Monday, August 8, 2011

A Little Camping at Little Cultus Lake

Mrs Elliott reading at Site #6.
Mrs Elliott and I went camping last weekend. Well, I actually started the trip on Wednesday, the better to get a choice site at the popular Little Cultus Lake US Forestry campground in the Deschutes Nat'l Forest. Mrs Elliott joined me on Friday, right after lunch.

I got a pretty decent site. Like all popular USFS campgrounds in high season, these places tend to fill up starting Thursday, and by Friday night the good sites are gone. The bigger, more popular USFS campgrounds have reservable sites, but Little Cultus Lake is first-come, first-served. So one's best odds for finding a good site is to arrive midweek.

It's a pretty location, though we feel that we have outgrown fee camping where your neighbors are within eye- and earshot. These days we find that we prefer undeveloped "dispersed" campsites where you're all alone along a stretch of lake shore or a river. With roads too rough for giant RVs and a total lack of "facilities," only the best-equipped campers who are willing to bring their own toilets and water are found. Such campers have learned to shrug off the herding instinct that prompts most campers to cluster together.

But for this trip, since Mrs Elliott was coming by separate car, we elected to go to a known place. The dispersed campgrounds are scattered and often hidden and I had little confidence that she could find where I had settled, but might instead find herself wandering dirt and gravel roads in the forest with no idea where I was. Her navigational skills are not very strong, having little sense of compass bearings, and most of the places we go don't have cell service or any other way for me to send GPS latitude/longitude coordinates or directions to her.

So she arrived on schedule, and it's always nice to have her with me.

We pooted around the lake in my little red kayak and an inflatable watercraft with miserable oarlocks and stupid little cheap oars. Next time, two kayaks.

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