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Date:  September 25, 2007

Location  Clear Lake Loop Hike

Where:  Willamette National Forest


Boondocking near Firsh Lake

We have driven our motor home up into the Cascades for a few days of hiking and are currently camped in an unofficial camping area near Fish Lake. I believe the term is boondocking. In other words there are no services or fees.

McKenzie River Trail

For our first days adventure we hiked from our campsite down the McKenzie River Trail to Clear Lake, around the eastern shore, past Big Spring and Coldwater Cove Campground, across the McKenzie River on the new bridge, up the west side, stopping at Clear Lake Resort for coffee and cookies.

the new bridge over the McKenzie River

It's a perfect time to be in the high Cascades with the vine maple in its brilliant fall colors. Douglas Squirrels barked at us for interrupting their harvest of fir cones for their winter cache. A few trout made circles on the lakes surface, a few fishermen cast from rowboats. But what caught our attention the most after the fall colors were the birds. We spotted Robins first thing in the morning along the dry bed of Fish Creek, followed by Red-breasted Nuthatches and Western Flickers. Common Mergansers cruised the lakes surface. Oregon Juncos and Rufous-sided Towhees worked the bushes. American Dippers made up their unique melodies along the waters edge. A Pileated Woodpecker hammered away on an old snag. Soaring overhead was a Red-tailed Hawk. We saw no Ospreys; they have apparently left for their Mexico wintering grounds. Back at camp Brown Creepers worked up and down the tree trunks. Ravens called out from the upper branches.

We were back to the motor home by 12:30. Amazing how far you can hike in a morning (8 miles) when you don't have to spend the first two hours driving to a trailhead. Grilled ham and cheese sandwiches for lunch, followed by a hot shower. Yes, we like boondocking.

Clear Lake
Clear Lake