Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Memorial Day weekend at Diamond Lake (05-27-2007 to 05-29-2007)

My ability to sort though dates seems to be a bit of a lost cause at this point, as I once again find myself back in May, up at my favorite lake of them all, Diamond.

The last time I was there, I was still camping with the half-ton and the Pullman Mini Camper. To a point, I really don't miss those days, as it'd take the better part of a day to get camp set up, then the same amount, if not more the last day to take it all back down.

This trip wasn't really planned for, it had only been the prior weekend that I was at Silver Creek Falls for the NATCOA rally, so I hadn't requested the holiday off, figuring I'd likely get scheduled to work it. By sheer happenstance, I wound up with three days off in a row, overlapping the tail end of the holiday. So, I called my buddy JJ, who is a royal in the rump to get to go anywhere most times, and asked if he wanted to go camping, figuring I'd get a no.

I got a "yes".

Well, my days off were Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, with an early shift on Saturday, so we set into action Saturday afternoon, and into the wee hours of the morning getting things ready to go.

Did I mention that my friend has found a flair for photography and brought along his very nice, very spendy camera? I think we spent more time shooting pictures that weekend than we did fishing!

Anyway, we set out, saturday night/sunday morning and made the drive down to Diamond Lake, wondering where the sites that were open (According to the Ranger's station) were at on the lake.

This time round, the truck was performing wonderfully, unlike the prior two trips. Having finally traced the roots of my engines maladies to a dysfunctional M.A.P Sensor and farty Throttle Position Sensor, I was crusing along with plenty of HP, tranny staying locked up in O/D and getting 9.54mpg.

Six AM finds us pulling into the the campground, pondering where to begin our search for a campsite. Figuring from past experience that the northern loops would most likely be the ones filled up first, I turn left and head down to the southern end of the main campground.

After search a few loops and having no luck, we're nearing the last two loops in the campground and looking at the possibility of having to stay over at Broken Arrow (Not my personal favorite, few trees, little shade, lots and lots of bugs) on the south shore. As we loop into the second to last loop and start to make our way back out, a gentlemen flags us down and informs us that he and his wife are packing up and that if we wanted, we could have their site.

I'm trying to make certain my jaw wasn't on the floor at this point, as they were offering us a campsite with excellent shade, perfect views, and excellent fishing access right from camp! I'm pretty certain I said yes, my head kinda went fizzy at that point.

The photos are kinda deceiving as I shot that one during the couple hours of the day where the sun actually reached the camper. Even with the sun, the breeze coming off the lake and Mt. Bailey kept it from getting super hot in camp, shoot at night we were actually using the furnace to keep the camper warm.

Well, we moved into camp shortly after those wonderful folks headed out, and got things setup. This didn't take very long, thanks to having a pickup camper, plus having that really nice dining canopy, I love that thing! After that, we took a nice long nap.

After resting up, we fixed some breakfast, then set out to make the only bicycle ride our bodies were going to allow us on this trip.

Let it be known, when you haven't ridden your bicycle for at least a year, suddenly riding twelve miles around a lake isn't persay the best of plans.

There's a creek just west of Broken Arrow Campground on the southshore of Diamond that is very aptly named. It has a large wooden bridge across it, and if you weren't paying attention to the fact that the bridge was going over something, you'd likely never notice it was there.

Its called "Silent Creek."

For some reason, we had this obsession with photographing Mt. Thielsen this trip, I don't know why. I always take a few shots of it every time I visit Diamond Lake, even though I know I've already got twenty-million of them sitting on my hard-drive back home. Perhaps its the beauty of the sharp, rugged features of that jutting peak. Perhaps its because it seems to be defiant of all the green lush life around it, with its snow capped, forbidding crags.

I don't know what it is, but it always lures me to photograph it as much as I dare.

Now, if you wanted to get an idea of how many boats there were out on Diamond Lake fishing for the 65,000 hatchery trout they had just restocked the lake with, simply look at the picture to the right of Mt. Thielsen. That picture is looking south towards Klammath Falls, and I'm not certain what the name of that mountain is, but I believe its the one that stradles Klammath Lake.

For those that are familiar with the Diamond Lake area, we did pass Thielsen View Campground. From the looks of it, it may not be open this year as it appears they are either in the process of decomissioning the campground, or remodeling it. I'd call the Ranger's office to find out more.

As we rounded the bend on the trail round the lake, and started our way across the northern end, we spotted this odd tree trunk along side the path. The tree's core had rotted out some time during its life and when the forestry service took the tree down, the cavity in the trunk had filled with water. The way the two sections were positioned brough to mind the Charmin TP commercials, and the old saying, "Does a bear **** in the woods?"

Yeah.... I think we had a bit too much fun laughing at this one, but the opportunity for the silliness wouldn't allow us to pass it up.

Now, for those that didn't know about it, last year, Diamond Lake was drawn down eight feet and treated with a chemical that strips the oxygen out of the water. It was basically the only way to kill off the Tui Chub that were killing the lake and destroying the surrounding eco system. The above pictures are of the new dam and spill way that was constructed up there to allow for draining of the lake. The last time this was done was over 50 years ago, it required a fair amount of work with digging equipment to reclear the channel that had been made back in 1954 when this procedure had to last be implemented.

As we cycled past the new spill way, we couldn't help but photograph Mt. Bailey as it peaked out around the bend, along with Thielsen, again, as clouds began to roll in from out of the valley. The weather up at Diamond this year during Memorial Day Weekend was exceptional, compared to the weather in the valley, which apparently, consisted of rain and cold temps.

As we photographed and rode, it began to cool down, and I donned my sweatshirt as I was beginning to get cold.

The magic system which prevents the fish from leaving Diamond Lake and migrating down the stream that feeds off Diamond which magically called:

Lake Creek

At about this point in our ride, we were beginning to realize that we were running out of daytime, and so snapped a few more photos as we went.

While stopping to rest at the top of a hill, we both came upon the same idea to randomly try to photograph the other while they were photographing. The result were the second and third photographs above.

Well, after a hard days ride, we finally made it back to camp. Lemme tell you, we were both sore, but had a good ride. JJ has since made the vow to never let himself be talked into doing it again because he had trouble sitting on firm surfaces for the rest of the trip.

One thing I did make note of on this trip was about 60% of all camp setups at Diamond Lake were pickup campers of various ages. The vast majority of RVs in general there were not new, including even another KIT brand camper, though only an 8' unit build in the later 70s when they went to a less practical design.

Well as one of the cardinal rules of camping, when the frosty beverages come out, a campfire is mandatory. In this case, I built my variation of what INSAYN calls a "White-man Fire." In laymen terms, a very hot, large fire with flames that go up at least four feet.

JJ decided to hide for some reason in the first picture, but after batch of brownies were forth coming from the camper's oven, he became more amicable.

This campsite provided us with more than great lodging for our adventure, it also provided us with the most perfect setup for night photography and star gazing. With camp up the hill about 15 from the water, we were able to walk down to a perfect night sky view. JJ whipped out his tripod and using only moonlight shot the following:

We slept well that night. I can't remember a night where I have slept heavier.

The following day, we got up slowly, and gingerly, just about everything ached. It was around this time I was thankful for having a shower onboard. We were a hop, skip and a jump away from the brand new shower building that has been built on the south shore of Diamond, but, it was still closed and locked.

So, every night we filled the fresh water tank onboard back up using my variation of BradW's fresh pumping system. This provided for plenty of water for both of us to shower, plus do the dishes, and have some left over for using the toilet.

Grey water was in the unlimited mode as there was wonderful amounts of humus thick ground all around us that drank every drop of water that fell on its surface. Its wonderfully handy to have 50 feet of garden hose that is used specifically for the purpose of running off the gray water from the camper, it allows me to place my trailer just about anywhere if I want to use its onboard tank, or just run it off on the ground without making a mess of the areas of the site where people would camp. (These southern east shore sites had a lot of space inbetween them because of the terrain).

Once everything got into working order again, we fixed a heaping big breakfast, then relaxed afterwards and did some reading. Once things got settled, we tried our hand at fishing for a couple hours. When that didn't pan out, I decided to make use of my old Pickup truck inner tube.

It was another sunny beautiful day on the lake, perhaps even nicer than the day before. The water wasn't too cold, and I paddled myself back and forth a great many times up and down the shore before paddling back in and taking another wonderful shower.

One thing I love about the work they did on Diamond last year is that there is no longer the worry of algae blooms as the source of the problem no longer exists. If you're at Diamond Lake, and you see some damned fool using live bait, please, for the well being of the lake and other fishermen, shoot them in the head with any projectile weapon you have available and save us the misery of having to go through this all over again.

Well, that about wraps up the details of my memorial day weekend, believe me the day we were leaving, I was really wishing we could stay longer. After Monday had rolled around, we wound up with the entire loop to ourselves, making for even better fishing as there was no longer one jacktard or another racing from one end of the lake to the other at 45 mph, washing our lines back in.

I hope you enjoyed reading my travels, please leave a reply if you liked it, but I guaruntee I won't divulge what campsite # we were at, I don't want to be fighting all of the state of Oregon for it

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