Oregon Explore Trip, Klamath Falls, Sprague River

To blog or not to blog, that was the question. I thought, maybe I’ll start or maybe I won’t on this trip. As it was, I was so busy driving around and kayaking and swatting mosquitoes, that I was just too pooped to do it. So, now that I’m back and rested up for about a week, I’ll give it a try.

Monday, July 9th

I had my ol van packed and ready to go on Sunday, so I was ready to head out on Monday morning, just after the July fourth holidays. My plan was to do an explore trip up to the Klamath Falls area in Oregon to see what I could find for kayaking, as I hadn’t been in this area before. So, I got out of here around eleven in the morning and was on my way up the 101 freeway in Ca. I thought I would head up to the Eel river mouth area for the first days drive and see if I could find a place to camp. On the way, I stopped to visit Dennis and Becky near Myers Flat, they have a vineyard there and I thought I’d stop by and say hi and see where it was.

I found them working in the field, suckering the grape vines, they were very busy so I talked for just a bit and continued up 101 toward Eel river mouth. I had stopped by the Eel river mouth before, so I  had some idea of where I could camp. I found the place around six in the evening. The spot was a small boat launch area on a slough about a mile off the river mouth. I was beat from driving so, I fixed dinner and contemplated putting in there in the morning. I was watching the tide during the night and it went down, which left a really muddy launch area, so the next morning, I decided to do some more exploring with the van. I wanted to see what was on Cock Robin Island, just down Cannibal road. That’s where I found the cement public boat launch area, really muddy too. The sign said no camping, but just a little down the road was a fish and game area that didn’t have any no camping signs and looked like it might be a real good camp place in the future, remember I’m exploring for later trips.

Eel River camp.

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Tuesday.

I continued north to Eureka, stopped and shopped a bit and continued east on 299, headed up to the Salmon River in Ca. Looked at it, but it was way too fast for me to kayak, but looked like a fishermen’s paradise. It was late in the day, but too hot there, so I continued north, following GPS along the Klamath River. I was learning how to use my Delorme GPS Topo map software, so I let it pick the roads. It took me up Topsie road, which was mostly four wheel drive, rooky and bumpy, but luckily dried up, you could see where it was real wet when a lot of people went through there. I did this for several hours until I came to a logging operation and saw a graveled road and thought, I bet that will take me down to highway five the fastest as it was hot up there and I wanted to get to some water before dark. I followed it down the hill and sure enough, there was five. I  had to go up five just a few miles, before I turned off to the right and headed for Iron Gate Reservoir. The sign said graveled road ahead, cars and rv’s not recommended. There were a couple big RV’s in the first camp ground areas, but as the road went back in further, there where few to no people in the camp sites. I had spied on the map a power house all the way in with a camp ground near. I wanted to get into a narrower part of the lake to kayak, and this is what was near the power station.

My Iron Gate camp site, free, owned by Pacific Power, I think it was.

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Van opened up to air out and cool down.

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I got there around six in the evening, there were some big bull frogs making some real good sounds, and when they all got together, they were sometimes like a symphony. However, about ten O’clock, I was beginning to think they had a way of getting into your head, sleeping wasn’t going to happen. At one in the morning I decided I’d had enough and moved my van back off the lake about a quarter mile. That worked.

One of the frogs.

 bullfrog

There were also quite a few mosquitoes around, which was to be expected around water. Learned I would be better camped away from the water. Anyway, the next morning, I pulled the van back to the lake and launched the kayak for a short yak on the Reservoir.

Irongateres

Pelican on the Res.

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Mr. Turtle

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Yes, he let me get very close.

turtleclose

I only paddled a couple of hours and was back on the road. Nice place, I’ll paddle again here some day, only draw back was a lot of mosquitoes.

Wednesday.

I left,  headed up the dirt road, which was not as well kept, but good enough for me. Came out somewhere on highway ninety seven and crossed the state border into Oregon. Sign said all boats must stop to be inspected for some kind of mussels. I’d heard kayaks were exempt from this, but follow the rules. Two young ladies where there with a big pressure washer. Where has your boat been, been in the water lately. There was some concern about me being in the water that morning, but they didn’t give my boat a wash job. One lady started inquiring how I’d come up the Klamath river, on which road? Oh, oh, trouble? No, she just wanted to know how the Topsy four wheel drive road was. They gave me a filled out form that said I’d seen them and I continued on.

I had planned to stop at the Klamath Falls Chamber of Commerce to see if they could steer me to some good yak spots. The lady there was very helpful and suggested the canoe trail in the upper Klamath lake and gave me a password to get on their Wi-Fi to check some things out. I did some Google Earth looking around where she suggested and did my email. Needed gas, but where to find a darn station in that  place? Drove around in circles for awhile looking and finally found one. Then a Safeway was in order to get some more cherries, apples an orange juice. Got direction for that from the gas guy, but still got lost a bit finding it.

Now that I was gassed and stocked with fresh eats, I tried to get back on highway ninety seven to Crater Lake, which was the road I needed to get to the west side of the  upper Klamath lake, headed to Rocky Point Launch area. Of course it took me awhile, trying to follow my trusty GPS lady, the back way, of course. Well, I did find it and found the turn off for Rocky Point too.

Rocky Point on the Upper Klamath Lake.

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I decided to put the yak in the water and check it out. Only spent a couple hours on the lake, it was nice and I’ll come back.

Canoe trail

 canoetrailupperklamathlake

 

It was getting late and I needed to find a camp area as there wasn’t any camping here. I left and headed up the road, as there was some National Forest just up ahead, which I was hoping to find some free camping in. Found a place just off the lake that had been opened for a logging operation auction, nice and quiet, but quite a few of those pesky mosquitoes. Had a good nights sleep, after cooking something on my stove for dinner.

Thursday.

Up around eight and was headed for the Sprague River, which was just a little northeast of there. My plan was to head east toward Lakeview as that is the way the river headed. Highway 140 headed that way also. I was looking for put ins and camp spots along the river. I traveled most of the day, only finding a couple spots and went most of the way across the whole river. Then I turned around and went back taking some of the other roads and found a place to put in almost all the way back to the beginning where I started to look. Of course, it was getting late and I wanted a place to camp away from the river, remember those pesky mosquitoes? I consulted my GPS maps and noted National forest access just across the road from me, so headed that way and took one of the smaller dirt side roads and found a place not too far off the river, not far enough I found to get away from the mosquitoes. But a nice quiet place at the end of a road. I got something going for dinner and sat outside swatting mosquitoes, until just before dark, when they got too many and I retired to inside the van and went to bed after doing battle with the mosquitoes that had entered the van with me. I’d search them out with my flash light, as they lay in waiting on the walls and ceiling of my van, just waiting for me to go to sleep. I got most of them this way, but some are very good at hiding.

Friday.

Another nice sleep, I was up around seven, made some coffee and headed back down to the river to put in. Got in the water around eight and headed up the river until about eleven thirty, at which time I turned around and headed back down the river. This was a nice slow moving river with five or six foot sides, just chocked full of varmint holes.

Sprague River launch area.

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Sprague river.

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A bovinasaurous, blocking my path up the river, luckily he was more scared of me, than, I of him and he took off.

bovineazorous 

 

A coyote playing with a piece of deer or something?

coyotespragueriver 

 

There were numerous holes along the banks. Would have been good to be here just before dark or a full moon night to see some more of the critters, some other time. Saw beaver sign for sure.

One of three minks I surprised.

minkspragueriver

That night I decided to spend the night just down the river a bit, in a camp spot along the river, BLM land, so camping is free. It was a nice evening, not too many mosquitoes until about dark, at which time I retreated to the inside of my van.

Saturday

Woke up fairly early that morning. Made a full pot of coffee and put it in the thermos for the day. Had a couple cups sitting by the river side, then headed east toward Lakeview, looking for launch sites and camp sites along the Sprague river. I found a few interesting spots and continued on to Lakeview. Gassed up there and headed back the way I came to check out some lakes just west of Lakeview. I’d set my GPS for a small lake and follow it though the forest to try and get to the lake. Most of the time it took me to a locked gate, so I’d turn around and reset and try again. Made for some good exploring in the back country. After awhile I decided to go over the hill to a number of lakes, so I set the GPS again and we headed up a side road and couple miles until I came to a spot where there where a couple big horse trailers and trucks and people on horses blocking the road. They noticed my old van right away and started making nice comments about it. One of the guys was a cowboy type, maybe a little up in age for the boy part, but he advised me that the road they were blocking dead ended shortly, but if I took the upper four wheel drive road, which he was on with his truck about a week ago, I would make it to the lakes without having to go way back out to the main road and come back in again. I jumped out and put the hubs in four wheel drive and they were impressed that it had four wheel  and off I went. The road was fairly good, went along the ridge top and was scenic and green. A couple of  big rutted ditches slowed me down a little, but I was able to straddle them and made it to the lakes with not much trouble.

The lakes I found were larger than I desired, and had quite a lot of people by them camped with RV’s, just as the cowboy told me they would be. I looked around and decided they weren’t for me.

I was fairly worn out from all the driving and kayaking on this trip, so I contemplated heading home, as it was about four in the afternoon. So, I punched in, Home, on my GPS to see what way it would take me. Of course, back the way I had come across 140 west to highway five. This meant I crossed this area over and back twice, but such is exploring.

I was home around two  in the morning. I have found that I like driving the big highways at night, less people, less wind and less heat for just a few reasons.

All in all I had a good trip and found some interesting places to get back to, eventually, good to have places to go when passing trough on other trips. Mosquitoes where the worse part of this trip. My brother informed me that August was a better time to travel as most of the mosquitoes have gone for the year, I’ll have to remember that. As I remember, this was one reason we usually camped more in the fall.

After doing this blogging I realize it would be much better done daily. Looks like the type could be a bit larger and the pics need to be larger too. Might take me awhile to figure out how to do that.

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