January 27, 2012
[EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the SECOND INSTALLMENT of the Catalog Tales.Â It's the story of the adventure to collect photos for a catalog that morphed from a traditional piece to the publication now available by contacting usÂ here.]
Mountains, lakes, rivers — Oregon offers so many options it’s impossible to create lists, much less rankings.
The Rogue River becomes my next stop strictly because of its location. Camping overnight at Farewell Bend just outside Union Creek will leave me on the fringe of Crater Lake National Park, and allow me a quick trip in the morning.
Before I go any further, let me proudly admit there is another reason for this stop. If you are ever within 100 clicks of Union Creek, find a way to get there. It is the home of Beckie’s Pies. Simply put, a taste of Oregon that you will never, ever, forget.
At Farewell Bend, The Rogue cuts through lava flow with near laser-like precision, leaving behind mind-boggling rapids and falls.
With the sun quickly descending behind a ridge of firs, I have enough time for a quick series of photos along the lava banks.
On my ride back to my campsite in the shade, I pass a lucky fisherman camping on the river. He carries five rainbow trout, reminding me it’s time for dinner as soon as I get camp set up.
After dinner, it’s time for a campfire. My family and I spend a lot of time camping. We spent the entire summer of 2005 living out of our 10-foot tent camper, as we toured the West deciding where to live.
That was a lot of nights around the campfire, talking about our day. Those were special nights. Quality time. We did eventually decide to settle in Eugene. Eventually I connected with Bike Friday.
But, there’s something about spending the evening around the campfire.
OK, I’ll admit, this isn’t the greatest photo ever taken. You’re probably laughing at me wondering why I took it in the first place. [Don't feel badly, I'm laughing at myself wondering why I took it in the first place.]
However, as my daughters watched the slideshow of my weekend, it swept Sierra into the place I live in my mind’s eye.
“They (the Bike Fridays) look like photos of people on vacation,” Sierra said, a few slides before the campfire scene popped up. Then that shot pops up.
“OMG, that really looks like people now!”
Light is fickle.
My imagination went into overdrive last night, contemplating the possibilities of morning light on Crater Lake.
Seriously, I headed this direction believing with all my heart that it’s nearly impossible to take a bad photo of Crater Lake.
That was before I saw the morning light diffusing a haze over Crater Lake. Ah, yes, it’s all about the light. Refraction, reflection. But you do need light.
I snapped a couple of photos before I realized my greatest mistake of enjoying my time around the campfire with Ridgely the night before. I failed to plug my camera battery in for a recharge.
No worries. It became the perfect excuse to have breakfast at the Crater Lake Lodge, since I skipped a campfire breakfast to get here in time for the morning light.
After ordering the French Toast filled with Marion berry cream cheese — which won the nod in a tight vote over the breakfast trout — and recharging the battery, we began the drive around the lake.
Before we got really rolling, we caught some deer having their breakfast.
A ranger once told me the average length of a visit to Crater Lake is 45 minutes. That means most visitors opt against driving [or riding] the complete loop. Granted, it takes well into July most years for the complete loop to open. If it’s open, do not pass. Go for it. The views are stellar.
Even if you can only ride a few miles of it, just imagine the memories.
[STAY TUNED FOR THE NEXT INSTALLMENT]