Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Camping on the Shore of Wickiup Reservoir, Pt. 1

Mrs Elliott was out of town the whole third week of September, off playing with her girlfriends in SoCal. Not one to see the point of sitting around an empty house, alone, I loaded my VW poptop camper van with food and the little "Westrailia" trailer with camping gear and drove south, then west into the Deschutes National Forest to see about spending the week on the shore of Wickiup Reservoir, doing a little fishing, a little kayaking, some wine "tasting," and some cooking.

As "Woody" Bob Woodward told me, the backcountry empties out after Labor Day. Though in August the place was packed with campers, in mid-September the place is deserted. By 3 o' clock I was all set up on a sweet spit of land that I had eyed from my kayak the last time I was here.

It was just me, Great White Egrets, pelicans, killdeer, and ring-beaked seagulls stopping by on their migration from inland to the coast for winter; sun, wind, trees, and sand. Sand is not dirty, I like camping on sand.
Set up on the sand.

A bit of fried chicken and a glass of red wine for lunch, a full battery (plenty of sun and the reefer wasn't laboring to keep things cool, it being only around 90 in the van), and the kayak was on the shore.

With the full sun, warm temperature, and total lack of other humans, I stripped down to my birthday suit and enjoyed the feel of air and sun on my skin.

The reservoir was down several feet, having been drawn down by irrigation needs all through summer. Winter's snows will refill it.

We had a late fire season this year, with unusually dry and warm conditions and there were several fires burning throughout the mountains. The air was hazy and my eyes burned a bit due to the smoke from fires.

Because of the high risk of wildfire, there were no campfires permitted, violation risking a $500 fine. And where I was camping, fishing wasn't permitted due to spawning season, one has to go downstream a bit beyond the ODFW buoy to be legal. I wasn't really happy about that as I had planned to toss some flies and nymphs about with my spinning rig and try my luck.

("Luck" being the operative word here -- I am no fisherman and have little skill or knowledge of the art.)

As the sun set I had quacking ducks, the sound of fishies jumping, no wind, and a wonderful sunset.
Sunset on Wickiup. Dramatic lighting provided by
smoke from fires and Ma Nature. 

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