
    Riding the Wet Coast

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    1. It is nice to camp on the coast when it isn't too cold. I don't think it got too chilly that night. We were in shorts Saturday morning then alternated taking our sweaters on and o depending on the sun.

      I do believe you may have enjoyed the scones. Next time.......

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  5. Roasted bananas, genius...

    Nice photos of the trip and the goofy portraits, well, more camp coffee will fix just about anything. The pano shots are a nice addition. What resolution are they straight out of the camera?

    The tower with all of the cables is what is used to drag the logs around to where they can be loaded.

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    1. I think you'd like those roasted bananas Richard. Time to fire up that bbq and toast them.

      The pano shots were taken on the Olympus Tough camera with a 1900 x ?? and 12 megapixels I think. I can check when I get home. We found out later when looking at them there was a speck on the lens which makes some of them look like there was fog or smoke over the lake as the camera panned around.

      Thanks for the tip on the tower. It was quite a sight. Almost disorienting looking up at it with all the downed trees around. Almost vertigo inducing.

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  6. Nice! It looks like it was a good weekend :o) The big piece of logging equipment is called a yarder and the guys on the bottom of the canyon and sides hook lines of wire around them called chokers and the yarder "yards" them up the hill to the landing next to it so they can be taken off to wherever. Go History Channel.

    Roasted bananas sound good - maybe I'll add some to the grill with my peppers tonight! For dessert of course (the bananas). Siltcoos Lake (just north of Tahkenitch has some camp sites along the lake that you can hike into to canoe/kayak into - they're beautiful! Mosquitos are as big as seagulls in early summer, but this time of the year they might not be so bad....

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    1. Aaren't you a wealth of information Ms. Smarty Pants with your fancy satellite television. I do thank you for the info though as I had no clue and was too lazy to look it up.

      We did the Siltcoos Canoe Trail to the ocean back in 2009. It was a fun one. Would be fun to canoe camp when the mosquitos were't rabid.

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  7. The question then becomes: Why aren't we doing this every weekend? Now I remember why I loathe Pacific Ocean fog, by the way. Almost as much as clear cutting. Scones take the pain away.

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    1. The answer would be, I love my king size bed and Bunn Coffee maker at home too much to camp every weekend. Although I can see the merits of camping with a small tent trailer or camp trailer. It would block out the noise and give some comforts of home. Then I think if you want the comforts of home - why not stay home. Sigh.

      And yes,scones always make it better.

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  8. Trobairitz - mountains like that are not 'quite' as nasty when in a 4 by 4 (notice I say not quite, I've tried them that way too) but when it comes to lakes for canoeing and kayaking, well, they're all here in flatlandia. There are four great (little g) lakes within a few minutes of where I live and nearly 1000 within an hour, many with fantastic more rugged camping parks and hiking trails around them.
    No sleep aside, any holiday is a great day isn't it?

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    1. I thought of you going over that road since it was similar to the forestry road in Eastern Oregon last year except the road quality was poorer on this one and this was narrower in spots - hence why you would have killed us.

      I figured you'd have canoeing in abundance especially with you favorite lake not too far away.

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  9. Sorry to have been absent from your comments. Life has been very busy, but I'm paying attention even if I'm not grabbing the time to comment. Sand dunes aren't made for walking . . . although running in them was great conditioning for football :)

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    1. No worries Keith. We all get busy. It is hard to keep up on pots. Almost like a part time job sometimes.

      I can see how running in sand is good conditioning. I had a small hill to go back up to get to the trail and it was actually easier to run it than walk it.

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  10. More great pics! Love the hairy log...

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    1. Thanks Andrew. A lot of the logs were furry with moss, ferns and all sorts of things growing out of them. It was so green I thought it hard to take a picture as the log wasn't very definitive in it.

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  11. Looks like a great weekend out, pity there were no motorcycles thrashed to make it a little more exciting. Guess you can't have your cake and eat it to.

    The canoeing looks like it was fun, I haven't been canoeing for about 8 years or so.

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    1. Yes, pity we were on four wheels. Much easier to pack the canoe along though. We haven't had the canoe out since 2009 but we lend it to friends so it has seen water in between.

      Maybe this weekend we'll get out on the bikes. Although we have the first home college football game in Corvallis (whoop-a-dee-doo) but it screws with traffic. An extra 30,000 cars on the roads. Umm, so maybe no ride Saturday. It is also a holiday weekend for us and in the last 40 years has never been fatal traffic accident free. The second highest weekend for fatalities for the year. Yikes.

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  12. Great post. but I got tired just reading it - you two have a lot of energy. I really liked the goofy portraits.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Gary. Funny it looks like we have energy since I feel we've been positively lazy this summer and haven't done much.

      I've been following your RV adventures and now your Salt Flat good times. I bet you wish you had a bike strapped on the back of that RV when you were renting it.

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    2. You are absolutely right. Any future RV trip will HAVE to include a bike strapped to it!

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  13. I can never understand why someone would put a campground close to a major highway. I suppose the RV people like it and they're probably running out of space to avoid highways anyway...sigh...

    You still looked pretty cheery despite the lack of sleep, lucky you to live close to such beautiful scenery.

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    1. We don't understand it either. More than once we wondered why they didn't go a little more off the highway. Was more appropriate for a rest area than a campground.

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  14. Such a nice little weekend getaway! Isn't it a delight to come across wild, ready-to-eat berries?! I'm taking notes, 'cause someday in the next year or so, I will be out there!

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    1. So good to find wild berries. I don't think we've picked any in a few years. The first year we were down here we really ate a lot. We didn't understand how the blackberries grow like weeds around here. Now that we have to chase them out of the yard, we understand.

      Good to take notes. Remember to let me know when you are coming. We have to at least have coffee together.

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  15. Everything so beautiful so close to you!

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    1. Just keep riding up 101, you'll arrive in no time.

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  16. Don't forget... Even Canoes have to have Registration Numbers and a Sticker now...

    Missed you guys at coffee.. I had give Bob extra crap in your absence.

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    1. We bought the $7 Invasive Species Permit before we left. We can't find anything in the regulations about registering and numbering a canoe, just motor boats and sailboats over 12'.

      We missed you too. When we got up at 5:30 we were thinking we could still make coffee, but wanted to put the canoe in the water. If we had of been on the bikes, I think we would have done it. Good thing you bugged BobT, he needs that every Saturday.

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  17. I'm sorry the road noise kept you awake. Been there, done that. Nice that you decided to pack it in and enjoy the day instead of sticking it our for another sleepless night.

    The hiking and canoeing look perfect! Slight fog along the coast and clear skies on the water. But I can't help but notice that you were the anchor paddler? Was that to keep an eye on Troubadour and make sure he did his fair share of paddling? Or that you didn't have to do yours? ;)

    We are trying to get our kayaks hung in the garage and missing our excursions. Someday... Think 86 year old mom can climb into a canoe?? hmmm....

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    1. It was unfortunate the fog rolled in but I was really happy it was sunny on the water. Just a little sun though, not enough to fry us to a crisp like it would have been in the valley.

      Brad was in the front of the canoe since we put it in the water and he wanted me to get in first and it had floated backwards. We weren't really at a formal boat launch - more or less toss the canoe over the bank so where it landed we got in. If the front had of been pointed towards the water I would have climbed up front. I think Brad was slightly uncomfortable up there with me in control in the back :-)

      I think your MIL could climb in a canoe - provided you didn't push her overboard on the way in or out, lol.

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    2. Ha, I was originally going to comment that now we know who really is in control.... ;-)

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    3. You can speak to the man in charge or the woman who knows what is going on.

      What is that old saying? - behind every successful man there is a woman (with a boat oar ready to smack him) I laugh - because in the one picture it looks as though I am going to smack him with the paddle whereas in reality I was just switching sides. It is a 14' canoe - lots of room in between.

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  18. What a nice weekend. The two of you are truly blessed to share so many interests and pursuits. I had a canoe (one of my red toys), but sold it when it hadn't seen the water in a long time. Your post brought back very fond memories.

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    1. Yeah we are pretty lucky to have found each other in this crazy mixed up word.

      Glad to bring back some good memories. We don't put the canoe in the water very often either, but we have room to store it so it doesn't hurt it to hang around. We actually had to dig it out from between the laurel shrubs and fence.

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  19. The roasted bananas look great, would have been perfect with a bit of brown sugar or maple syrup I reckon.

    Love you photos so much, specially like the ones of the foggy beach, kinda sureal.

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    1. Mmmm brown sugar or maple syrup would have been good on the bananas. Maybe I need to fire up the grill at home now.

      It was weird watching the fog roll in. It kept getting closer. It was the only foggy part of the day though.

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  20. Camping near the ocean in the fog sounds exciting....but then I remember about the chill..
    Looks like you had a good weekend!

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    1. Luckily it was only chilly in that one section of the hike when we got to the dunes. As we hiked back to camp the sweaters came back off and we had sunshine the rest of the day.

      We did have a good weekend, sure seemed longer than just an overnight though. Must have been the long drive home.

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  21. Sounds like a nice time and some nice pics. Roast bananas are tasty. making me hungry...

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    1. I still haven't tried to roast the bananas on the BBQ. I keep forgetting. Wouldn't be the same though.

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  22. What a great way to spend a few days off. Back to nature! Great photos.

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    1. Thanks Nigel. We'd rather moto-camp but it was nice to take the canoe out for once. A trade off I guess.

      Although we have seen a bicycle towing a canoe. If they can do it you think a motorcycle could.

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  23. Wow, that's some trip report. Too bad you had such rotten luck with camping spots. That was a perfect lake you happened upon. You guys look bleary eyed in the selfies for sure. The driftwood pic may be my favorite. Now that I've experienced a bit of your neck of the woods, I can appreciate your hike pics even more. Is there anything as peaceful as a rain forest? ­čśä

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    1. We still had fun even if we didn't have much sleep.

      There is just something magical about the rainforests. Maybe it is all those shades of green or the mushrooms, moss, slugs, snails or other critters.

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