We were back on our old stomping grounds at Diamond Lake, OR and we had a fantastic time with friends and family. But first a quick recap of our trip down, since we hit two new (to us) campgrounds. We spent our first night on the road, Sunday, 7/8, at Memaloose State Park near Mosier, OR. The campground was nestled between I84 and the Union Pacific Railroad tracks, so while there were beautiful views of the Columbia, there was no river access. (Sorry, Riley!)
|You can look, but not touch!|
Great views of the Columbia, but alas, no river access.
Our second night was spent at Oregon’s LaPine State Park. This place was a definite winner. A spacious, shady campground with easy access to the Deschutes River for AquaDog (yes, we have our own soggy superhero!), a novice-friendly mountain bike path that even I could manage, and a ton of interesting things to do in the area that we didn’t have time to explore. LaPine goes on our list for a longer return visit!
|Deschutes River - we really want to spend more time here, preferably in the kayaks! :)|
|Riley in superhero mode - AQUADOG!|
|A mountain bike trail so easy even I could do it!|
Ahhhhh Diamond Lake. Lots of memories here. We pulled in on Tuesday, 7/10 and set up camp for 10 days of hiking, biking, kayaking, campfires, mosquito swatting, over-eating, relaxing, and general camping fun. My brother Tim, with his mastiff Brody and friend Mike are in the space next to us and friends Mikey and Glen with their boy, Prince, are setup just a short stroll away.
|Tim, Mike, Glen and Mikey|
|Tell me that doesn't look like a bear in the tree! Lol.|
|Rog & Riley enjoying our new mosquito-proof screen room.|
|Mikey makes chicken and dumplings the old fashioned way. Awesome!|
|My two favorite guys enjoying the sunset.|
We managed to cram a lot into our stay, sometimes doing things together and other times splitting up for different activities. We did the paved bike trail around the lake twice – always a high point of the trip since we get beautiful views of Mt. Thielsen and stop at the resort for no-guilt ice cream (ok, reduced guilt 😊).
|Working for that ice cream!|
|Mt. Thielsen and Silent Creek - two of my favorite views from the bike path.|
The weather has been spectacular – usually high 80’s during the day, with just one day when a thunderstorm and rain moved through. The warm temps made for fun time on the water. We took the kayak out three times this week. Rog decided not to fish, so we just enjoyed paddling around. This was Mike’s first time in a kayak and I’m pretty sure we have a convert.
|Rog relaxing on the water.|
|Perfect day on the lake!|
|Tim and Mike kayaking. It was Mike's first time out.|
|Yes, I think Mike is a convert.|
I had hoped to get Riley in the kayak too, but that didn’t work out this trip. While we didn’t get him on the lake, he certainly spent enough time in the lake! We found a perfect swim beach for him and made nearly daily pilgrimages to “Riley’s Beach” where he has splashed and played and generally wore himself out…. AND he learned to SWIM! Mastiffs don’t float very well and when they swim all you can see is the top of their head and a nose above the water. We call them Crocadogs. 😊 Watching that pure puppy joy was easily one of the highlights of the week.
|Mastiff or Orca??|
|Fun in the water and the Crocadog learns to swim!|
|More puppy joy!|
|Such a handsome boy!|
|The floating squeaky toy kind of ruins the majesty of the moment. Lol.|
On Saturday, the six of us hiked to the top of Tipsoo Peak. It was a little over six miles, three straight up and then three back down. Mikey and Glen took Prince along, but we left Riley and Brody back at camp since they are not fond of hiking in the heat. Prince even had packs to carry his own water and snacks – we gotta get Riley outfitted to do that!
|Prince is stylin'!|
|Mt. Thielsen on the left, Mt. Bailey on the right, and Diamond Lake in the middle.|
|Mike can't resist making a snow angel in July.|
I was content to throw snowballs at my youngest sibling. (Got him too!)
One of the things we love about Diamond Lake is the sky at night. It is so dark and the stars are amazing. At dusk the bats are swooping all around and we encourage them to gobble up as many of the mosquitos as they can hold. What we don’t encourage are batty visitors in our RV, but sometimes you gotta go with the flow. About 4pm Rog pulled the bedroom shade down and out flies a bat! Our best guess is that he came in the open window the previous night and slept all day tucked up behind the window shade. Rog and I tried herding him out the open window, but he just flew in circles around the bedroom. Unhappy with his welcome, he decides to hide behind the bedroom slide out of reach of the screeching humans. We gave up and figured he’d come out when he’s ready… which he did a few hours later. This time Rog managed to show him the open door and convince him that dinner was outside. Quite the exciting visit!
|Moonrise over Mt. Bailey.|
|Our uninvited guest.|
Rog tackled 20 miles of the North Umpqua Trail on his mountain bike on Sunday. Specifically, the very aptly named section called “Dread and Terror.” He claimed he had a great time but managed to come home a tad scuffed and worse for the wear. I told him he is not the best PR person for this whole mountain biking thing! Lol. He did get to see some gorgeous scenery and fantastic waterfalls, but portions of the trail were just crazy – narrow with steep drop offs, slippery rocks, and in some places he was literally riding downhill in flowing water! Nope, nope, nope.
|Rog sets off to tackle Dread and Terror.|
|The scenery is hard to beat along the trail.|
|Love the mossy streams and waterfalls.|
|So beautiful and yet to get here....|
|... you have to tackle this. It is not a stream, it is the trail! |
Slippery rocks and running water on a steep downhill. Nope!
Rog spent some time soaking in the cold lake after his ride, so the next step for recovery was finding a place for a hot soak. And we had just the spot on our radar. About 30 minutes or so from Diamond Lake are the very popular Umpqua Hot Springs. In all the years we’ve been coming to Diamond Lake, we’ve never visited the hot springs. Time to remedy that!
The hike up to the hot springs is short, only .3 miles, but it is very steep. The hot springs are channeled into a series of seven pools terraced into the hillside above the Umpqua River. The largest pool has a shelter built over it that provides shade. Luckily, the shaded pool was available or we wouldn’t have lasted long sitting in 105˚ water in the direct sun on an 86˚ day. As it was, only a few folks came and went, it turns out midday wasn’t a bad choice to avoid the crowds.
|It was a staircase made out of tree roots. Do you see Rog up there?|
|You can see four of the seven pools on the hillside above the Umpqua River.|
|We spent most of our time in the pool under the shelter, thankful for the shade.|
|Rog checks out one of the sunny pools - too hot!|
|Two more pools, yes this is definitely worth a return trip!|
It really is true time flies when you’re having fun and our days at Diamond Lake sped by. We left on Friday, 7/20 and took a different route home, skirting the forest fires along Hwy 97 and spending a night at Maryhill State Park on the Columbia gorge.
This time Riley did get to play in the Columbia River. I have a feeling his little wading pool at home is going to be a letdown after all the lake and river time he’s been getting. Maybe Riley can convince Daddy to put in a pond! Lol. For our last night Tim & I emptied out our refrigerators and the main entrée was leftovers, we call it “Smorgasbord Night.” 😊 We also hit the local fruit stand and gorged on fresh peaches, cherries and corn on the cob. Yum!
|Riley does the Columbia, he did not waste his last chance to play in the water.|
We made it home Saturday afternoon and started the (not so) fun chore of unpacking and cleaning the RV and getting her ready for bed. We don’t have any more trips planned (yet!), but who knows what we’ll be up to next. We’ll keep you posted.