Day 26: Willow Lake County Park, OR

Journal for 2016-10-07 | Published on 2016-10-08 20:26:50

Last night and this morning we realized that we had found the ancestral homelands of daddy long leg spiders. They were everywhere, on us, on our tent, everywhere. At least they aren’t real spiders. We woke to a light sprinkling of rain, which was surprising to us since the last forecast had shown all sunny days, but you ride with reality, not hopes and dreams.

Kevin got packed up pretty early and left before breakfast, he had a business call he had to find reception for. We said our good byes and thanked our new friend for the company. Before we left Pam remembered that the camp host told us we should check out the “little gorge” which was a short walk away.

We walked over and found a very neat formation in the river. The water of the river all funneled into a channel in the lava rock and went from a meandering stream to a fast moving river that cut the channel in to the rocks. There were neat formations produced from the erosion and it was definitely worth the walk. Still sprinkling we hopped on our bikes covered in rain gear.

The riding lasted an entire .75 miles before we pulled over and checked out a viewpoint for the Rogue River Gorge. This was like the “little gorge” we saw earlier but times 10. Huge lava channels have been formed by the river cutting through them resulting in impressive rapids and waterfalls. We wandered around to all the viewpoints (#3 was the best) and then finally hopped back on the bikes in pretty much straight rain.

The rain definitely dampened our moods since we were really expecting better weather, but we ground on through Union Creek which is about 3 buildings long for a town, and then into Prospect. As we rolled in to Prospect we knew there was a convenience store somewhere, but we kept riding and didn’t see it, we were about to turn around when there was a little sign for a gas station ahead. It looked like a trick because it looked to be in the forest, but around the bend there was the store.

As with most small town stores, the selection was hit or miss. We were already hungry so we ended up buying a lot of food and odd combinations of items. The cashier and a local both commented on how the weather report said it would be 70F and sunny, but that obviously was a lie.

We left Prospect and headed toward Butte Falls on a connector road that was very lightly traveled. We undulated up and down, and stopped for lunch at Medco Pond, which was far bigger than some “lakes” we have seen. Then it was back on the road, which consisted of pine trees and pavement. Every now and then a patch of farm land would allow us to get views of the surrounding hills. The rain finally stopped, and then the clouds pulled back, and the blue sky finally shone through. The sun was so warm, and felt so nice after being cold all day yesterday and this morning. Even though it was sunny up on Crater Lake, we were up so high, so it was frigid. But today was a different story. We joked that we could see the sunshine across the border in California, and we raced toward it!

When we reached the intersection for Butte Falls there was enough cell phone service to make a call, so we phoned the county park, which is open for 3 more days. They said they had showers and we pretty much figured that was the spot to stay. Unfortunately, that cuts the day a little short and tomorrow will also probably be short as Ashland is the last real place to stop for a while. But it is pretty here, I’m typing this on the shores of Willow Lake with the reflection of Mt. McLaughlin swirling in the ripples of the water.

Time: 4:24:23

Distance: 45.93

Average: 10.3

Climb: 2264

Max 29.5


Little Gorge in the Farewell Bend campground

Rogue River gorge viewpoint, hard to capture the fact that an olympic size pool worth of water went by every minute.

Neat errosion formations

Partly sunny, high of 70...

Medco Pond

Alright it did get sunny and warm.

Mt. Mcloughlin reflecting on Williow Lake

Looking back towards Crater Lake ( right hand side mountain ranges)


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  1. tracey (mom) says:

    Matthew, when you were about 2or 3, you proudly came out of a bathroom and showed me 6 daddy long legs you had captured in your hands. I guess the bugs generations later still know of your kindness of visiting with them and letting them go on there way. Pam and Matthew, You are going great, having such adventures, and having fun despite all nature's twists and turns. much love, mom

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