Willie Nelson and Oval’s First Backpacking Trip

Bret took a couple days off and we started the festivities by heading to Bend, Or to see Willie Nelson and Allison Krause with our friends, Chris and Kara.  We had a bit of a delay getting to the concert (we might have lost track of time getting dinner at a nearby pub), but we caught the end of Allison Krause and Willie’s whole set.  The place was packed and it was a gorgeous night.  SO much fun.  Although I may have regretted sharing our neighbors “hot” wine when we started hiking the next morning.

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The next morning we took our leave of Bend and drove to the west side of the Cascades to the Whitewater trailed and hiked up to Jefferson Park.  We had though we would be escaping some of the heat that has landed in Oregon for the last few weeks by heading into the mountains, but it was 91° at the trailhead! It was about 5.5 miles of steady climbing in.  Oval tried out her backpack, but she seemed to be struggling a little in the heat, so I set her free about a mile in.  she perked up at mile 4 when we hit a nice shaded stream and she was able to run around in the water and rehydrate.

For the last half of the hike, we were treated to great views of Mt. Jefferson.  Mt. Jefferson, originally called Seekseekqua by Native Americans, is the second highest mountain in Oregon at 10,497 ft.  The cone of Mt. Jefferson rises about 1 mile from the surrounding terrain (including Jefferson Park) making it very difficult to access.



We camped at Russell lake and had the place pretty much to ourselves the first night.  Well, us and about 10,000 mosquitoes.  We handled the mosquitoes with grace and took a nice walk around the lake.  They don’t seem to bother you when you are moving.  At camp, Oval did pretty well… although we didn’t trust her not to run away to someone else’s camp, so she was on the long leash most of the time.  The second picture is across Russell Lake looking back at our camp site (which is hidden in the trees).

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Oval has the camping thing down.

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The first night, we had some stormy, threatening weather.  But it never amounted to much more than some thunder in the distance, some wind, and a few drops of rain.

On our second day, we hiked around Jefferson Park.  Jefferson Park is this really unique area with lakes and alpine meadows at the base of Mt Jefferson’s cone.  The wildflowers were in full flower power too, so it was pretty spectacular.


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The mosquitoes were again in full force that evening, but we escaped them by teaching Oval how to swim the lake.  She was a little hesitant until we gave her a little push, then she was swimming circles around Bret and I!  so much fun and so many laughs.  Later we went for an evening hike and were treated to more spectacular views.

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That night was clear and warm so we had beautiful view of a moonlit peak from our tent.


The next morning we tried to beat the mosquitoes out of bed and pack up camp.  It was much cooler, so Oval was in charge of her own pack again.

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She did great on the way out… the pack slows her down a notch and makes it easier to keep up with her.  The way down was a lot more pleasant with cooler temps.  We even had a few drops of rain right at the end.


We made it home in time to water the garden and sleep real well.

I am always a little behind, so I will leave our fabulous July 4th weekend with Bret’s mom and stepdad for another post!


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