Timothy Lake, Oregon – Leading A Horse to Water!

13 09 2013

IMG_0711  This is a quick blog post about a trip to Timothy Lake, Oregon, which I took before my Eastern Oregon byways trip (see last blog). Timothy Lake is 13 miles south of Mount Hood. It’s an easy 1:20 drive from my home. So, if I want to get outside but don’t have a big window of time, sometimes I head up there. If you read my last blog post, you know that I suffered a back injury a couple of weeks prior to this week. Well, it turned out that on this trip, sleeping on hard ground was great. I slept like a baby. I actually slept better than in my own bed. But a week later, at Anthony Lake, everything changed.


Trees in Oregon grow really tall…!

This post is about happier times. With only a couple of days in the middle of the week free, I hurriedly packed my car and headed up to Timothy Lake. With my back trouble, I left the kayak at home. I found a west facing camping spot – with nice trees above.

I set up camp and then hiked down the lake two campgrounds distant. It was such a pretty day, and my body enjoyed the easy exercise.

Along the way I encountered a family with horses. They did something completely unexpected. They started leading the horses into the water!


Mom, daughter and horses. All somehow cooperating!


Daughter learns you can lead a horse to water, but…you can’t…


It was so endearing. These big animals, who could cause harm, totally cooperated with the human tenders…even kids. The adults rode them into the lake, and the kids guided them out.

Horses are so gentle. It was something to see! I was sure the horses weren’t comfortable out there in the lake. Yet, they trusted their owners – enough so that they even went beyond standing – even swimming!

I thought that was pretty cool. Then I returned to my campsite. It was a quick walk down to the water, and I enjoyed the sunset with a magazine and a pint of beer.

Then it was time to make a fire, and I had a lot of wood.

IMG_0713I made a “log cabin” style fire, which went up big. Very nice. Following, it was time for dinner. I brought up some freshly made tortellinis, which were easy and delicious. Plus a nice green salad.

Then crawling into my tent, I managed to have a super restful sleep. I had no idea one week later camping would turn out to be so painful.

Till next time!

It is September. This month is usually the best month for enjoying the outdoors. No bugs. Good weather. Crowds – gone after Labor Day. But sadly, my ability to get outdoors is hindered by my back and hip injuries. I am confined to the city, and I am following docs orders and trying to get out before the weather turns!

Wish me luck.

2011 Clackamas River Cleanup presented by We Love Clean Rivers!

20 09 2011

All photos by Mark Gamba.

On the tenth anniversary of 9/11, the 9th annual Down the River Cleanup on the Clackamas River took place. Organized by We Love Clean Rivers, the event mobilizes an array of groups in a collaborative effort to clean 15 miles of the Clackamas River. I’m on the board of directors.

With a Staj Pace as our new event coordinator, new branding initiative completed including logo, new website, stationery, etc., we hit the ball out of the park this year! Participation was up over 60% with a record 421 registered volunteers. We also removed record amounts of trash from the river – 3.4 tons!

We had LOTS of FUN! Folks met up at Barton Park before 9:00 a.m. for coffee and bagels, registered, then organized into 15 pods (each cleaning one river mile), and after safety briefings, set off to clean the river.

Pod pre-launch briefing

Pods are made up of kayaks, drift boats, rafts, and some divers. It was a HOT day, over 90 degrees. I saw more red neck flotillas of inflatable mattresses and beer coolers going on the river than ever.

Cleaning in the river means collaboration amongst different recreational groups. Divers go below. Snorkelers are utilized. And bank-based cleaning is performed, too!

The emphasis is all about fun. Participants set off in a festive mood. Kids are definitely part of the collective cleanup muscle!

Youngsters taking ownership

Each pod rides the river to its assigned section and begins to clean.

Some rafts or drift boats are designated “garbage scows,” and folks bring trash to them. Some become quite laden with tires or metal objects.

By far the most numerous items are beverage cans. There is no question that cans are being dumped by river runners into the river.

Just look at this dumpster!

Holy Garbage!

The garbage is sorted by kids and recyclers. Further, it is picked over by artists, who will convert some into art or jewelry. This stuff will be sold at the RiPPLe PDX event on October 6th!

The day is book ended at the conclusion by a party/picnic celebration! Participants enjoyed music, a catered, organic picnic, three bands, Sierra Nevada beer, and the chance to win outdoor gear at the silent auction!

Nice job everyone! THANK YOU!

We enjoyed some really upbeat music!!!

60 feet of deliecious catered food!

We Love Clean Rivers New Brand / Clackamas County Voluntourism in September!

5 08 2011

Seven months in the making, We Love Clean Rivers, the Portland, Oregon-based river cleanup non-profit, launched its new website Thursday! I’m on the board of directors. I led the re-branding effort. After countless meetings on company identity, phraseology, logos, colors, business cards, stationery and more, we are done and it’s launched!

I also spearheaded the voluntourism weekends project for the Clackamas County Tourism and Cultural Affairs Department. We Love Clean Rivers got a grant from the department, part of which was to put together tourist weekends surrounding our cleanups! You can work a cleanup one day – and putting on FUN cleanups is what we’re all about…stay in a hotel in Clackamas County, and the other weekend day treat yourself to rafting, kayaking, stand up paddleboarding, or fly fishing! Check out the opportunities on the voluntourism page of the We Love Clean Rivers website…

When are these weekends? The Clackamas River Cleanup, September 10-11, and the Great Willamette Cleanup, October 8-9! See you there!

The Great Willamette Cleanup 2010

5 10 2010

I took on a section of the Great Willamette Cleanup this year – as the lead volunteer. It’s an event put on by Willamette Riverkeeper. In 2010 the cleanup stretched from Eugene to Portland, with over 500 volunteers. As an Advisory Board member with We Love Clean Rivers it was a responsibility to help out. It was no problem as I’ve led enough paddles to know how to organize a group! We were assigned the area near Dahl Beach / Meldrum Bar, which is right where the Clackamas River enters the Willamette River.

We met at about 9:00 a.m. and signed the usual liability waivers, and staged the boats down at Dahl Beach. When all had arrived we had 25 volunteers. Six canoes and two sit on tops. Our section was Goat Island to Cedar Island. I split the group into two pods and assigned Jessie Bader, my Paddle NW meetup organizer the 2nd pod. We gave the overview and safety talk and started on the beach. Then, we were to take on the ends of our stretch and work toward the middle.

We got tires!

We got blankets!

We got tarps!

Someone even left a suitcase complete with stuff inside!

Along the way we found a beetle probably realizing winter’s not to far away…

All in all, we grabbed canoefulls of stuff…and the Willamette was happier by the end of the day!

Thanks to everyone for lending a helping hand! We did a great job on October 2nd!

Memorial Day 2010: Timothy Lake, Oregon

2 06 2010

My friend Jessie reserved two sites at Gone Creek, a campground at the  popular Timothy Lake recreation area less than two hours from Portland, Oregon. Reserving a site means putting your bucks on the line – especially in our region, especially this year. Fact is, you never know if people will show up or if you will get stuck with all the fees. So I committed to show support! When all was said and done, 2010 was the rainiest May in history! But this weekend we braved the weather and scored. Four of us headed up Friday night and set up regardless of the forecast. Francis and I arrived first and set up these easy up shelters over the picnic tables, and got our tents set up during a lull in the rain. In all, ten campers/kayakers enjoyed the weekend!

I felt TOTALLY stoked borrowing my neighbor’s 12×12 Easy Up shelter. That thing ROCKS! It makes fixing and eating dinner a snap and rain not a problem. Later Jessie arrived with her new Kelty 16ft long tarp. When all set up we had the square shelter over the table and the ‘entry way.’ It was awesome – and we added battery operated, color changing Christmas lights.

Our awesome executive campsite!

Fire lit, dinner done and a glass in wine in hand, we hung out around the fire and enjoyed as the rain showers diminished. All night the rain pitter pattered on the roof of my tent. It was my new REI Quarter Dome T3. It was nice to have all that space. It didn’t leak, but putting up the fly-a piece ripped and I’m gonna have to take it back.

One issue Friday night was our Saturday morning breakfast person – Rebecca. Was she going to show up? Did we have stuff to eat if she didn’t show? Rebecca was supposed to make vegan burritos Saturday. But no show. So we sat around the fire and figured out what we were going to make for Saturday breakfast….some of this…some of that. A little oats, some hard boiled eggs, fruit, some bacon…

It didn’t rain. But some of this was Monday’s breakfast! So we asked Kent, on his way up, to grab some more stuff to replace Monday’s supplies!

I had scheduled a Meetup.com paddle for 11:00. Our group wasn’t motivating very quickly and it was already 10:20. I tried to hint hey wegotta get moving!

Ready to head out!

So I got my dry suit going, and by 10:45, Brian, the day paddler from our meetup showed up. And then Laura! That got the rest of them moving. I greeted Brian and tried to kind of stall, hoping everyone else would get moving. He was patient and they got it together. By 11:30 we were off.

We headed west to Hoodview Campground, then turned north to cross the lake. My plan was to show the group the primitive camping sites on the north and northeast side. It’s a simple way to get away from crowds and enjoy peace without having to go really far afield. We put ashore and everyone thought the sites were lovely.

We lunched at a picnic table, and checked out the neighboring site. These sites are nice as they even have fire rings!

Once done, we headed east past Meditation Point and up the east arm of the lake. Little Crater Lake Creek enters the lake at the top of the arm. The character of the lake changes completely here. It becomes more marsh like, with islands of reeds and peaceful areas on either side. Further on, it narrows and the current quickens.

Laura checks out the beaver lodge

We pass a beautiful beaver lodge. You can paddle right up and check it out. The water is so clear, you can see the underwater entrances the beavers use to enter their home.

Further on, and faster current.

Rod attains up the creek

The stream meanders a bit and then we run right up into a walking bridge – no further paddling possible! A few of us disembark to check out the site.

After paddling back across the lake, we take time to start the fire and relax, sharing stories. Soon, Kent arrives, and then it’s time to begin preparation for the highlight of the evening – Wok night at the campsite! We chopped onion, carrot, green pepper, garlic, brocolli, ginger, bok choy, water chestnut, baby corn, shrimp, chicken, etc. All kinds of sauces are available. Brown rice as a bed. Yum! Then, Laura breaks out the lemon squares for dessert! And of course the wine flowed.

But before dark Mount Hood emerged for us!

Then, time for more fun by the fire….lots of stories. I brought the blow-poke. This brass barbed tube is good for stoking the fire and moving the logs around.

Sunday Katie and Christian prepared a breakfast feast of oatmeal with fresh fruit and it was just what we needed. All fed and fueled up, some headed back out on the lake, whilst others decided to do a big hike. Jessie and Joel hiked all the way around! Francis and I packed up and made a cover for Jessie’s stuff and headed out. A nice Memorial Day weekend! Let the summer begin!