Posts Tagged With: lake

Lake Wynoochee, Washington

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Lake Wynoochee (Photo by Brandy Kirkendall)

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Beautiful Wynoochee Lake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tucked away just 30 minutes from the town of Montesano, Washington, lies the small pristine body of water called Lake Wynoochee. Located in the southern part of the Olympic Peninsula and created when the Wynoochee Dam was built to provide a reservoir, the lake is exactly what you expect of the northwest – deep blue and surrounded by a thick forest.

We decided to go up and check out the Coho Campground and take our boat (lovingly named “Lawn Art” since it sits as a decoration on our lawn more than we would like.) We headed west to Montesano and right past the exit to the town was Devonshire Road. We headed 34 miles up the twisting narrow road, then made a left when we saw the sign for the campground. Important note: cell phone service ends about 4 miles up Devonshire.

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(Photo by Brandy Kirkendall)

Pulling into the campground, there were two options for sites. Loop B can be reserved online. We didn’t have reservations so we headed into Loop A which is first-come, first-serve sites and there were plenty available. The cost was $20 a night. There are also walk-in sites for $16 a night. There are pads for RVs but no hookups. Three yurts are also available for rent. There is a campground host, but no amenities. There are normally regular restrooms but unfortunately, they were closed due to a septic failure, so there were port-a-potties and hand-washing stations set up.

The weather cooperated pretty well and while it wasn’t warm and sunny, it didn’t rain while we set up camp. Then we jumped in the truck and took Lawn Art out on the lake. So this is where I have to tell you that we rarely do anything that doesn’t involve an adventure. There is no dock on the lake. We had to back the trailer into the lake, Josh then pulled away from the ramp and had to nose up to the bank so David could jump on. That worked pretty well actually. Until we pulled away and out into the lake. All of a sudden I looked that the floor and said, “Oh, we’re taking on water!” My 9-year-old grandson, Anden, started freaking out – “We’re gonna sink, we’re gonna sink!” I told him, “No, we’re fine, you have your lifejacket on and we’ll get back to shore.” Meanwhile I was thinking, “We’re gonna sink, we’re gonna sink!” I really hate it when I have to be the adult and act calm! So we had to quickly nose back to the bank so David could jump off and run and get the truck and trailer, while we then pulled back around to the ramp. David admitted, “I think I put the plug in the wrong hole.” Yes, dear, you did.

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Trail to Day Use Area

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Boating on Lake Wynoochee

Since fishing on the boat was too traumatic to do again that evening, Josh and Anden went to the day use area of the park and were able to do some fishing there. The day use area has the swimming area, picnic tables, and trails where you can get to the lake away from the swimming area.

Back at camp we ate dinner and made S’mores. That always makes life better. The next day dawned sunny and clear. I was worried Anden wouldn’t want to go in the boat again, but he was fine. The lake was like glass and while we knew there had to be other boats out there, there were none in sight. We really liked the fact that this lake is a lot less populated than other lakes that we usually go to. We fished awhile and didn’t catch anything, so headed back in to meet up my daughter, Brandy, and her fiancé, Jason. After they arrived, we went back out in the boat twice, fishing, puttering around, and just plain enjoying the sun and the company. A few more boats were out in the afternoon but still nowhere near enough to feel crowded.

Another evening back at camp eating dinner and S’mores and enjoying visiting. The best part about camping at Lake Wynoochee was the time alone with family. No cell service, no internet, no TV, no interruptions. Truly rustic. If you really want to get away from it all, there are several levels at Lake Wynoochee – RVing, tenting in the campground, walk-in sites in the campground, yurts, or even places where you can take your boat to isolated spots along the shoreline.

It’s not too far away from a town yet far away enough away from it all to remember what is really important – unforgettable, precious time with family.

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Brandy, Anden, Nancy (Photo by Brandy Kirkendall)

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Categories: Boating/Kayaking, Fishing, Outdoors, Parks, RV/Camping, Washington | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

1-102_2122Crater Lake. One of the most beautiful and well-known lakes in the world. The unbelievable deep blue of the lake, the dark green of the surrounding forest, the lighter blue of the sky – all combine for an eye-pleasing scene. Plus if you are into geology, you have to love the story of Crater Lake. Located in southern Oregon, it is the deepest lake in the United States, second deepest in the western hemisphere and 7th deepest in the world. It is 1932 feet deep and 6 miles wide. The lake was formed when a volcano, Mount Mazama, erupted 7,700 years ago and then collapsed. The water in the lake is from rainfall and melted snow.

1-102_2136Crater Lake National Park is 183,224 acres in size. It was established in 1902 and is the 5th national park to be created. You can drive completely around the lake. The rim drive is 33 miles long. There are over 20 scenic viewpoints. And you’ll want to stop at all of them. Each offers just a little different view of the lake.

There are two campgrounds and two lodges in the park – Crater Lake Lodge and Mazama Village Motor Inn. Crater Lake Lodge is located at Rim Village and has 71 rooms. Mazama Village Motor Inn is seven miles south of the lake and has 40 rooms. Lost Creek Campground is pretty rustic and only has 16 campsites which are tent-only. Mazama Campground has 200 sites and has a dump station, laundry, showers, (but no hookups), a store and a service station.1-102_2139

Hike down to the lake by way of the Cleetwood Trail and you can catch a boat ride that will take you out to Wizard Island. There, you can get off the boat and spend a little time on the island before heading back for the long, steep hike (700 ft. elevation over 1.1 miles) back up to the top of the rim. Or while down at the lake you can fish without a fishing license.

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Stretch your legs on some of the over 90 miles of hiking trails and get up close and personal with some of the little critters and colorful wildlife. Part of the Pacific Crest Trail also passes through the park.

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Of course you will want to stop at the visitor center and gift shop at Rim Village. While there, take the time to treat yourself to a snack and a drink at the lodge which opened in 1915. Hopefully, it won’t be too busy, and you will be able to grab a seat on one of the wooden rocking chairs out on the porch overlooking the lake. Once seated there you can relax and drink in the amazing view of the lake.

1-102_2130Crater Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes you will ever see. Whatever you do, do NOT forget your camera! You simply can’t imagine a lake so blue it almost looks like it has been enhanced through a computer program – it is something you have probably never encountered anywhere else. There is truly no other place like it.

Getting there: From I-5 southbound, take Exit 188 towards Oakridge/Klamath Falls (OR-58). OR-58 turns into US-97. Go south to OR-138, turn west and then go approximately 15 miles to Crater Lake Rd.

From I-5 northbound take Exit 30 OR-62 toward OR-237E/N. Medford/Crater Lake. Turn right onto OR62E. Turn right onto OR-62. Go about 16 miles to the south entrance to the park.

Categories: Oregon, Outdoors, Parks | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lake Scanewa, Lewis County, Washington

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Beautiful Lake Scanewa is great for boating as well as fishing! (Photo credit: David Keaton)

Lake Scanewa (sku-NEE-wuh) is a 610-acre reservoir located in Lewis County, Washington, south of Hwy. 12 between the towns of Morton and Randle. It was created by the Cowlitz Falls Dam and is stocked with trout and hatchery salmon. Cowlitz Falls Day Use Park is located on the east end of the lake. By the way, don’t go looking for the falls – they don’t exist anymore. There is a boat launch, picnic tables and restrooms (although not much better than port-a-potties).

We like to go to the day use park because you can do so many things right there. You can fish (starting June 1) from the bank for salmon or trout. There is a small lagoon where kids can swim plus it is blocked off at the beginning of fishing season and stocked with trout for kids to catch. This year’s Kids Fishing Derby will be on Saturday, June 8.

Often you can see the trout jumping and the silver flash of huge salmon rolling around in the water. But nothing is more exciting than hooking that amazing salmon and slowly reeling it in and landing it. And nothing is more heart-breaking than when it gets loose…

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He said his was bigger. But I think he just measured wrong…

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My first salmon! (Photo credit: David Keaton)

 

You can launch your boat from the boat launch and troll around the lake or up the river, with hopes of increasing your chances of catching that big salmon.

 

 

 

 

But to really get up close and personal with the area, a kayak is the ideal method of transportation. You can get right in to the shallow tight spots that you can’t get to any way else. We even found a small stream just slightly wider than the kayaks and took a ride up it until it got too tight and we had to turn around. You feel very intimate with nature when you can do something like that.

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Another fun thing to do is watch the fish delivery. To stock the lake, Tacoma Power employees must go downriver to capture the fish near Barrier Dam and load them into a big truck. They then transport the fish past the dams, which have no fish ladders, and stock them at various sites including Lake Scanewa. You can also check out Tacoma Power’s website at http://www.mytpu.org/tacomapower/fish-wildlife-environment/cowlitz-fish-report.htm to see how many and what kinds of fish they stock each week.

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Tiny islands (Photo credit: David Keaton)

Tacoma Power releases the fish several times a day, including on the weekend. It’s fascinating to watch the truck back up to the boat dock, open the hatch, and dump out hundreds of fish. It’s quite the sight – and quite the tease for fishermen!

 

 

 

Getting there: From Morton, take Highway 12 east to Savio Road (If you get to Randle, you’ve gone too far). Turn right and go to Kiona Road. Turn right and follow Kiona Road to Falls Road. Turn right and continue to the Day Use Park on the left.

From Yakima take Highway 12 west past Randle to Savio Road (if you get to Morton, you’ve gone too far). Turn left and go to Kiona Road. Turn left and follow Kiona Road to Falls Road. Turn right and continue to the Day Use Park on the left.

Categories: Boating/Kayaking, Fishing, Outdoors, Parks, Washington | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Paulina Lake and Paulina Peak – Central Oregon

Central Oregon is one of my favorite places. There is so much to see and do there. So I had to make a decision on what to write about first. Since the picture on our home page is taken from Paulina Peak, I decided to start with Paulina Lake and Paulina Peak.

Paulina Lake

Paulina Lake

Located about 24 miles south and a little east of Bend, is the beautiful Paulina Lake. The lake, along with East Lake just east of Paulina, is part of the 55,000 acre Newberry National Volcanic Monument, a protected area, so nothing can be built there. However, Paulina Lake Lodge, located on the shores of the lake, was grandfathered in as it was built in 1948 long before the 1990 designation of the monument. You can rent rustic cabins, rent boats, dine in the restaurant that has rather strange hours or peruse the little store with pictures of all the huge fish everyone except us seem to catch.

When you arrive at Paulina Lake take the time to get out and check it out. It is a crystal clear blue lake that, if you get there early enough, is flat and smooth as glass, reflecting the surrounding hills like a mirror. Sometimes so many baby fish are jumping around they look like grasshoppers. It’s a serene lake to kayak on as well, allowing you to paddle out into the middle of it and just enjoy the solitude and the beauty of the area.

View from Paulina Peak

View from Paulina Peak

After you have rested, relaxed, and cleared you mind, it’s now time to drive up to Paulina Peak. Just back about a mile west from the lake is the road. It’s clearly marked. You’ll drive four miles up a washboard road, getting higher and higher, seeing farther and farther, until you come out at the top in a parking lot. You are now at 7985 feet. Step out and take a look to the north. There you will see Paulina Lake and looking down at it you won’t be able to believe you were just that far below.

The Big Obsidian Flow

The Big Obsidian Flow

Off to the east you can see  a true natural marvel – the Big Obsidian Flow. It is estimated the eruption happened about 1300 years ago and covers a little over 2 and ½ miles. What you are seeing is the flow of lava that contained just the right minerals to turn into obsidian (sometimes known as volcanic glass).

Top of Paulina Peak

Top of Paulina Peak

You can take an easy, short hike up to another lookout point and see a breath-taking 360 degree view. We like to say you can see yesterday and tomorrow. There are a few more easy trails that take you out to the east a little ways so you can view the area from there as well. Again, like the lake, you can just sit and listen to nature and be awed by the majesty of the volcanic activity that happened 75,000 years ago. The dark blue of the lakes, the deep green of the surrounding forests, the sheer size of the obsidian flow, and the cloudless blue sky, combine to create a natural postcard that could never be artificially duplicated.

So next time you are in Central Oregon, even if only for a short time, check out the Paulina Lake and Paulina Peak area. I think you will find it will be one of your favorite places as well.

Getting there: From Bend go 24 miles south on Hwy. 97. Turn left onto Paulina Lake Road, signs are also there for the Newberry Caldera. Go about 11 miles to the entrance to the park ($5 fee or Northwest Forest Pass.) About one mile farther will take you to the road to Paulina Peak. It will be on your right. The road to Paulina Lake is a little further on, look for the signs, it will be on your left.

Categories: Oregon, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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