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Month: June 2017

Fishing Haven, Umpqua River, and the Southern Cascades

Fishing Haven, Umpqua River, and the Southern Cascades

Steamboat InnSo earlier in the year my long lost cousin contacted me out of the blue on Facebook and said she and her husband just bought the Steamboat Inn and invited me to stay there a few days and do some photography.  Adventure?  Cool people to hang with?  Wine?  Yes please, to all of the above.

What made them want to invest into this historical inn?  They loved the outdoors, fishing, etc. and wanted to be full-time business owners, leaving their job at the country club.  Sometimes you gotta just let go and go for your dream and I’m excited for them.

The Steamboat Inn is a major landmark on the Umpqua River on Highway 138.  It’s a haven for fishermen, winetasters, hikers, and generally people who want to get away from the busy life in the city at least for a while.  No phone service so you can have an excuse not to talk to your boring work friends, but there is wi-fi so you can at least get some social media fix in.

Lamb dinner

Oregon territory wine
My cousin once-removed is the official greeter of the inn.

The food was phenomenal.  First night I believe was mushroom ravioli.  Next night was roasted lamb, and the next was the best slowroasted steak I’d ever had.  Pair that with local wines and wow.  The chef’s a cool guy too as well as the staff.

In the meantime during the day, I explored the Umpqua Forest.  There are so many cool sites to see whether you’re there for fishing, hiking, or photography and site-seeing.

Most of the hikes are fairly short and reasonable and lead to scenic waterfalls and sweeping views of the Umpqua. Among them were Toketee Falls, Steamboat Falls, Clearwater Falls, Susan Creek Falls, and Deadline Falls, as well as Big Bend Pool at Steamboat Creek, which is a major local spot with scores of fish, but not permitted for fishing.

The drive along the river alone is a scenic adventure as you wind left and right, up and down with the turquoise waters of the Umpqua right to the side.

Susan Creek Falls
Susan Creek Falls
Toketee Falls
Toketee Falls

The inn itself has great scenery as the backyard has a viewpoint of the Umpqua River.  The stars were out, and so clear away from the city, I had to get myself out of bed for some night photography.

Steamboat InnThe 3rd night I got a shot of the inn and John the chef who knew some photography himself helped me with some of the lighting on the building.  We hung out and chatted under the stars while shooting.

I’ll remember that night talking philosophy, life, art, travel, etc, while he smoked a cigarette and I messed around getting settings.  It was so chill and being away from work and citylife was just awesome.

We talked about how apocalyptic the area around Crater Lake was.  He mentioned he’d seen Thielsen one time from afar and had to look it up.  That steep pointed Tolkieneque peak is not something you see every day.


After leaving I dropped by  my aunt and uncle who now live in a house across the river from the inn.  I remember visiting them out in Eugene a few years ago and listening to his jazz record collection with him.  Retired and helping take care of their grandkids, they’re now living the life by the Umpqua.

I also drove further down Highway 38 to the Diamond Lake area for views of Mount Thielsen and Mount Bailey.  And while I was there I figured I might as well drive further down and check out Crater Lake with snow on top.

Mount Thielsen
Mount Thielsen

Crater Lake was actually a long drive, because you have to go around to the South entrance as the North was snowed in.  Well worth it for a winter view though, and the roads are well kept and plowed regularly.  Crater Lake is even better with snow.

So thanks again to my relatives who treated me well there.  Cheers to new ventures, whether in business or traveling the world.  If you’re ever in the Umpqua Forest area, be sure to stop by and say hi to them and enjoy some food and cheer at the Steamboat Inn!

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California Roadtrip!

California Roadtrip!

(Note: this trip took place in March.)

California, land of Beach Boys, blondes, Hollywood, Disneyland and surfers, right?  Nah, not this time.  I think of it more like the land of national parks, Silicon Valley, and John Muir’s inspiration.  And oh yes, there was sun.

I’m not one to get bummed just because it’s cloudy, but when you’re going weeks on end, with only a few breaks for the sun here and there, it gets old.

First stop, Redwoods!

After a long drive from Portland, we stayed at a hotel in Grants Pass.  Then Jair looks up a trail in Jedediah Smith State Park and we decided to check it out.

Little did we know this was way in the backcountry along one of the worst roads I’d seen.  Jair drove and the road  was good practice for him with his new car.  Constantly doublecheck our GPSes we eventually stopped at what looked like a good trail to check out the old growth trees.

Pretty big.  We hiked for a bit, then moved on.  I guess I’m ever the cynic, once you’ve seen a redwood, you’ve seen ’em all.  haha

Had to check out the Avenue of the Giants while on the way South, which is shown in the photo at the top of this post.  And then of course the California coast.  Amazing drive!

After a long trip we finally San Fransisco and then San Jose.  Driving in the dark, alas, there were no great photos of the Golden Gate Bridge.  But I can still say I saw it, so you’ll just have to believe me.

And what’s California without a trip to In-N-Out Burgers?  Okay, so I was following the crowd a bit here, and though it was pretty good, I don’t really get what all the rage is about.

Next was my bro’s home in San Jose.  He lives in a cool studio apartment with a swimming pool, hot tub, etc.  And there were palm trees!

Next morning was the glorious drive to Yosemite.  We set up camp that night in an RV park where someone was watching movies, but hey it worked.

Yosemite definitely lived up to it’s name.  John Muir wasn’t kidding, it was epic.  I’d like to go visit the Sierras longer someday, see other things in the mountains and taste the amazing alpine “champagne water” Muir wrote about.

Yosemite Falls

Half domeThat Saturday after being back in San Jose, I had to see some Silicon Valley stuff, so we visited the Computer History Museum.  It did not disappoint either.  We got to see the mechanical predecessors of computers and calculators to the 20th century, mainframes, home computers, all the way to smartphones and mobile devices nowadays.

Here’s an old planning device used for construction of ships and that sort of thing.

Awesome robots
Communication devices before the internet and smartphones.

There was much more to see in Silicon Valley as well as California’s countryside, coast, mountains, desert and of course the major national parks.  But unfortunately life, work, etc. called me back home.  California all in all, was pretty epic.  I’ll be back.  🙂

Got an adventure tale to share?  Let’s connect on Instagram and Twitter.  @Outbacktales

 

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