Join Date: Apr 2018
Waldo Lake Labor Day weekend trip
We took our annual Labor Day Weekend trip to Waldo Lake, Oregon. I took Thursday and Friday off. I left Thursday morning about 8:30 a.m. along with my two teenage daughters. We arrived at North Waldo campground shortly after noon and were stoked to snag site #50, one of our favorites from past stays.
After we got setup, we made some lunch, and the girls and I hiked over to nearby Islet Campground via the Shoreline trail. It was cool and overcast out, but still fun and scenic.
Late that afternoon I got on my bike and took a relatively short ride up to Charlton Lake and back. It's a steady climb up to the lake, but a nice, fun bomber back down. This also served as a bit a of a warmup and a chance to acclimate to the 5,500+ elevation. Temperatures were forecast for lows in the 30's, but it didn't get quite that cold the first night, probably only 41*.
Day two was clear and sunny and a nice improvement from the cloudy day before. We spent a leisurely morning relaxing in camp. I cooked pancakes and bacon and hung out with my daughters until early afternoon. I finally got on the mountain bike again at around 2:30. Once again I headed up to Charlton Lake, but continued on the Charlton Lake trail to the Metolius Windigo Trail, and eventually to the Twins trail. Mindful of the time I said I'd be back, I turned around after about 5.5 miles and retraced my route back to camp. Total ride was 11.3 miles with a climb from 5,413 to 6,319 feet with 1,847 feet of cumulative elevation gain. After returning to camp we made burgers, mashed taters and corn on the cob for dinner. My friend Tim arrived at about 8:30 p.m. and joined us at our camp. Temps that night were in the high 30's and it was 37* the next morning.
Day three I awoke early. Today we would be joined by my cousin Don and his friend Karen from southern Oregon. He arrived around 10 a.m. and lucked into a newly vacant campsite across the road. Once he was setup, Tim, Don and I donned bike gear and prepared to ride around Waldo Lake. We departed sometime after 11 a.m. and enjoyed the pleasant temperature of about 70* as we began our ride in a counter-clockwise direction. The trail offers many different sections, beginning with a ride through the burned area from a fire in 1996. The ride continues through forested sections with great lake views and technical, undulating, rooty terrain, with lots of ups and downs. Although there are no long sustained climbs, the elevation and distance makes this a strong intermediate ride. Once we neared the south shore, we enjoyed smoother, more hard packed terrain for a bit and more views of the lake after the trail veers away from the lake for a time. We rode into Shadow Bay campground and Tim and Don took advantage of available water to refill their empty Camelbaks. We rode up the campground access road to regain the trail, then took a break to eat before the final push back to North Waldo. This is a fun section of trail, especially after you reach the apex of the climb and can enjoy more downhill as you near the end. It was a fantastic day on the bike. We spent about 5 hours circumnavigating the Lake, with total mileage of 21.31 and 2,444 feet of cumulative elevation gain. My daughters, meanwhile enjoyed a nice hike to Charlton Lake followed by a picnic lunch, before returning to camp.
Day four started with a temperature of about 38*. My friend Tim packed up after breakfast and headed back home. After three days riding, I was ready for a day off the bike. so after breakfast I took my kayak out and spent about two hours paddling. I first explored the shore along the burn area and paddled as about to the point where the burn transitions into more forested terrain. This was the warmest day so far, and there were lots of folks out paddling. Canoes, SUPs, kayaks, swimmers and sunbathers were all out as I explored the area near the shore. Eventually, I turned around and intended to paddle more or less directly back to my starting point. Instead I overshot a bit and ended up near Islet campground, before heading back to where I started.
After I returned we decided to drive into Crescent Lake Junction for lunch so we loaded up and headed out. Once there we explored the well-stocked Crescent Lake General Store, and then crossed the highway for a delicious lunch at Guy's Killer BBQ, After lunch we drove to Shelter Cove Resort at Odell lake. We spent some time looking around, before heading back to camp at North Waldo. Although I had opted out of riding that day, my cousin went out and solo and he and I reviewed route options. He planned to try something similar to what I had ridden on day two.
Don's friend Karen was not riding but the two of them had spent time together at Charlton Lake before he left her at about 2:30 p.m. Don told Karen to expect him back at about 4:30. By 6:00 p.m. Don had still not returned and we were starting to worry a bit. By 7:00 there was still no sign of Don. We decided to drive the road down to Shadow Bay and see if we could find him. Our camp host also informed us that the Shadow Bay camp host had an emergency (satellite?) phone that could be used for emergencies. There was no sign of Don and it was starting to get dark, so we decided to alert the authorities about Don. We found the host and eventually called and reported his failure to arrive, now at least 3 hours later than the time he had estimated. Once doe, the camp host agreed to follow us back to camp in case Don showed up. Luckily, we met Don driving in as we were leaving Shadow Bay! He had returned to camp no long after we left, tired, but in good condition, having gotten turned around on the trail and taking a longer route than intended.
Day five began with a relatively warm temperature of 44*. This was to be our last day at Waldo. After breakfast, We said our goodbyes to Don and Karen who were also leaving. I went our on my kayak again. Although there was more wind making for a rougher paddle, it was much more tranquil as most people began to pack up and leave. I spent less than an hour on the water and returned to pack up too. We departed at around 1:00 p.m. and headed for Portland. We stopped for lunch in Oakridge and got back on the road. It took us until 5:45 p.m. to get home in the heavy holiday traffic, but we arrived home safe and sound, tired but satisfied from a long, fun weekend.
2001 Ford Econoline E250
GTRV camper conversion