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Summer Vacation 2010

California and Oregon

Monday, June 7, 2010: Oakland to Klamath Falls

Julia, Mary, David, and I flew out of Oakland to Klamath Falls this day. The flight took the best part of three hours and we flew on a clear blue-sky day. As we reached the California-Oregon border the snowcapped Mount Shasta loomed in our view. Several Air-National-Guard F-15s greeted us at Klamath Airport. Matilda (our Commander aircraft) got us on the ground safely even with the jets aggressively buzzing around our ears.

We took a brief walk into downtown Klamath Falls after checking into our hotel. The town is a sleepy place full of strip-malls and shopping centers on it outskirts. However, downtown's lake and nice park are redeeming features.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010: Lava Beds National Monument

We spent the day hiking at the Lava Beds National Monument. The place is comprised of majestic snow covered volcanoes, immense lava beds filled with tortured rock shapes, deep frozen caves formed from lava tubes, towering cinder cones scarcely covered in flora, and enormous calderas fashioned by the collapse of whole mountains. We walked on old lava flows, into deep dark lava tubes, and learnt about the fate of the Modoc Native Americans. What a spectacular place to hike.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010: Crater Lake

The weather got colder, but remained relatively sunny. We utilized this opportunity to visit Crater Lake National Park not too far north of Klamath Falls. Imagine a 14,000-foot mountain, snow capped and majestic. It sat for millennia reaching up to the sky. Then visualize it exploding with pyroclastic fury and collapsing downward into an enormous caldera under the massive peak. If you can envisage this then you have realized Crater Lake National Park. The purest water today fills the enormous carter left by this incredible event endowing the lake with a cobalt blue color. Even this late into the summer Cater Lake is snowbound and cold, so we fortunately took warm clothes for our visit. If you do not visit this grand place, you are depriving yourself an experience of a lifetime.

Thursday, June 10, 2010: Klamath Falls

At the sleepy little town of Klamath Falls we walked around the stupendous Upper Klamath Lake and wondered about trails frequented with turtles, water snakes, red winged black birds, red tailed hawks, grebes, pelicans, egrets, and many other birds and animals.

Friday, June 11, 2010: Klamath Falls to Portland

We lifted off from Klamath Airport into more bright blue and clear skies this morning. As we flew north we had a close encounter with an F-15 jet heading back to the airport. Our two aircraft headed directly at each other until the F-15 filled the windshield of Matilda. Then it broke left in a maneuver reminiscent of the movie Top Gun. We missed each other by only half a mile or so. This event caused quite a stir in our cockpit as you can imagine. However, everyone's emotions settled down again once we sighted Crater Lake on our track north to Portland over the Cascade Mountains.

Saturday, June 12, 2010: Portland and the Columbia River Gorge

This was the first time I had ever visited Portland Oregon. I must say it is a great city, but it has a freaky feel to it. Let me just say: the citizens of Portland seem out of place with the rest of the population of Oregon. However odd Portland is there is no mistaking the nature beauty of the Columbia River Gorge. We drove out to it and hiked its many waterfalls. If you like cascades then the Columbia River Gorge is the place for you. I have seen really large waterfalls at Iguassu Falls in Brazil and Niagara Falls in New York, but I have never seen so many falls that you can walk right up to and around before. Besides, the Columbia River is a splendid sight on its own.

The Columbia River Gorge

Sunday, June 13, 2010: Portland to Crescent City California

The weather forced us to change our plans and leave Portland early. So we flew south to California and the big tress of Crescent City. I have been here many times before, but I never tire of the place. Hiking in the redwoods big tree forests is a source of unending pleasure. This time we were able to complete the Boy Scot Trail. We have partially walked it twice before, but were able to complete it on this trip. Our reward was to see Fern Falls, which marks the end of this trail. We also visited the marshlands just north of Crescent City California and surrounded ourselves with its birds.

Crescent City


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