August 11, 2015

Williamson River Campground - Fremont-Winema National Forest

"Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

As we traveled up the highway, I stare in wonderment at the endless miles of forest. My thoughts are of all the beautiful individuals who have found peace and contentment without the need to venture. That "protective cage" of a community providing the comforts of a home, familiar surroundings and neighbors and predictability... i.e. no surprises and no unknowns. And than I visualize myself...and realized how feral I have been for most of my life. Many of my most joyous moments have come when I am hiking in a wilderness, driving the backroads and always looking to see over the next rise. One address being my tether, a rut in the making. I am wild, yearn to explore, experience and seek out more adventure. My own addiction. My belief is that each one of us is created with that feral instinct, just observe our children, but time, fear, ego or generation expectations has tamed a most natural behavior.

We left Los Molinos with one certainty in mind...we would be in Oregon this day. We only wanted to drive around 200 miles and we had researched some camping spots for the night. Smoke from the Northern California fires was prevalent up to and beyond the state line, in fact it only started breaking up at Klamath Falls. We were thankful our plans changed as we thought we would be snug as a bug in Lassen Volcanic National Park for 4-5 days, but the heavy smoke would have made it unbearable. 

As we passed Klamath Falls Lake, we were entertained by the aerial wonders of Bald Eagles and Osprey...just an added reminder of why we love Oregon so much.

We considered spending the night at Kla-Mo-Ya Casino, located 32 miles north of Klamath Falls, because it offered free camping, a $5.99 BBQ rib dinner and a $1.97 breakfast. Tempting, close...but no thanks. We decided to drive a few more miles north until we found "clean air."

Less than 20 miles down the highway the smoke dissipated and clear, smokeless skies appeared. We came upon Collier State Park in Chiloquin, Oregon and briefly discussed about stopping, but Oregon State Parks are pretty busy on weekends and we were looking for some isolation. 

Imke, doing what she does best, found a US Forest Service campground a little over a mile down a dirt road. She deducted that most people stay to the safety of paved roads, big signs, patrolling rangers and well known campgrounds but pass on uncertainty. Think about many people do you know that go in search of the Wizard of Oz? Plus any drive on a dirt road takes longer and warrants a post drive car wash. So for those reasons, we chose it...Williamson River Campground.

Although you need only to drive 1 1/2 miles on a dirt washboard road from Hwy 97, this beautiful US Forest Campground is pretty isolated. There are only 20 campsites and most of them were empty, Sites are huge and can accommodate a large diesel pusher or fifth wheel. The Fremont-Winema National Forest offers a setting of classic western beauty derived from the land's volcanic legacy. With over 2.3 million acres of forests, this wild place proves a safe haven for any "wild beast."

The campground, situated in one big loop, is heavily wooded and each site offers something not normally found in a public campground...solitude and privacy. And because I am now an "old fart", our night was only $5.00 with my National Parks Senior Pass...a 50% savings...I love that pass! Close by is the Williamson River and miles of isolated hiking trails.

And since feral animals are not vegetarians, what better lair to eat your kill.

At Waypoint 42.660207°, -121.85396° 

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