Tuesday April 7: Today we leave our civilized campground at the mouth of the Deschutes and head south toward its headwaters south of Bend, Oregon. Thanks to my research and phone calls ahead, I know of one campground that will be open this time of the year, McKay Crossing. Many roads and most campgrounds are still closed because normally at this time of year there would still be 2 to 3 feet of snow on the ground. Oregon has had an exceptionally mild and dry winter, not so good for the summer ahead, but the road to McKay Crossing is open and the campground is not gated.
South of Bend, we run into a snow flurry – hmmm. I am wondering how the road to the campground is going to be, since it is uphill. There is snow on the ground, and as the road climbs, we begin to consider where we might pull off to spend the night. Just then we spot a sign ahead and we are at the McKay Crossing. Clifford parks and we walk through the campground, which is spread out on both sides of Paulina Creek, and pick the campsite that we like the best, as no one else is crazy enough to be out in a snow flurry looking for a place to camp. The site we pick is spacious, overlooks the creek, and is away from other campsites.
It is already late afternoon, so we get the Pony (our pop-up) set up as quickly as possible and soon we have heat and hot water on for tea. I am excited that we have some snow – not enough to prevent us from being here, but enough for snowy photos of the creek and the trees. The Pony floor is still damp from yesterday’s tank overfill, but other than that LIFE IS GOOD!
Wednesday April 8: It is 31 degrees this morning, so the snow lingers, and only 44 degrees for a high with sleet/snow coming and going all day with little stretches of sunshine in between.
Although I can’t get set up for long periods of time in the sunshine, I enjoy being outside most of the day.
We walk to the waterfall that is just a ways downstream from the camp. It is small compared to Palouse Falls, but quite impressive in its own way. A plaque on a tree commemorates the life of a young man who died here less than two years ago. We guess that he must have tried to jump into the pool at the base of the falls, a foolhardy action at best, and we are especially careful as we inch close enough to the chasm to take photos.
Our solar panel is set up even though today is not the best day to gather energy from the sun. I do a little Carnicom Institute email on Clifford’s tablet (which takes less power than my laptop), but the internet connection is iffy, so I only take care of the most pressing emails. Considering we are in a ponderosa forest miles from town, we consider ourselves fortunate to have any cell service or internet. Solar power is limited today, also, but we are lucky to have whatever is available. I write a blog about our stay at Palouse Falls and edit photos until the battery on my laptop goes dead. I feel a little frustrated about the limitations, but there are many other things to do that don’t involved cell phones or computers.
It is time for me to start switching gears – walkabouts taking photo and reading old journals are at the top of my list.
Learning to walk at a slower pace, to chew food slowly, to take one’s time at even the most mundane activities are of value in being present to one’s state of well-being. I am used to rushing through one activity so I can get on to the next, but here there is no need to rush to go anywhere or do anything other than what I am doing at the moment. It is okay to slow down; it is better than okay – it is right and good to slow down, to slow down and enjoy life.