Saturday, August 13, 2005

Week 1, Day 1: Odell Lake

August 13th, 2005
Destination: Odell Lake
Distance: 0 miles
Climbed: 0 ft.
Descended: 0 ft

My dad drove Ladybug and I up to Odell Lake in the central Oregon Cascades. The morning was warm and hazy as we drove up the Willamette Valley from Portland to Eugene. We made a pit stop at a rest area near Eugene. Ironically, one of the men’s bathrooms was being worked on and, for once in a blue moon, there was a long line to use the men’s restroom while the women’s was not busy. This caused enough mirth among the womenfolk that some were taking pictures of the line of men for posterity. Those of us in line tried to feign good humor while awaiting our chance to ease the pressure in our bladders.

Soon we were back on Interstate 5 and soon turned east onto Highway 58 into the mountains. The haze remained with us into the mountains. We passed through Oakridge, a city of about 3,300 people surrounded by national forest lands. We gassed up, noted the A & W and Dairy Queen locations for future trips and motored on up to Willamette Pass.

Having arrived at our destination, we scoped out a spot at the Trapper Creek forest service campsite, marked it as ours by putting up a tent, and then took off around the lake. We bought lunch at the Odell Lake Lodge and then settled in by the lake at the camp. We enjoyed the nice picnic table since we would be using logs and rocks as tables and chairs for the next several days. Our tent site was surrounded by bushes filled with dark blue mountain huckleberries. My dad and I joked with Ladybug about the relative urine content of bushes found near the tent sites. We thanked my Dad for the ride and the help and he drove off.

The next order of business was to find the trailhead for our trip. We drove up the road earlier, but only found a road entrance for a trailhead to a different trail number. We decided to take one of the unmarked spur trails off the main road to see what we could find. We reached a set of railroad tracks (odd for the mountains) and wandered southward to see if any trails crossed it. We found one, followed it and found our trailhead. Although it was unmarked at the road, it was indeed sharing the same trail we saw the sign from earlier while driving.

With that settled, we went back our campsite. We brought a couple of fresh salads for dinner to fortify ourselves against the dry goods diet we were to eat for the next couple of weeks. We walked around a bit and found some Pacific Crest “Trail Angels” in one of the camp sites. Trail Angels are people who come up to provide items that trail weary Pacific Crest Trail hikers couldn’t otherwise get like barbecued food, cookies, cake, water in dry areas, etc. Due to large amounts of snow in the California Sierras, many hikers decided to switch sides and hike south from Canada. This resulted in a scarcity of hikers coming through this part of Oregon, so they were happy to see people like us even if we were just starting out. We chatted for a while until the sun got low and we took our leave.

After our campfire began to die down, we climbed into the tent, but it took our neighbors a bit longer to quiet their camps. Around 11pm all was finally quiet enough to sleep.


DewKid said...

I got a couple of opportunities to camping this summer, the first time in years. Though I'd love to backpack, 3 little kids make car-camping a better alternative. As car-camping is usually accompanied by radios, beer, and loud talking people, our noisy neighbors didn't shut up until well after 2 am. (sigh)

Thanks for sharing your journal with us! I'm looking forward to more pictures and bathroom stories. ;-P

Don Snabulus said...

I agree that the party atmosphere in some campsites is a bit nuts. I am thankful for strict camp managers who are sticklers for quiet time rules.