I’m a bit tardy putting these up, but Sean sent me photos of two fish he caught while camping in the Tioga Pass area during July. The brown is his first brown trout, caught on a fly. The second is a brook caught out of Lee Vining Creek, where they can be quite spooky.
The gear is getting lined up, the fishing tackle assembled and the gas tank is full. In less than 36 hours, the Great Fishing Adventure of 2007 will begin. Camping in the Rock Creek area, fishing Crowley Lake, McGee Creek and the Little Lakes Valley. Might squeeze in time at my favorite spot on Lee Vining Creek, then return to the cabin for a few more days of relaxation.
What am I looking forward to?
How’s that for an answer? (Just picture me in the foreground with a decent-sized rainbow, brook, brown or maybe even a golden trout.)
It is unknown if I will be able to post any real-time fishing reports from the Eastside, but I will report after the fact, with the obligatory photographic piscatorial proof.
Perhaps it was a bit ambitious, but when all was said and done and visited, our trip to Crater Lake, Mt. St. Helens and the Seattle area was a fantastic trip filled with astonishing sights (photos below). We rolled out of town with the car loaded and maps marked, on a nice summer day, though there were some worries about forest fires raging throughout California and Oregon. We whizzed through most of Northern California, then veered off well-traveled I-5 onto U.S. Route 97. A few miles after our stop in Weed, Calif., the terrain and vegetation sure changed…we drove through the dry pine forests in California at this point and entered the more lush forests of Oregon.
Then WHAM!, I slammed on the brakes shortly after passing a sign for the Klamath Fish Hatchery near Chiloquin, Oregon. The boys and I enjoyed gawking at the fish in the holding ponds, but were flabbergasted when we spied some fish that had escaped to the stream adjacent to the hatchery….one would have fed a family of fifteen! Then our adventure really began…
Driving into Crater Lake from the south is quite dramatic. We rose through the forests, glimpsing smoke from distant forest fires as we crested the occasional ridge line. We arrived at the campground about mid afternoon, but after a quick look around decided to cut our stay short by one day, allowing us a full day later at Mt. St. Helens. We set up camp, just above Annie Springs Creek, and as you may see by the picture it’s deep in a lush canyon. Adam, Sean and I hiked a trail that ran along the creek and up the hills of the canyon, stopping at the guideposts and reading from a guidebook. Of course, our visit included the boys making friends with camp neighbors and marshmallows roasted over the campfire.
The next day we struck out for “The Lake.” It’s a short drive from the campground, and on the way there we stopped at the visitor center. There the boys discovered National Park trading cards…much better than Pokémon cards if you ask me! A few minutes later we crested the rim of the former Mount Mazama. Crater Lake has to be seen to be believed…the water’s blue hues are incredible, and the picture to the left only hints at the richness of these colors. We spent quite a while walking up and down the pathways of the south rim, popping into another visitor center and the every present gift shops. Wizard Island is in the center of the lake, and on the left side on the shore line, there was some snow – at the end of July!
Of course, we had the obligatory group shot in the album. Moving from your left to right, it’s Adam, Karen with Chris sprouting out of her head, me, and Sean. Near as I can figure, the person taking the shot was leaning a bit, then I had to crop their finger out of the image, so we look as if we’re about to fall over.
The road out of Crater Lake (U.S. 97 to State Route 58) has its own charm. It’s quite a drive to reach I-5 again, but along the way you pass through a pumice desert. I thought it was an amazing sight. We passed through the Willamette Valley and watershed on Highway 58, long stands of trees and frequently the road was paralleled by a river. After this long drive (it was LONG), we stopped in Eugene at, of all places, Costco. Great place to fill up on gas and feed the kids.
The kids were incredibly well-behaved through the rest of Oregon, and we were all amazed, when we opened our doors at Seaquest State Park in Washington to the humidity that flooded in. Thank goodness we had made room to spend a full day at Mt. St. Helens, it was well worth it! After a campfire-less night (No campfires permitted in the wet woods of the Northwest?!), we left our campsite for a romp up the mountain.
Mt. St. Helens is an amazing and staggering place. Since we had all day, we drove and stopped along the way, hitting every visitor center along the way – the Mount St. Helens Visitor Center at Silver Lake, almost across the street from our campground and well worth the visit if you don’t plan on driving up to the Coldwater Visitor Center near the caldera, as we did, and Weyerhaeuser’s Mount St. Helens Forest Learning Center. At the forestry center, we spent quite a bit of time watching elk below near the riverbed.
The Coldwater Visitor Center was a fantastic place and we all enjoyed it. One of the best video presentations shows what happened through news clips and documentary footage, and at its conclusion the screen rises and curtains part to a view of Mt. St. Helens itself. (Unless it’s covered by clouds.) Later, we hiked up a vista point, where the boys “posed.” Guess we timed it just right…if you look at the picture of Mt. St. Helens above, you see nary a cloud though it was overcast until we reached the summit.
We had a great time camping our way up to the Seattle area, where we visited my folks and had a grand time, but that’s another story…and another web page.
On Aug. 16, 1997 we staked our temporary claim to a campsite at Eagle Point at Emerald Bay State Park. This is probably one of the best campsites we’ve had at this campground – across from the showers, within easy walking distance of a small beach and Eagle Point, where we were able to watch ospreys feeding their young in a nest.
One of the highlights of this trip was a 1½-mile hike to Eagle Lake, and in the photos below you can that the boys were happy to make it. (Sean is hamming it up!) Guess it shows either my age or that of the boys; they pretty much kept up with me during all of our hikes throughout the area. Eagle Lake rises about 1,000 feet above the 6,229-foot elevation of Lake Tahoe, so it was a good hike. There was still snow in some of the crevices up and to the right of the rear of the lake. BTW, Eagle Lake is where part of Star Trek: Nemesis was filmed.
Our 1¼-mile hike behind Fallen Leaf Lake was also very enjoyable, though it followed what appeared to be a goat path on the side of granite mountains. And upon reaching our destination, the boys cooled off by dipping there toes into that awfully cold water.
Another highlight I would recommend that any visitor to the Tahoe area – worth the time to visit (and find) – would be Echo Lakes. Pay a measly $6 for a U.S. Forest Service tour of the two lakes. The lakes and surrounding mountains are incredibly beautiful. The two-hour tour, in an old U.S. Navy launch, takes in the natural and human history of the area. (There is a community of 100 or so seasonal homes on the shores of both lakes.)
As usual, Sean and Chris made some friends (from Irvine and the city of Orange, BTW). It is nice to see some things haven’t changed in the many years I have been camping! Check the album to and another friend take a few seconds to sit still by and on the neighbor’s hammock.
If you look through the photo album, you’ll see Chris standing front of Emerald Bay. Our campsite would be just to the left of his head, on the point. The photo was taken at the top of Eagle Falls, and near the trailhead for a trail leading to Eagle Lake and other destination in the Desolation Wilderness.