Walter and Sara On the road to who knows where
Sunday June 12th, the campground emptied out fairly well and we set about doing our chores—updating signs and picking up trash—including lots of little bits of broken water balloons left by the kids who had had such a great time over the weekend. They had picked up the bulk of the 200 plus balloons they had filled but there were still lots of day-glow orange and yellow bits for us to tend to.

Monday we dragged out the hoses and set up 4 Rainbirds to begin watering the outer edges of the campground that we hadn’t watered the week before. I went off to do the laundry and of course, the mowing crew arrived, so Walter got to bring the hoses back in. Once the mowing crew left we ran the hoses back out and got another 2 hours of watering done. But late in the evening on Monday the clouds began to gather and not long after midnight it started to rain. By morning our wheelbarrow had a lot of water in it.

Wheelbarrow with rainwater in it

And the camp chair that was sitting out front had a new occupant—way too much rain.

Walter and Sara campchair with rainwater

To make matters worse, it was only 43 degrees—way too cold to sit with the trailer door open so we could have the radio on (we have to snake the antenna cable through the screen door to get a signal and if we try to just leave the door ajar it cuts into the cable).

Normally, Tuesday is our hiking day. No way! It was wet and cold all day. So we stayed indoors and when there was a break in the weather we went out and gathered up all the hoses and brought them back to their closet (known as the pipe chase) in the back of the bathroom.

On the wall of the bathroom there was yet another large moth but this one was really different than the other big black one that we had last week.

Large moth Lake Cascade ID

Late in the afternoon the clouds blew through and we actually had a bit of sunshine and it warmed up into the upper 50’s. It was really pleasant. And then the best thing of the day happened—the hosts down at Buttercup (a mile south of us) called to say that the sheep were on their way. The Great Sheep Drive of 2016 had begun.

We ran around and told our campers what was going to happen and some of them gathered with us at the entrance of the campground to watch the 1,000 ewes and their lambs march by.

First came a shepherd and a small lead flock. Last year, the lead flocks usually had a ewe with a bell, but not this time.

Lead herd of sheep West Mountain Rd ID

Then the main herd arrived and they were really trotting along. The lambs are so cute when they get going.

Sheep on the move

There was a lot of variation in the lambs in this herd. In addition to the usual all white ones, there were ones with black feet and faces.

Black-faced lamb

That wasn’t that unusual but I’d never seen any with black spots before. Some of them actually looked more like calves than lambs.

Spotted lamb

There were at least 10 fully black lambs. Hoorah for the black sheep of the family.

Black lamb

And one chocolate brown lamb  

brown lamb

Last year when the sheep came through it was really hot and the herd was pretty densely bunched up. This herd was mostly marching along about 4 or 5 abreast and strung out over a long distance.

Not long before the end, here came the ‘lead ewe’ with her bell ringing—guess her job was to make sure the stragglers kept up.

Ewe with bell around neck

And behind her, there was a large white sheep dog following a tiny lamb who looked more like a little goat.

Sheep dog and lamb

There were 2 or 3 trucks caught in the sheep jam including the UPS man. Given that it was after 7 pm at this point we all felt pretty sorry for him.

UPS truck stuck in sheep jam

Bringing up the end were 8 pack horses led by a shepherd.

pack horses at end of sheep drive

They had a truck pulling a big horse trailer too but he’d passed earlier trying to get the sheep over to the side of the road so the trucks stuck in traffic could get by (it didn’t work very well).

It takes a lot of gear to set up summer camp up in the mountains I guess.  

Pack horses

We waved goodbye to the parade and headed back into the campground.

End of sheep drive

And then what should appear but another smaller flock of sheep!

Shepherd and flock of sheep

Once upon a time the shepherds in this part of the world were all Basque. But now they are mostly Peruvian.

Shepherd Donnelly ID

These sheep were much more densely bunched together and some of them decided that the grass along our fence line looked yummy. Thank goodness none of them noticed the gap in the fence.

Sheep in the rich grass along roadside

The shepherd at the end of this herd had two huge white dogs and two black and white border collies.

Sheep dogs and shepherd

To cap off the evening we had a lovely sunset too.Sunset Lake Cascade

With a wonderful swirl of orange off between the mountains.

Sunset Lake Cascade

Wednesday it was supposed to be decent until the afternoon, but Mother Nature didn’t get the memo. It was raining when we got up and it continued to rain off and on all day and through the night. We drove up to McCall to do our grocery shopping but neither of us had any desire to go anyplace else.

We had a large family occupying 4 sites and they stood and huddled by their campfires even though they had trailers to hide out in. One of our other campers went home a day early since it clearly wasn’t going to get any better soon. And they were right.

Thursday morning it was cold and wet again and we had hail and rain off and on with a few sun breaks to tantalize us. We braved having the door open for a while to have the radio hooked up but then the next rain storm came through and we had to close things up because the rain was coming right in the door. Sheesh. With the temperatures in the low 40’s it sure felt a lot like winter in Seattle!

Then at about 4 pm the sun finally came out. And we had yet another herd of sheep (how big does a flock have to get before it’s a herd?) came through.     

Sheep on the road Donnelly ID

We had a couple of new kids who came out to enjoy the show. They get almost excited as we do.

The lead flock had a ewe with a bell this time.

Lead ewe with bell

We didn’t see a single black lamb in this flock but there were lots of cute white lambs.

Lamb and ewe

And several black sheep—something we didn’t see in the herd that had all those black lambs.

Black sheep

Once again the horses closed out the parade.

Sheep and Pack horses   
Along with a pick up truck and a big white sheep dog making sure it kept in line. The pick up truck had one lone ewe, who hadn’t been able to keep up so she got a ride.

Sheep dog behind truck

As the clouds blew through you could see that the mountains to the east had a new coating of snow above 7,000 feet.

Snow on mountains east of Lake Cascade

It was sunny when we woke up on Friday. Hip Hip Hooray. We had some high clouds off and on but the temperature still managed to get up to 70—way warmer than it had been. The campground began to fill up mid day and by the evening we were full all except for one site.

Saturday morning it was pleasant and everyone was out playing and there were lots of folks out in the boats. We sat in the sun and a butterfly came to visit my flower pot.  

Butterfly on petunias

She flitted around a lot so this is the best shot I could get of her.

We’ve had pelicans on this side of the lake this year—last year we hardly had any but there were tons over on the east side at Sugarloaf campground. This year I’ve seen several flocks fly by and this lone one swim on past.

White pelican Lake Cascade

Early in the afternoon the wind kicked up (you can see a white cap or two above and this was at only 11:30. The clouds came through too and we had rain off and on with the wind changing direction every 15 or 20 minutes. So for a while the rain would be coming from the north and we could have our door open and then it would switch direction and we’d have to close things up because it was coming right through the door. Most folks got their awnings in but we had one lady who had left her free standing awning up and we were afraid it might take off so we went and took the canvas off of the frame for her. The frame didn’t survive the ordeal very well but it was at least still standing when she got back.

On Sunday folks were slow to leave and only half of our sites emptied out leaving us with 13 inhabited sites for Sunday night—way fuller than usual. It was a beautiful sunny day with a bit of a breeze and a high in the afternoon in the mid 70’s—definitely a good day to extend you stay and enjoy the lake.