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Birthday Girls; Lassen Volcanic National Park; Crater Lake National Park; A 9-11 Reminder; Rogue River; Wieners in Bags

We are now about two-thirds of the way through our 2017 Messages of Hope Tour. Recently Suzanne flew back to The Villages to celebrate her mom Ruthie’s 90th birthday (and her own xxth, since they share the same date of birth, August 1st. There was a big celebration at Ruthie’s place, with 60 or so revelers whooping it up with her and the family. There were two delicious cakes, and when asked which one she would like, Ruthie exclaimed, “Well, both, of course!” (That’s our Ruthie!) Here is a shot of the lovely birthday girls…

While My Lovely Bride was back in FL, the puppies and I spent a week at Lassen Volcanic National Park. We would have gone home as well, but as Suzanne was flying next to Denver for an IANDS event, and airlines don’t allow one person to travel with two dogs, we had to stay behind with the coach in California. Lassen is a dormant volcano with steaming fumaroles, beautiful mountain lakes, thick woods, and 150 miles of trails. Because it’s pretty far from major cities like San Francisco, there were far fewer turistas than one would find in Yosemite or Grand Canyon.

I got my fill of hiking that week, completing six trails, one prettier than the next. The woods were more like Colorado than Oregon or Washington, where the undergrowth and trees tend to be much closer together. Here, open spaces between the trees allowed for more open vistas and the ability to go off-trail when desired.

The creeks and streams were running fast with snowmelt, unusual for August because of the heavy snowfall that the Cascades, Sierras and Rockies received this past winter. (Sorry, Al Gore, that the actual weather isn’t fitting in with your global warming doom and gloom predictions…)

My only big wildlife encounter was this cinnamon black bear that crossed in front of me about 60 feet away. Obviously he was in a hurry to go somewhere, because he didn’t stop to introduce himself…

As always, I enjoyed the scenery and serenity of the wilderness in Lassen. This lake was all mine for an hour or so until another hiker appeared, but thankfully, he wasn’t nearly as noisy as the birds and insects around me…

I departed Lassen to meet Suzanne in Eugene, Oregon, where she would be flying in from Denver. We celebrated her birthday at a very nice riverfront restaurant in the city. I made a point of sampling one of the Willamette Valley Pinot Noirs, and it was excellent.

Our next stop was Crater Lake National Park- it’s the deepest lake in the US (1,946 ft). It was formed when a super-volcano, Mt Mazama, erupted and blew apart about 7,700 years ago, when My Good Friend Bob was only a teenager. Fed only by snow and rain, Crater Lake is extraordinarily pure and is deep cobalt blue in color. Here is MLB on the trail to Mt Garfield above the rim of the caldera – what a view… and the lake ain’t bad, either.

This was the highway to and from Crater Lake – miles and miles of trees, trees and more trees. No urban sprawl or traffic around here! You had better have filled up your gas tank early, because it’s nuthin’ but woods for miles and miles.

During our Crater Lake visit, we stayed in a campground in Prospect, Oregon. Walking by their small fire house, we noticed the sign on this fire engine – it reads, “This truck was at Ground Zero on Nine Eleven.” For some people, I guess, 9-11 is a distant memory. Since both of us experienced that day closer than most Americans, we may appreciate better the significance of that sign, and the sacrifices of the first responders and other victims it recalls.

Exploring the area, we found a beautiful waterfall on the Rogue River after an easy hike through the woods. The drop down to the river was much more challenging…

Some of the boulders in the Rogue here are as big as small houses. The river was not running very high – I can only imagine how impressive it must be in June when snow-melt is at a peak.

A side trip to Silver Falls State Park near Silverton, Oregon, gave us a different perspective on mossy trees… this is the “crown jewel” of the Oregon State Park system, and the largest of the state parks in the state. 

We decided to bring Rudy and Gretchen with us, and were restricted on the trails we could hike, but we enjoyed their company immensely. They rode comfortably in our backpacks, and never once complained. They were safe and snuggly back there, and got to see the world from a higher perspective than usual… 


  • MOM/Gina
    Posted September 23, 2017 at 2:08 am

    Happy birthday to Suzy and Ruthy….I haven't checked this in a long while, and enjoyed it as always. Miss you guys.

  • Britta
    Posted September 4, 2018 at 1:03 am

    So many beautiful adventures you are on during this cross-country tour!


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