We’ve learned to choose a fairly close destination for our first night out. This time, it was Goose Lake State Park, near the ranching community of Lakeview, Oregon. Only about 160 miles from home, it’s a different route than we usually take. We’re headed to Florida to visit my family (I grew up there), and we’re taking three months total for this trip, our longest yet.
Goose Lake State Park turned out to be the perfect first destination. Peaceful, pretty, quiet, and nothing much to do except recover from the intensity of getting ready for this trip—which involved wrapping up work obligations, taking care of all of the house and garden projects for the fall, and getting the truck and trailer ready for travel. Plus a steep technology learning curve associated with a new laptop, new iPhones, and new Wi-Fi apparatus that enable me to work on the road (and write this blog!).
After setting up camp in a wonderful site, we set off on a walk to explore and met the camp host along the way. We asked her what there was to do, especially what hiking might be close by. “There’s nothing to do,” she said. “That’s why people come here.” Ordinarily, that wouldn’t appeal to us at all. But in our current state of being, it was fine with us. As far as hiking, she told us that we could walk to the lake, but warned, “You’ll be hiking through two miles of cow pies.”
We tried it the next morning. She was right. The lake is extremely low because of drought, and after about a mile of dodging cow pies (and cows) and sinking dangerously into the mucky lake bottom, we turned around. Later that afternoon, we were ready to do just a little something, so we took a 40-mile drive to the Modoc National Wildlife Refuge. It was beautiful. The sandhill cranes greeted us with their raspy, haunting cries, thousands of Canada geese floated in the marsh and rose in great formations overhead, and the afternoon light turned the rushes and grasses to gold. We’re easing into this trip, and happy to be on the road.