April 21 – 23
To celebrate Chris taking the Professional Engineers Exam (PE), we decided to take the camper out! I set out to research a free or reasonably priced campground with hiking nearby. My research led me to Siuslaw National Forest near Hebo, Oregon. The options were Hebo Lake Campground and Mt. Hebo campground and South Lake dispersed area. The Pioneer-Indian Trail head #1300 and South Lake to summit Mt. Hebo seemed to fit the bill.
We live in Oregon right?! and it sometimes rains in Oregon right?! Well onto to Plan B: It must be 1-2 hours away and no rain….. Pretty tall order.
Mt. Hebo would have to wait.
April 21 – 22
After Chris finished his test, we set out for Indian Ford Campground in the Deschutes National Forest. Knowing full well that the Indian Ford Campground would be closed for the season, we hoped to find a spot in the forest. We took hwy 22 to hwy 20 to Forest Road 11 (Green Ridge Road) and drove until we saw something interesting. At Forest Road 1105 we turned left. I guess we found something interesting, but not really. We took spot that was fairly level, raised the roof and went to sleep hoping that maybe we’d find something really interesting the next day.
Ponderosa Pine forest
Those fire loving, Abert Squirrel living, vanilla smelling trees I have been known to hug from time to time. I love me some Ponderosa Pine! Sorry, I can’t always control my nerd.
This spot was so close to Green Ridge Road that we could see and hear traffic, but hey it was free.
April 22 – 23
The morning of Earth Day we set out to find a trail head and a more fascinating campsite for the night. After looking at the map we just knew that hwy 16 was going to have the site of our dreams. We found that 16 met up with many forest roads and unfortunately not one had anything that tickled our fancy. In general, it appears that camping in the woods just north or south of Sisters is not a possibility. There are plenty of camp grounds, but all are closed for the season. Good news, though, Whychus Trailhead located directly off of 16 was the trail we were looking for.
After a 6 mile round trip filled with a waterfall, river, rocks, 420 spray paint from 1996, skunk fur, ups and downs we ready to settle into a campsite for the night. A snack helped us decide that going back to Green Ridge Road and driving 20 miles north to Perry South Campground at Lake Billy Chinook/ The Cove Palisades State Park was a good idea. I had nixed the idea for Perry South campground early on be because the website said closed and required reservations, but a sign on Green Ridge Road said open. The forest roads 11 and 1170 were rough to say the least. After 20 miles of washboard road we made it to the 64 junction and the Perry Campground sign said FULL. What?! This was our plan B! We went anyway. It was only 3 more miles, but on the same terrible road. To our surprise, it was not full. We drove through noting 3 empty iron rangers and the fact that no one had a receipt on dash boards/review mirrors or even clipped to posts. The park ranger in me worried that we were taking someone’s reserved site. Without giving it another thought, we pulled into site 8, popped up the camper and had a beer. As luck would have it, no one came to claim their site during the night. I wasn’t worried at all…
This is what a normal sounding river looks like…
Fueled by not wanting to shake the camper off the truck, we took the paved 64 east to Culver, Oregon. From there we drove south on 97 and intended on taking Lower Bridge Market Way to cut 15 minutes off our drive, but we missed it. That’s ok, this is a plan B trip anyway. We also thought that we would look for another trailhead on the way home, but the closer we got to Salem, the more it rained.
What we learned:
- Indian Ford Campground area, could be a last minute place to crash
- Sno-Parks will work for XC skiing in the future
- We will never go to back to Perry South Campground via 11 and 1170 forest roads
- Lake Billy Chinook/ The Cove at the Palisades State Park could be a future adventure
- We need a pre-trip check list: some items didn’t get packed but since this was a plan B trip we were able to make due…I’ll be working on the list this week anyway because plan Bs are good, but we shouldn’t rely on them