“Sticky” Steve Morrison was up from Florida and we were eager to show him some of our Oregon beauty. Shepard Smith and Kirsten Nugent had brought Sticky to Bend from Corvallis and had wanted to see Smith Rock State Park (“to see the old homestead”) Friday before heading back to the Willamette Valley. That was the chance we had been looking for to take the AdvenChair, now outfitted with disc brakes and a towing system, down and back up the steep trail to the Crooked River.
The brakes held me perfectly as Yvonne piloted me down the hill (Sticky and Shep followed holding webbing as a redundant system should Yvonne slip). Safely at the river, we took the wide path downstream until we found a good lunch spot. Then came the real test; could we get back up the hill? Sure enough, with Shep, Yvonne, and Kirsten pulling and Sticky pushing, the team grunted me (with a couple of rest stops) to the top, aided by the 50 yards of concrete walkway poured over the steepest crux pitch. We were ecstatic about the hike and bought ice cream in Terrebonne to celebrate!
Sticky (he’s a bee keeper) had flown into Medford so we volunteered to drive him back Saturday and to take him to Crater Lake National Park. We crested the hill to the rim, pulled into the first viewing spot, and looked down upon Crater Lake. It was brisk and windy and the gray swirling clouds prevented us from seeing the shoreline hundreds of feet below, much less the east side of the lake. But there where brief breaks in the clouds, enough to let us see the sun, the lake below and Wizard Island sitting within it, giving us hope that by the time we got on the trail the clouds would open up and reveal the entire lake.
Yes, indeed, by the time we had gone about a mile on the Garfield Peak trail the sky opened up to reveal the entire lake and its famous blue water. There were many wildflowers blooming in the meadow below and the sun was brilliant, working in concert with the fast moving clouds to create intriguing shadows on the multi-colored Wizard Island and rim of the caldera. We sat in silence and took it all in.
I’ve been really pleased with how my modifications to the AdvenChair have come along but I got the biggest chuckle as we were preparing for the trail. We had parked outside the Crater Lake Lodge next to about 20 motorcycles, and as the Rip City Riders mounted their machines and the silence was broken by idling Harleys, 3 riders came over to the van, looked at the chair, and said “that’s badass!”
We just grinned as they roared off.
After leaving Sticky at the airport we broke up the 4 hour trip home with some great BBQ from a road-side stand in Union Creek and a quiet walk through the meadow on the south side of Diamond Lake. It was a long day, but seeing Mt. Thielsen shrouded in clouds and watching a weasel watch us on the trail confirmed that it had been a pretty wonderful visit with great friends.