September 9, 2015
Eight Mile Campground
"I see my path, but I don't know where it leads.
Not knowing where I'm going is what inspires me to travel it."
Rosalia de Castro
It was time for some alone time, a view of a blue sky and the comfort of a canopy of pines. We chose to head up 197 toward Dufur to an isolated US Forest Service Campground, Eight Mile Campground in the Mount Hood National Forest, that was recommended to us by Country Coach Dave (our “neighbor” a few stops back). You all have heard the saying, "you snooze, you loose, no guts, no glory”… and that’s what came to mind when making the decision toward staying at this remote campsite or not. Dave’s description indicated it was a small, hard to find, out of the way campground, accessed only by a single lane road, has some very tight turns and features only a couple rv length sites…”but you probably can get in.” What would you have decided?
Well his description was right on as this campground was neatly tucked away about a ½ mile off US Forest Hwy 44, tricky to maneuver through and of the 19 sites available, only four fit our needs and if we were any longer, we would need a shoehorn to get in. Our site, #7, was backed right up to the edge of 8 Mile Creek, wide, long and surrounded by a grove of aspen and mixed pines. And surprisingly in the midst of summer, we had this beautiful campground to ourselves our first night...with Mel the friendly camphost as our only neighbor. Best of all, only $5.50 per night with my National Parks "Señor" Pass.
Thanks to Mel’s knowledge of the area, we were dialed in to miles and miles of hiking/biking trails in the area. We completed an easy 2-mile jaunt to Lower Eight Mile Campground and than Mel gave us the nickel tour around this wilderness area and to another campground, providing us a small overview of the area.
We awoke to the morning of August 20 which I consider the first day of Imkelina’s retirement, for today was the start of the new school year. For many years my BFF would embrace her new crop of second grade students with love, enthusiasm, patience and hope. Since I am very biased on this subject, I can say without a doubt, that the kids won the Georgia Brown Lottery when they were assigned to Imkelina’s classroom (and actually I put all the staff at GB on the highest pedestal). But on this particular morning it was sleep in, nestled under boughs of pines with the background noise of a gurgling creek. She woke up to the aromas coming from a fresh cup of coffee, a platter of crispy bacon, hashbrowns, and fried eggs. And to celebrate this day, she polished it all down with a zesty Bloody Mary. Ahhhhh life is deserving!
We hitched a ride with Mel to a trailhead up the road and hiked down and around Eight Mile Loop…a pretty, yet strenuous steep hike, detouring to a mountain fire lookout and than heading back to camp….all in all a 6.2-mile scenic tour. It would have been nice to stay another day, but big boys do like playing in the dirt and we needed to do few loads of laundry, dump our tanks and charge our batteries.
So after boondocking/drycamping for a week, we headed down to Woodburn to stay at the Portland/Woodburn RV Park and then off to Newberg and a special place…Champoeg State Park.
At Waypoint 45º24’21.60” N-121º27’04.68” W