Walter and Sara Let the good times roll
On Saturday July 26th, our last night at Rock Creek Campground at Crane Prairie Reservoir, we had a subtle but lovely sunset.

Sunset at Rock Creek Campground Crane Prairie Reservoir

The next day (Sunday July 27th) we drove south to the little town of Crescent to stay at the Big Pines RV Resort so we could do laundry and charge things up. That evening Mother Nature put on a wonderful show using the thunder clouds over the mountains as her canvas.

Sunset Crescent, OR

Even the clouds to the south were lovely.

Sunset Crescent OR

Monday morning after our showers (they had really nice bathrooms and showers here) we motored just a few miles west to Crescent Lake Campground on Crescent Lake. The Campground Full sign was still out at the highway but over half of the sites were vacant when we arrived at about noon. We drove the loop twice and selected a nice site with a view of the lake and a number of big old Ponderosa Pines.

Campsite at Crescent Lake Campground OR

It was a bit of a walk from the trailer down to the picnic table but the view was lovely. That’s Cow Horn Mt in the distance.

Crescent Lake OR Cow Horn MT

Looking east you can see an old cinder cone across the lake.

Crescent Lake OR looking east

There were Pine-drops (Ptersopora andromedea) in bloom too.

Pine-drops (Ptersopora andromedea)

We got our camp chairs out and sat in the shade watching the kayaks and speed boats go past. Just before 2 pm those clouds you see in the photo above started to gather into thunder clouds. We had thunder and lightening and brief showers the rest of the afternoon and early evening. Then just before dark it cleared off.

Our hot spot worked here with the booster so we could do some research on nearby hikes. We decided that on Tuesday (July 29th) we’d take part of the hike to Summit Lake into the Diamond Peak Wilderness. So the next morning, we climbed in the truck and drove just few miles south to the turnoff for Forest Road 6010. We went maybe 1/8 of mile up this road before we decided that we were no way going to drive on it for 3 1/2 miles. It consisted of gullies with large boulders strewn about with a little bit of dirt road here and there to assure you that you were still a road.

There was nowhere to turn around, so I climbed out and walked backwards down the hill to guide Walter as he backed down the road. Thank goodness, no one else wanted to drive up it. We did pass two backpackers who seemed amused by our plight.

So all we can say is that we made an attempt at the Summit Lake Trail. From there we decided we might as well drive on and see what we could see. We drove until the pavement ended at Spring Campground. We toured the campground which was probably half full—a lot of people anyway compared to our campground which was nearly empty when we left at 10:30 am. It’s a much more open campground than Crescent Lake and flatter too. The view from the beach on the west side of the campground was pretty marvelous too.

That’s Diamond Peak across the lake. The hike we didn’t get to take would have put us a bit closer to the mountain.

Diamond Peak from Crescent Lake OR

On our way back we stopped in a day use area (with folks playing in the warm shallows at the edge of the lake) so I could get a better shot of Cow Horn Mountain.

Cow Horn Mountain Crescent Lake OR

We stopped and took a walk through the Crescent Lake Resort which is right next door to the Crescent Lake Campground. It’s a nice old fashioned cabin-style resort with a restaurant, marina, a good beach and boat and jet ski rentals.

We started up the generator when we got back and right on time just like the day before the wind came up and the thunder storms began. We didn’t get a lot of rain but boy did the wind blow for a while. By late evening, we had a solid mass of gray clouds overhead with just a little bit of sunlight visible to the west. And then the magic happened. The whole sky began to turn. First pastel yellow. Then light orange. Then a lovely pale pink. And finally lavender. I’d never seen the sky do that before. It was both eerie and beautiful.

We spent some time that night on-line trying to decide what we’d do next. In the end we decided that we would forego shopping in Medford or Roseburg where it was supposed to by in the 100’s and instead go back and shop in Bend where it was only going to be in the 90’s.

So on Wednesday July 30th, we packed up and drove back down the hill to Crescent and the Big Pines RV Resort where we had stayed on Sunday. We opened up the vents and put out the awnings and set out for Bend which is about 45 miles north of Crescent. It had been in the low 80’s in Crescent but it was in the low 90’s in Bend. Mostly that wasn’t a problem since the stores are air conditioned. We found everything we were looking for since Bend has a Trader Joes, a Fred Meyer and all the usual grocery stores too.

The thunder clouds were dark gray and the wind was blowing when we got back to Crescent so we took down the awnings in preparation for another big blow. Nothing much happened. It did finally rain later in the evening but nothing real big deal.

On Thursday morning July 31st, it was sunny and warm as we broke camp. In fact, it was in the low 80’s at 11 am and really hot in the sun. We drove southwest to Diamond Lake which is just north of Crater Lake in the Oregon Cascades. We arrived at about noon at the Diamond Lake Campground which has 240 sites (about 50 of them are first come first serve). Some folks were leaving a wonderful side pull-through site on the lake when we drove through and we pounced on it as they left.

This is the view from our trailer door.  

Campsite view Diamond Lake Campground OR

If you go down the incline just a little bit the view gets even better.

Diamond Lake OR

The trailer had heated up during the drive and was sitting in the sun so we opened all the windows and put up all her awnings. Doesn’t she look like some kind of exotic bug?

Airstream Flying Cloud all awnings out

We sat out in the shade in our camp chairs and enjoyed the view before heading back inside for lunch. We had a few sprinkles, so I dashed out to retrieve the camp chairs and put them under the awning. The rain never materialized, so I went wandering around our very large campsite. I discovered that there was a little wild flower meadow just past our picnic tables (we have 2 since this turns out to be a double site) with Canada Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis) and Paintbrush.

Paintbrush and Canada Goldenrod

And sprinkled here and there, I found some Leafy Fleabane (Erigeron foliosus).

Leafy Fleabane (Erigeron foliosus)

There were also some good sized specimens of Red Elderberry (Sambucus racemosa), though the berries don’t look ripe yet to me. Don’t you just love the purple stems with the red berries?

Red Elderberry (Sambucus racemosa)

The sun broke through the clouds just at sunset and made a wonderful fiery path across the lake.

Sunset Diamond Lake OR

There are fires burning to the west and south (around Crater Lake and towards Medford from lightening strikes). The smoke makes for good sunsets. I love the way the lake turns color along with the clouds.

Sunset Diamond Lake OR

There were few clouds in the sky on Friday morning, so we got the bikes out and took a ride through the campground to the ranger station. It was closed with a notice saying they were looking for volunteers and offering a full hook up site and a stipend. The hitch? They want you to work 8 hours a day 5 days a week. Funny thing, they haven’t had anyone offer to do this for 2 years. We looked at the nice map on the notice board and then took the bike path north through the campground. The path is paved and goes all the way around the lake—11 miles.

Diamond Lake Bike Path sign

We rode to the Diamond Lake Resort where there was a whole parking lot full of Porches!

Porche Rall Diamond Lake Resort OR

It was a touring group that had started yesterday in Portland, spent the night in Eugene and was at the resort for lunch before motoring on up to Bend for the night.

Porche Rally Diamond Lake Resort OR

There were 50 cars in all but we only saw about 25 of them.

The view from along the path gives you a different angle on the lake.

Diamond Lake from north end of lake OR

There was a little smoky haze in the morning but nothing serious. It got worse as the afternoon proceeded. We can only hope that the wind changes direction and blows it away. We really like it here and hope to stay for a while. We stayed here back in 2008 when we did the Oregon Cascades and Crater Lake and got chased out by heavy smoke from fires just west of here.

There were Wax currants (Ribes cereum) along the way. The berries must be ripe because we saw more than one bird flying off with them. The bushes at our campsite were a little heat/drought stressed but this one looked happy.

Wax currants (Ribes cereum)

There were also tons of  ground squirrels at the resort. We had one or two at our campsite along with Douglas Squirrels chittering away.