Crater Lake and back to California
Monday morning waking in the back of my truck I felt pretty good; skies were grey but here south of Portland no rain was falling. I drove south east to Macredie hot spring. In my mind I was still dodging the weather, but the reality was that I had been two days on the Olympic Peninsula with no rain more than a drizzle, and was having my second hot soak in eighteen hours. I enjoyed a campucino in the hot pool then continued onward southeast.
The area around Klamath Falls holds some of the largest trout in North America. It is accessible from northern California but I had never fished it. I checked the regulations and the rivers had closed on Halloween and the lake was whitecaps so I'll have to come back. Crater Lake was another close destination. The entry gates were unattended and just a skeleton staff remained. I was one of about five tourists there. The wind howled so yet again I had to seek a view where I could paint from the truck, so this picture is about the same view as anyone could get without even leaving their car. Winter had overtaken me and it was time to return to California. I drove south to my friend Annika's folks in Ashland.
Bill and Juanita were public school teachers. They had a beautiful house that burned in the Oakland Fire. They were very active and led in the group fight for fair treatment from insurance companies, and lived in a small apartment for three years waiting for settlement. I was very happy to visit them in Ashland at their new home on the hill above town. They deserve the retirement they have made for themselves and I was overjoyed that they shared it with me. It was a fine time and two good night's sleep there along with the morning view of the mist burning off of the valley and a walk in downtown completely restored me. I would have liked to stay longer but didn't want to wear out my welcome so I left on Tuesday morning for Northern California.
From Ashland on Interstate Five you climb over the dry and rugged Siskiyous to see a giant flat plateau below, then around the next corner Mt. Shasta appears bigger than seems possible. Most mountains are part of a range but Shasta rises about eleven thousand feet above its surroundings to dominate the view. I can't help but stop and paint it, and in the beautiful sunny California weather I finally was able to sit outside to paint.
I drove up to the wild trout section of the Klamath and camped at the Oregon border. The river was flowing full; rafters would call it three generators running on the Boyle dam. This level of dam release makes riffles and runs into big whitewater, and normally slow pools become fast currents. Trout were rising steadily to small blue wing olive flies in the fast glide of smooth water that at low flow is a deep pool. I could hook none of them. In the morning the river was four feet lower and with no trout rising I tried the red tail leech to mimic crayfish. I had a few tugs but no hookups, just the second skunking in three months of travels. I quit when the three generator current started back up, raising the river to a torrent.
Daver was to meet me at Eagle Lake on Friday so I decided to go a day early and check it out. It rained all day as I explored back roads between Shasta and Klamath Falls, Goose Lake and down the west side of the Warner Mountains. There was no painting and no fishing to do in this weather so I just drove.