Last Thursday my wife, her parents, our combined three dogs and myself made it to Paulina Lake for some R&R. The forecast initially said it was to be really nice weather then as the departure day drew near, the forecast changed to say that there was a greater chance of not-so-good weather to take place. Not that it mattered to us, we were going anyway…and not just because we had already reserved and paid for the site and it was too late to cancel and get our money back, but because this is one of the best camp sites I have been to. That is saying something with having been to places like Cascadia, Perpetua and Trillium (honorable mention to Little Crater Lake) for some of my favorite camping experiences.
The days were up to the high 60’s, maybe reaching 70. The nights got to the low 40’s and maybe high 30’s with one night being cold enough to give us a light dusting of snow/ice crystals that all but had melted by the time we were up in the morning. The only indicator that we even had any snow was the picnic tables has the lightest dusting covering them.
Since it was just the 7 of us and no one else in any of the other camp sites, we let the dogs off leash most of the time we were there. Eventually one other site filled up with about 20 people but they too had their dogs off leash. Both groups of dogs were friendly but we didn’t intermingle them to be on the safe side.
Breakfasts were usually seemingly big affairs, being corned beef hash, eggs and coffee during two of our morning spent there. The other morning we had french toast, bacon and coffee. One thing to know about my family and in-laws; they love to cook. Not prepackaged BS but actual real food that requires cutting and chopping and seasoning and heating. I could have sprinkled lots of other cooking terms but thought that would have been self indulgent. Suffice it to say, meals often took an hour to prepare from start to finish. It was well worth it however.
We did manage to kayak/canoe a number of times and even managed to fish a few times. No luck with the fishing but the real score was in the beauty of this place. You could not believe how indescribably pristine things look. Mother nature was all around. We even saw Bald Eagles, Egrets, hawks and even a deer. We didn’t see any bears but we did have to place all our food within our cars over night…just in case.
We did a little hiking with the dogs as well, ya know, cuz we were there. We managed probably less a than a mile around Paulina Lake before the path seemed to disappeared and we made our way back to camp. Our camp was nestled with its back between two small hills with a path leading between the two in back. A perfect place for the dogs to get more exercise if they felt moved to get it.
Throughout the day and at night we played various card games or chilled out just relaxing near the fire talking. We were able to have a fire this time around because it was still so early in the season and everything wasn’t just a huge tinder-box. We brought wood and were even able to use some material that had been felled because of root rot and such. Their small branches made perfect kindling to start the fire in the morning and at night. Conversations were wide ranging and always interesting.
Monday morning came too soon and before we knew it, we were packed up and heading back to the big city. On our way back we did manage to stop off at Gilgamesh in Salem for lunch/dinner for one last hurrah of our start to the camping season.