Sparks Lake and Hosmer Lake, Oregon

1 08 2013

IMG_0659Just returned from a kayak camping trip to Sparks Lake and Hosmer Lake, Oregon with my friends Jessie and Laura! These two lakes are located right on the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway in Bend, Oregon. Wow! These are two of the most scenic lakes in the Pacific NW.

Bathed in fantastic clear blue skies and looked upon by 10,450 ft South Sister, Broken Top and Mount Bachelor, these crown jewels are worth paddling. Everyone visiting Oregon ought to come and ply these waters.

On the water you’ve got a 200-degree view of glaciated peaks above. The lakes are easy to explore, their waters typically calm and not too deep.

Sparks Lake and Hosmer Lake have different personalities. Sparks Lake is dominated by flows of a’a lava flows, so sharp they pierced one of my dry bags. These flows make for isolated channels and difficult boat landings. Yet, we found a beautiful camping site with a jaw-dropping view of South Sister!



Out on the lake I’m overwhelmed with the views before me. In every direction there is an otherworldly view – each one magnificent all in of itself, yet here there are THREE!

IMG_0640I feel justifiably spoiled.

We have perfect weather, impeccable views, and I have two women with me.

For dinner, we have fresh shrimp and veggie skewers, plus rice. After a laborious preparation involving ginger, garlic etc. the meal perks my taste buds!


Mount Bachelor provides a backdrop…

Evening is quiet. I have to disclose Sparks Lake is a tourist hot spot. During the day kayaks, canoes, inflatable rafts, everything is out enjoying the view. But we put out on the lake with our camping gear and found a quiet spot, so once dusk came all became quiet. One bright light in the SW sky we determined was Saturn.

After dawn and a breakfast of oats, nuts and fruit, washed down with Sumatran coffee, we packed up the kayaks on the 2013 Ford Escape and headed 20 minutes down the Cascades Lakes Scenic Byway to Hosmer Lake.

Hosmer Lake is characterized by lakelets connected by lillypad clusters, rushes, and channels filled with rainbow and brook trout that would make a fly fisherman blush. It’s a different vibe than Sparks Lake. It’s just as busy though. So, on the channels connecting the lakelets, you have a parade of stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, canoes, etc., and oar powered fishing boats. Everyone is looking down at the fish! Although the whole time, you are surrounded by the mountains!

IMG_0646 It was another impeccable day, with different scenery as a backdrop.

IMG_0645With mountains above, lillies on the water’s surface, and beautiful trout below, it’s hard to beat Hosmer Lake.

IMG_0652Parts of the lake feature Caribbean Blue waters where your boat’s shadow can be seen underneath!

We follow a channel up one end of the lake in search of a waterfall everyone told us about. The water temperature drops precipitously, an indicator we’ve found the source. The width of paddle-able water narrows to two yards – in some places, two feet. Then we glimpse some beached kayaks.

Here, we haul out and make lunch. Just above, there is a to-die-for waterfall beautiful enough to make Laura cry!

That is enough for me. Such a perfect day. We head back to our camp at Sparks Lake for another fabulous meal. Tomorrow we head home, full of memories.

Sunriver Oregon / Bend Oregon / Mt Bachelor Day 2

17 03 2011

My first day of the weekend was downhill at Mount Bachelor, and it was a satisfying and long day.

The next day, Saturday I joined the cross country group. We picked a trail out of the Mt Bachelor Nordic Center and then headed off trail on the ungroomed track.

The Nordic Center was much more popular than I envisioned, with a couple dozen skiers getting ready when we arrived. Their trail system of groomers is pretty extensive. Still, the group opted for a further adventure.

It was pretty up there, and snowing all the time we were skiing.

It was here I met my match. There was about four feet of unpacked snow on either side of the track. I didn’t have any trouble climbing, but I knew on the way down I’d run into big trouble! On a little downslope on the climb I fell off to the side and sunk into the ungrommed, and it took me ten minutes of swimming to get back up.

I continued for another 45 minutes or so, but as the trail kept climbing and I fell again, I had to make an embarrassing announcement…I had to turn back. I predicted 10-15 falls on my way down if I kept going, and the prospect of those “swims” wasn’t very attractive. After sheepishly making my announcement, two others in the group, Lee Ann and Tatsuro, confessed they had issues and needed to head back, too. Each had different problems than I did. Joe Yuska gave me a lot of tips and encouragement on downhilling in the soft snow plus how to get up more efficiently. Thanks Joe!

So we wound up back at the house and some napped (me) whilst others hit the hot tub. In the late afternoon Lee Ann brings out the cocktail shaker…she knows how to get it done!

Lee Ann is a pro cocktail mixer!

In the evening, we prepared a scrumptious meal of pesto chicken, salad, green beans with ice cream & apple pie for dessert.

Joe's beautiful apple pie!




Keith and Joe at UNO

Then the board games came out…the UNO…


Now, who's card went down first??!!

And then speed UNO…watch the hands!

And for those unable to resolve the UNO issues in a civilized fashion,

the house had other means!


Bend, Oregon / Sunriver / Mt. Bachelor

15 03 2011

With its dry climate, bountiful sunshine and snowy peaks, Central Oregon is a top destination for out of state tourists and Portland residents escaping gray skies. The Bend, Oregon region is popular for a quick escape.

Bend, with its proximity to the Three Sisters Wilderness and Mount Bachelor, draws outdoor enthusiasts from near and far. Just south of Bend lies the resort community of Sunriver. Sunriver offers plenty of rental homes and recently ten of my outdoor enthusiast friends gathered at a house for a weekend of winter outdoor adventure. We had the house Friday – Sunday and made the most of our time!

I offered to drive, so Tatsuro, Olga and I headed down in my VW Jetta Wagon. We packed every square inch available as well as the roof top box. With several pairs of skis plus winter gear and coolers full of food, there wasn’t any spare room! We were able to get out of town by about 3:30 – and while the highways were busy they were moving right along. We picked the Santiam Pass route because there was an accident blocking hwy 26 at Government Camp. The snow began falling heavily as we passed Detroit Lake. All the way to the top of Santiam Pass, by Hoodoo Ski Area, the snow drifted down. I was really thankful we were going through in daylight! We made it through handily and then through the town of Sisters. Beyond Sisters, the snow stopped, unveiling a sky full of stars!

Our house in Sunriver was really comfortable. Lots of space for cooking, lounging plus a generous hot tub. Most people arrived sometime Thursday evening…and we got to bed so that we could have a Friday full of outdoor exploration. I planned to head to Mt. Bachelor with Jim and Dave for a day of downhill skiing.

Friday morning…pancakes, waffles, omelets and fruit…then we took off for the mountain. The rest of the crowd went Nordic skiing. What a great day of skiing!

Fluffy snow and bluebird skies!

The snow was fresh and we spent much of our time skiing the Outback and the Northwest Territory lifts.

Tree skiing at its finest!

Tree run after tree run of lovely snow. Not the lightest I’ve seen at Bachelor, but fun all the same.

It was a bit thick, and being that way meant it took a lot out of us. Funny, I took a header in the unpacked snow my first run! No injury.

The views of Central Oregon opened up more and more as the day wore on.

By 3:30 my legs were spaghetti. Dave had already given in and was seated down on deck by the bar. The sky continued to clear, and it was now warm on the deck!

Jim kept on skiing…he’s such a die hard. He actually did three more runs after I quit. But it wasn’t too long before he joined us.

We enjoyed the apres ski moment, watching the sun disappear behind the mountain and then the emerging snow cats which crawled up the hill doing their grooming.

Well, at day’s end, we were the last ones as our three pairs of skis and three mostly finished beers testify!

That's a wrap!

So, onward to Sunriver to meet the rest of the gang, head to the hot tub, and enjoy some good cooking!

Well deserved.