Winema National Forest Sno-Park

We like to call our current campsite the “secret national forest outside Crater Lake” site. BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land has been of great success to us in the west here, we’ve found some great hidden jewels of campsites on our trip. Most are free, and there are a couple of helpful websites similar to Yelp to let us know if our 33’ rig can fit in it or not!

We’re actually at a “sno-park” and I haven’t figured it out if it’s for stranded tourists(this area gets a ton of snow!) or for snowmobilers. Right off the road there are toilets, and a “community” log cabin without a front door that had a big fireplace you could make a fire if you are cold while setting up your tent/sleeping in car/after snowmobiling. A couple of fire rings and a huge paved parking lot finish off the upper section. We drove just past this area down a dirt road, around a corner and found outdoorsy heaven. Nobody is around, and our campsite is just off a clear water creek with large log bridges for the boys and dogs to run across. Andy’s first comment was that he loved it here rather then the deserts of Utah because of the “flora and fauna”. Seriously, what 14-year-old uses those words?! But I highly agree with him, we’ve had beautiful weather in the 70’s and to sit next to the rushing creek is amazing.

Only one kid has fallen off the log bridge into the water but that was to save their dog (not that he needed saving but it makes for a good story!). My boy scouts have worked on rank advancement, making fires, making traps for our drinks in the creek, drinking straight from the creek out of a special straw and making spears tied to ropes to catch fish in the creek even when we haven’t yet seen any fish. Woody made the comment that it feels like we’re the boxcar children, and that’s totally true(except we have a camper instead of a boxcar!) We’ve extended our stay here longer then expected just because of the exciting outdoors. We have no internet access and barely phone access, totally not a problem for a couple of days – it’s nice to be free of digital technology! This morning Woody went outside to try to set up a beaver den with sticks they had collected 2 days ago before we woke up but didn’t have any luck. His next creation was a pinecone pyramid that we got 5 chances to break using other pinecones. That was a blast to play for a little bit! Nice to see his imagination working when technology is taken away.

Gunner may be the happiest in the family, he’s totally leash free here. Gunner is good at sticking close by, but if he sees a squirrel, he’s going to run after it, watch it run up a tree, and then stare at the tree for “hours”! When he gets thirsty and hot he just jumps right into the creek. He does seem to have sap in random places around his body, I think I’m just going to use this stop as an excuse to give him a haircut to get rid of that stickiness! In the evening when he is exhausted, he just curls up into a ball by the fireplace waiting to go into the camper to jump on his bed(the couch) and then snoozle for 12 hours or so. It’s a looooong stretch in the morning when he wakes up! But not a bad life for this 10-year old! (MT)


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