Kayaking Escape: … Armchair Travel in the Time of Covid-19

I ran out of time to do today’s post on our hike up into the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest behind our house in search of bears, cougars and snakes. Oh my. The best laid plans of mice and moose— you know how that goes. There were chores to do. So, I decided to pull a post from 2014 I did on kayaking a small lake that’s about 8-miles from our home. I’ve blogged on Squaw Lake since. You may have seen photos but each trip is different. It is quite beautiful. Enjoy.

Kayaking on Squaw Lake, Oregon. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.
Peggy paddling our inflatable Innova Kayak on Little Squaw Lake. (Her hair has grown like umpteen inches since— grin.)

Since Squaw Lake is only a few mile from our home, we can easily head up there when we have a couple of hours to spare.

Reflection shot on Squaw Lake in southern Oregon.
Paddling under cloudy skies, we thought it might rain.
Kayaking on the small Squaw Lake in southern Oregon provides beautiful refection shots. Photo by Curtis Mekemson
But then the sun came out, allowing for this very green reflection shot.
Young steer next to Squaw Lake in Southern Oregon. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.
We kayaked up to the end of the lake and caught this photo of a young steer, who also seemed happy to see the sun.
Cumulous clouds dominate the horizon at Squaw Lake in southern Oregon.
Towering cumulus clouds dominated the horizon and spoke of a later thunder and lightning storm. We would be off the lake by then. Peggy and I have been caught out on much larger lakes during storms. Dangerous. Once, in Prince Albert National Park north of Saskatoon, Canada, we barely made it back to shore.
Cumulous clouds reflected in Squaw Lake of Southern Oregon near Applegate Lake. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.
The clouds were reflected in the lake.
Turtle sunning on Squaw Lake in Southern Oregon near the California border. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.
A curious turtle, blending into the green, checked us out.
Jane and Jim Hagedorn kayaking on Squaw Lake in Southern Oregon. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.
Peggy’s sister, Jane Hagedorn and her husband Jim, joined us. We often take friends and family up to Squaw Lake. Its small size make it an ideal location for beginning kayakers.
Photo of Squaw Lake in Southern Oregon. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.
A final photo capturing the beauty and peace of the lake. Ripples from a fish that had just jumped are on the lower right.

I don’t know if you kayak, but it is hard to find a more peaceful experience than kayaking on Squaw Lake. We hope to be back there soon. (Look for another post!) We are also planning a trip to Klamath Lake where you can follow ancient trails through the tules once used by Native Americans. That, plus the fact that large numbers of water fowl stop there in the spring and fall, makes it another favorite of ours. And finally, if you are ever in our neck of the woods, we would be glad to take you kayaking on Squaw Lake.

FRIDAY’S POST: The blog on our trip up the mountain, assuming I’m not distracted again!

We Visited Crater Lake National Park Last Week… Just Before It Closed

Crater Lake National Park is renowned for its beauty and the deep blue color of its water. It has an icy blue look here. Peggy took this photo from the Rim Village. Scott Mountain dominates in the distance. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

The massive, 12-mile-high Mt. Mazama blew its top 7000 years ago. Local Native American legend claims that it had gone to war with Mt. Shasta, a hundred miles to the south. Mazama lost. It wasn’t that the massive explosion used up all of its bullets, aka lava. The problem was that using the magma emptied out the large chamber beneath the mountain and the weight of the Mazama brought it crashing down into the empty chamber, leaving behind a large crater or caldera to use the technical term. The caldera filled with water and voila! Crater Lake was born.

Photo by Curtis Mekemson.
A photo I took of Mt. Shasta. Had Mt. Mazuma survived its explosion of 7,000 years ago, it may have looked something like this.

Peggy and I visited the National Park a week ago. It’s about a 2 ½ hour drive from our house. We drove up by ourselves and were careful to keep the virus-safe distance from the relatively few other people who were visiting. One individual insisted on invading our space, however…

This fellow apparently thought sniffing my shoe was more important than maintaining the 6 feet recommended to avoid coronavirus. “What are you thinking, guy?” I asked. “It’s a girl,” Peggy informed me. “She’s wearing pink.”

We had visited Crater Lake twice last summer and were eager to see it in the winter covered with snow. We were really glad we did. For one, it was as beautiful as we had expected it would be— and, two, the park closed on Tuesday because of coronavirus. The odds are that it will be closed until long after the snow melts. Here’s a map and some of the photos that Peggy and I took.

This National Park map provides an overview of the lake. Peggy and I were at Rim Village. The road around the lake is closed in winter and doesn’t open again until sometime in the summer. Wizard Mountain is on the left. The sheer cliffs around the lake are obvious. The lake is 1978 feet deep at its deepest spot. It is 6.2 by 4.5 miles across.
I’ve never met a tree stump I didn’t want to photograph. Let me put this one into perspective…
Wizard Island provided a backdrop. Llao Rock, named after the Klamath Indian god of the underworld rears up behind the island. The deep blue water reflects both Wizard Island and the clouds above the lake.
A close up of Wizard Island. It is actually a small volcano that rose up from the lake’s floor. You can visit it by boat if you are willing to walk the thousand feet to the water. Afterwards, you get to hike the thousand feet back up. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)
Other than the one trail, it’s a long way to fall to get to the lake and there are plenty of signs to warn you. The smaller sign forbids the use of drones.
This photo gives a perspective on the steep drop.
The cliffs as seen looking across the lake. I liked the impressionist-like reflection. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)
Impressive rock formations surround Crater Lake. This one is located south of the Rim Village. I believe it is Garfield Peak.
These were on the opposite side of the lake above Wizard Island. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)
This is the trail that took us from the parking lot into the Rim Village overlook. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)
Peggy points out the depth of the snow.
This photo of two of the buildings at the Crater Lake Rim Village also provide a look at the depth of the snow. The trail leads over to the lakes rim. I rendered the photo in black and white.
Peggy captured two fun photos of the roof. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)
And the left edge of the building. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)
All of the snow demanded a snow angel and I volunteered Peggy.
It came out three dimensional! Peggy thought it was a bit spooky. Something took a big chunk out of her side. (It was from her knee getting up.)
As always, we wandered around taking random photos. One of mine included this tree with its bone-colored limbs.
Peggy caught these backpackers on snowshoes.
Speaking of backpackers, the Pacific Crest Trail runs through the park. We didn’t see any through hikers, which wasn’t surprising. This is the restroom at the trailhead! Peggy and I will likely backpack through the park starting here this coming summer.
I’ll conclude today’s post with a selfie of Peggy and me at the Lake’s edge— our last visit before lockdown. 🙂