July/26/201315:26 Filed in: Adventure
The last day on a group vacation is always a little melancholy and that holds true for river trips. This morning started as all the other morning on the trip have started except that this morning we had a flock of Mergansers running upstream and floating back down the river while we ate breakfast. There was also a mama bear and a cub across the river from out campsite. The bears upped our total bear sightings for the trip to twenty-three.
We only had a few miles to float today so we made a couple of extra stops. The first was at a rock where JR launched the kayakers in to the river from a rock about ten feet above the river (called a seal launch). The second stop was a waterfall where we hiked in for a group photo.
The raft guides must have been tired because they turned the rafts over to the guest. At one point our guide even dove off the side of the raft and swam to another raft and climbed on board. At lunch JR decided to entertain us with an impromptu concert. Michael had made a special dressing and brought it from home for our salad. We arrived at the take-out around 2:00.
Vans met us at the take out. After we unloaded all personal belongings from the rafts and changed clothes, our belongings were loaded into a trailer and we took a two-and-a-half hour ride along the very narrow (often single lane) curvy Galice-Hellgate Back Country Byway back to the resort. I can’t tell you anything about the ride other than I was sitting next to Emily because I slept the whole way.
Back at the river house, we unpacked our dry bags and took showers. Pat doctored those with injuries from the trip (always nice to have a doctor in the group) and then we headed down to the resort for dinner.
Saturday night is a big night in the unincorporated town of Galice, OR. The resort had a band and the restaurant and deck were packed with happy people. We all packed ourselves around one table and at the bar behind the table. Getting food took about forty minutes, but we were not in a hurry. After everyone was full, we started dancing and we danced and danced. I wish I had the camera with me, but I did not. (That might be a good thing now that I think about it.) Everyone had a great time. About half of us returned to the river house before too late, the others closed down the party at the resort.
As always with this group, we had a great week. I would have never guessed that a group of old people could have so much fun, but we sure do manage to have a good time year after year. I’m anxious to know where we are going next year.
July/19/201311:58 Filed in: Adventure
Dicky, Michael, Jim, David and I were up early this morning. Dickey made coffee and heated water for tea. A few more bears were spotted. This morning was like all other mornings on the river except for one thing. Normally a “speeder” takes off in a raft right after breakfast so that we are assured of having the best campsites on the river for the evening. That did not happen this morning. This morning all four rafts remained with the group because of the difficulty of the first two rapids we would encounter. Read More...
July/18/201310:55 Filed in: Adventure
I woke up early this morning. The campsite was littered with sleeping bodies, musical instruments, bottles, cans, cups, camping and river gear. Dickie was making coffee and heating water for tea. I searched through the cups that were left from last night to find the cleanest dirty cup for tea. Once the guides wake up the cups will be washed, but I wanted tea right away. Read More...
July/17/201319:55 Filed in: Adventure
Apparently I sleep warm. I have a fifty-degree sleeping bag on this trip. Mary brought a fifty-degree and a forty-degree bag (couldn’t decide which one she would need). I was plenty warm all night. When I woke up this morning, Mary was in both the fifty and forty degree bags that she brought.
July/16/201317:59 Filed in: Adventure
Everyone was up early this morning. We had muffins and cereal available in the house for breakfast. In addition, the restaurant at the “resort” (I use the term loosely) had a full breakfast. We were to meet our river guide at 9:00. We would be given instructions for packing our gear into dry bags and taken to the put-in.
July/15/201314:28 Filed in: Adventure
Dee Wright Observatory is located at the top of McKenzie Pass. It was built from lava rock during the Great Depression and is surrounded by a large lava flow. The structure is built so that each opening in the wall showcases one of the surrounding mountains. McKenzie Pass follows an 1860 wagon road. The route was cut through the sixty-five square mile lava flow. Read More...
July/04/201314:22 Filed in: Daily Life
Mary generally spends her days off mountain biking and napping, but today she mixed things up a bit and went to the Pet Parade with me. From the time we arrived in Bend, people have been telling us not to miss the pet parade so we didn’t. Neither of us realized that the pet parade is a HUGE event in Bend. Read More...
July/03/201305:43 Filed in: Adventure
Mary had the day off and wanted to go kayaking and mountain biking. I found what looked like the perfect place. There were more than ten miles of mountain bike trails and the Deschutes River with a put-in and take-out close enough together that we could bike the shuttle. Adding to that, it was a place we had never been.
Mary got up before me (a rare event) and we started packing up bike and kayak gear before nine o’clock. Mary generally does not do anything but sleep and grumble before nine o’clock so I knew she was anxious to get started playing. We did not get very far packing up before our neighbor (a seventy year old single woman) came over and asked if we knew how to empty an RV holding tank. I told Mickey that I would help her. I went over to check things out and discovered that her RV has two separate sewage setups. Her gray water holding tank was hooked up and working. Her black tank did not even have a sewage hose connected to it. Most RVs have a common hookup for the two types of tanks. We carry an extra sewer hose so I went back to our RV and got it to hook to Mickey’s black tank. That is when I discovered that Mickey had pulled the release to dump the tank and the sewage was already in the dump hookup pipe. If I removed the cap to hook up the hose, I was going to be covered with sewage as was the area around the pipe. I told her I could not do it. She would need to find someone with experience along those lines and some kind of container to catch the sewage that was already in the pipe - several gallons from the look of the setup.
I returned to help Mary load bike and boats. Our neighbors across the street came out to talk so we stopped and chatted with them for a while before continuing to pack up. Then our neighbors on the other side of us came over to talk and we stopped to talk with them. It ended up taking us about an hour longer than it should have to get gear loaded, but that’s ok - the days are long and we have plenty of hours of sunshine left. After loading everything we had breakfast - goat sausage and eggs from the goat farm and headed for LaPine State Park.
We arrived at LaPine without issue, unloaded the bikes and rode about six miles on several trails. The trails were in good shape and the biking was excellent. After a few hours of riding and checking out the state park, we returned to the truck to take the boats to the put-in so we could kayak.
I had found this put in using a map of the Deschutes River and longitude and latitude coordinates. Once you have longitude and latitude coordinates, you can put them in a vehicle GPS and the GPS will direct you to the location of the coordinates. Sounds like a great system doesn’t it? This is not the first time I have found remote locations using longitude and latitude coordinates nor is it the first time that things didn’t work out as planned. In the past, I have gotten us in some bad situations and a few terrible situations doing just this sort of thing. This was another one of those times.
We drove out of the park and immediately turned onto a dirt road, then we turned onto a narrower dirt road, then onto a third - I hesitate to call it a road - perhaps sandy trail is a better description. The trail was not very wide nor in very good condition. As we drove on (actually Mary was driving as always seems to be the case when I get us into these messes), the trail narrowed to the point that it was not as wide as the truck. By this time Mary is fussing that I “did it again,” meaning that I got us into a bad situation using navigational aids. She went on and on about how she always is the one driving when I get us in to these “situations.” We came to an open area (not our destination) and Mary said she was turning around because there was no way she was going to bike in this sand or drive the road again (both of which are required to run a boat shuttle). I got out to direct the forty point turn it took to turn the truck around in the tight space. After we got turned around, Mary got out to see how badly the truck had been scratched from the trees and bushes along the road - it was not good.
Even though the road today was in poor condition and the truck got scratched, this was by no means the worst situation I have gotten us into using my map reading and navigational skills. We got out of the situation pretty quick and still had time left to play afterwards. Mary has learned that it is a risk she takes when agreeing to try to drive to a location I have found.
As we made our way back to civilization we discussed other options for kayaking and where we might find lunch. We found lunch at a wine bar in Northwest Crossing and then headed up to an area we were familiar with to kayak.
We unloaded the boats about half way between Benham Falls and Dillion Falls on the Deschutes River. Mary biked the shuttle while I played around in the river. When Mary returned we floated down the river. It was a perfect day to be on the water and once again everything was right in our world.