Patti and I would like to thank each and every one of you for supporting the Kayaksailor project. Your kindness and friendship is wonderful. We have been super busy building sail rigs, answering e-mails, and of course paddle-sailing as often as possible! Its been an amazing year.
One of the great things about kayak-sailing is taking our boats to interesting places. Just the other day we took a wonderful kayak-sailing/ camping trip to Waldo lake Wilderness Area.
Where in the world is Waldo Lake you say?
This gem is nestled high in the Cascade mountains of south central Oregon, about a two hour drive south-east of Eugene and about four and a half hours south of Hood River. 314km (195mi)
Waldo is the second largest lake in Oregon with 25.9km of surface area (about 10mi). It’s not huge by any means, but it’s pretty special, partly because it’s said to be one of the clearest lakes in the world with underwater visibility as much as 37 meters (120′) on a clear day. Apparently, it holds the world’s record for lake visibility at, 47.9m (157′). The reason for the clarity is that the dissolved nutrient levels are extremely low, due to a lack of significant inlet streams.
Considered an alpine lake, Waldo is about 1.76km (5800′) above sea level. Most say that the best time to go is in the late summer or early autumn, when the cooler air temperatures subdue the pesky mosquito population.
Thankfully, authorities banned the use of gasoline outboards on the lake, so it has become something of a west coast paddlers mecca. And, since we had never been there, it was high on our to-do list!
After discussing the adventure with our friends Dan and Deb, we all decided to hit the road for an extended weekend.
The drive there became unusual when this amazing thunder/hail storm passed over the Cascades just as we entered Redmond and shook our little pickup truck like a child’s toy.
Oregon storms can be strong!
Outside Redmond we stopped to refuel. Parked next to us was this huge monster vehicle. Oregon is such a crazy place. It’s filled with so many naturalists who enjoy the peace and quiet of the outdoors, and others who just thrive on noise and mayhem. Welcome to the the wild west! Wonder what this thing would look like with kayaks strapped to the roof?!
The skies began to clear up a bit as we left the town of Bend and the remainder of the drive was quite pleasant.
We arrived at the lake, met Dan and Deb, and chose a camp site. As luck would have it, the clouds returned and we ended up pitching the tent in the rain 🙁 Thankfully, Patti fired up the propane stove and cooked us a delicious hot meal. 🙂 Yum!
Nearly every tree surrounding the lake is covered with a hairy lichen (Bryoria Capillaris) which gives them a somewhat eerie appearance, especially in the late evening. During the day however, the forest takes on a more whimsical appearance, like something out of a Dr. Seuss book.
Charlee-girl came along and was in dog heaven sniffing for chipmunks. Not to worry, she’s too old and slow to bother them much.
Sunny skies and a light southwest breeze greeted us the next morning. After breakfast, we headed out to explore the lake! Even with the cloud cover, the water reflected the characteristic blue hue normally reserved for open oceans.
Even though it was only blowing about five knots, we were able to traverse the large northern section of the lake with ease. Dan and Deb decided to paddle the shoreline, while Patti and I ventured out into the deeper water where the wind was a little stronger.
In certain sections, the lake’s depth it’s over 122 meters (400′). That’s pretty deep! even for coastal standards.
Back at camp Dan showed us his cool little wood cooking stove that he made from recycled tin cans. It is very efficient and fun to stoke. It will boil a pot of water quickly, and you can even roast marshmallows over it after supper!
The next morning brought picture postcard skies and amazing glass calm conditions. The absence of sound and clarity of the water, as well as the sheer beauty of the day made for a spectacular paddling experience. Some days are just perfect for paddling. Please take a moment to click on the photos below to see the enlarged images. It was truly amazing!
There were times when the reflected clouds seemed more real than the ones in the sky. The enveloping silence was complete. Our boats glided over the surface of the water and our hearts were lifted.
We wish you were here to share the experience with us. Is that a postcard cliche?
The water clarity is all that we expected, and more. Shadows from our boats on the lake bottom could easily be seen many meters down and at times gave us all the odd sensation of floating in air.
It was fun to look down in the depths, wave, and see our shadow waving back.
It seemed odd that we didn’t see a single fish. They say the lack of nutrients in the water severely limits all aquatic life, but I thought we would have seen at least a minnow.
At the the far south end of the lake we all stopped to rest on this beautiful little beach. Dan and Deb cooked lunch over their wood stove, while Patti and I stretched our legs and explored a bit of the shoreline.
Gazing out over the lake, it struck me how few people there were out enjoying the water. I mean, here it is, a gorgeous summer weekend, the weather’s perfect, and there’s nobody in sight. What a treat!
After lunch, as we kicked back, a gentle south wind began to blow. It seemed to be whispering to us: come out and play! Answering the call, we returned to the boats, and headed back across the lake.
Patti and I sailed across a sea of perfect azure blue. Actually, she glided faster than I did. Intermittent paddle strokes were needed to keep up with her. Her slender skin-boat, with it’s reduced wetted surface area, slips through the water easier than my “fat” plastic kayak. Did I just say fat? I meant “big boned”. It would have been nice to have had the 1.6m², but I forgot to bring it. Oh well. I guess I’ll take the back seat this time.
These are some pics from the trip back.
I’m trying to catch up to her.
Hmm… She’s moving fast!
Finally I’m able to paddle beneath her to get into some clean air. But I felt lazy and didn’t stay there for long.
I think Patti likes sailing faster than me.
The breeze eased up a bit as we approached shore.
What a day!
At night we gazed up at the sky and watched for shooting stars. Then we crawled into our sleeping bags and let sleep overcome us.
We packed up and drove across the high desert prairie in the morning. All the way back to Hood River.
The contrast of the mountain moisture to the dry desert is striking. It’s a beautiful drive.
Fair winds and happy sailing!
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