Wow. What a day! After yesterday and traveling over 500 miles, I am pleased to report that we traveled under 200 miles today, total. The day started early, as our camping neighbors in Ashland were far too loud for their own good. All three of us took turns being forcibly woken by their antics starting from about 10 PM on day one. Regardless of that, the day’s activities were enough to make me forget any unpleasantness in the morning. We headed out after packing up the campsite and made our way about half a mile down the road. The previous evening we had noticed a floating dock with a few people jumping from it, enjoying the last little bit of daylight. We almost made it to the dock that evening, but we decided it wasn’t prudent to go jumping into unfamiliar bodies of water after dark. I’m sure glad we stopped by this morning though. The water was a wonderful warm but still very refreshing temperature. The visibility wasn’t great, probably about eight feet, but it was clear enough that we could each confidently take a running leap off the end of the dock. The surrounding beach was red, rocky, and sandy, and some areas along the shoreline had some very sparse weeds growing on them. The terrain surrounding the lake was quite a treat: red rock with sparse shrubbery.
After our morning swim we made our way into the city of Ashland, about three miles from our campsite and the first swimming hole of the trip. Ashland is way more beautiful than I expected. The city planning is thoughtful with plenty of sidewalks, crosswalks, and bike lanes. Everything is very well manicured and to top it off, by 11 AM it was 70+ degrees and sunny. We ate a delicious lunch outside at a bakery called Munchies. I had a Reuben sandwich, Ash had fettuccini Alfredo, and Amber had a huge hard taco shell full of veggies, beans, and salsa. From lunch we walked around Ashland for a while, visiting a couple of bookstores and a small boutique clothing store where Ashley got a new yellow dress.
With our time running out on parking in downtown Ashland we returned to the car and I ordered new brake pads from an auto parts store at our next stop, in California, while Ash and Amber toured one last bookstore. On our way out of town, via ORE-66, we visited our spot on the lake one last time for a quick dip. I dunked Ashley and got myself into a world of trouble. I was forced to attempt distraction using my tour guide technique of pointing out very obvious features of the landscape.
Our next destination was Klamath Falls, OR. ORE-66 is a beautiful road. It is curvy and climbs significantly in elevation. It was a beautiful, fun, and challenging drive through mountainous terrain and what looked like Weyerhaeuser pine forests. The trip was only about 70 miles, but we ended up driving right past Klamath Falls and on to Crater Lake for the night. We tried to camp about 12 miles from the national park at a place called Kimball state park, but the mosquitoes were obviously prepared to wage a full-scale war on us, and we had forgotten to pack bug spray. Alls well that ends well however, as we ended up seeing some incredible things on the way up to Crate Lake National Park, including Annie Creek. Annie Creek is a small little creek that over many years has managed to cut a respectable canyon out of the Earth nearing Crater Lake. We had the exciting opportunity to purchase our Interagency National Parks pass. Sadly, it was for a whopping $80. Last time I checked they were $50. Oh well, no matter what the money goes to the National Park Service, which is a great thing.
Our campsite at Annie Creek campground, in Mazama Village is nice, much flatter than last night’s campsite and more pleasantly wooded. On our way out of the water at Emigrant Lake I managed to kick a sharp (huge) submerged rock. I tore an impressive hole/blister in my foot which eventually left a nice flap of skin that required removal. Camp surgery, with nail clippers and a lantern is most effective, and I am good as new now. The people around us are nearly silent. Our dinner consisted of hot dogs and baked beans, tonight and after finishing my latest book, I am about to turn in.