For a few summers, I was lucky enough to go up to Long Lake, Maine to a friend's grandparents' cabin right on the water. We had our own dock, boat house, and the kind of charming house that was added onto year by year. Charming, to say the least. One of the best daily activities was having sunset cocktails down on the pier, and then cooking for the next few hours and feasting on local lobster and produce like kings and queens!
Day 5 of 10. We left Diamond Lake mid-morning and drove up through Bend and then Sisters, OR. On our drive, we called the local information line for Sisters to get help finding a camping spot. They mentioned Cold Spring Campgrounds but sadly, once we arrived, we were pretty disappointed by the dry hot conditions. So, we headed into town.
Sisters is a very nice small town, a bit like a movie set of a western town with it's freshly painted signs and storefronts. We were craving fresh veggies and fruits, and were drawn to a farm stand in town next to the gas station where we got fresh nectarines, sweet white corn and juicy blackberries. Yum!
We asked about some campsites near some cool water, and were told to drive up Elm Street towards Three Creek Lake. At a certain point, we were dismayed by the stretch of dead trees (due to the Pole Creek fire of 2012), and we passed up the campsites at Horse Meadows. Luckily we drove on towards the actual lake, and were rewarded with a sweet little campsite up the hill on the edge of the woods. We set up our tents and our hammocks, and I made friends with a deer while gathering kindling.
That night I was able to set up my camera and tripod down at the lake for these fun long-exposure shots. They came out a little blurry, but (hopefully) since figured out what the problem was and will be taking more night sky shots again soon!
Day 4 of 10. My friend recommended the Umpqua or Toketee Hot Springs as a worthwhile stop, as he had done on a solo motorcycle trip a few years back. On the country road, we passed by a sweet deep blue lake that seemed perfect for fishing -- if only we had more time! The parking lot for the springs holds about 20 cars, and the quarter-mile hike up to the springs is short but very steep. Definitely wear shoes with good grip!
The springs are made up of 8 pools that cascade down the hill towards the Umpqua River, and are fed from a spring at the top. As the water trickles down from pool to pool, it cools bit by bit, making the lowest pool the coolest -- almost like a tepid bath.
It was a hot day that day, so the promise of cool water was too much to resist. We hiked down the steep hill to the river, and were surprised by a secret hot spring right next to the rushing waters. The river was numbingly cold, but made for the cold to hot dips perfectly refreshing!
Day 4 of 10. Along our route to the Umpqua Hot Springs is something called Highway of Waterfalls. Doesn't that sound lovely? About every few miles was a new sign pointing in the direction of a different waterfall, so we ended up stopping at a few of them.
Lately I've noticed a lot of posts of Toketee Falls, a majestic waterfall over columnar basalt. It's too bad I missed them on this trip!
This was my first time in the Eastern Sierras, and I definitely fell in love. Not only are there hundreds of climbs in the area (roped and bouldering) but the landscapes are breathtaking and dramatic as all hell. There are natural hot springs scattered around expansive fields, where the locals have made some beautiful wooden walkways and keep the tubs pretty clean and welcoming. Perfect for soaking sore muscles post-climb!
Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks were amazing. The narrows hike is easy and impressive, with twists and turns along a half mile stretch.
About an hour's drive from Santa Fe, and still 4000 feet above sea level, Bandelier National Monument is worth seeing.
This was the second leg of my Fall trip to Europe. I flew from Paris to Barcelona, and met an old friend at the train station to head to the Costa Brava for a few days. There we connected with another NYSea crew member who was there for a wedding, and we rented a car and had a mini-road trip up the coast. What a dramatic landscape, and so many castles!