River Bend Campground, Oregon

No stick too big.October 4-6, 2013

We had had to cancel our camping the weekend before when the area was hit by 3-inch deluge of rain. But I'd been watching the reports, and everything pointed to a gorgeous weekend. Kate took Friday off, I finished early, and we were on the road by 1:00. Unfortunately, we weren't even to the highway when the car engine started jerking violently. Actually, it was fortunate that we were still in town, and Joe's Garage could get us back on the road in a couple hours. (Note to self: There's a reason regular oil changes are recommended.) We made it to River Bend, a Linn County campground, by 4:00 with enough time to enjoy the sunshine.

River Bend Campground is on Highway 20, just east of Sweet Home, about an hour from Eugene. It's on the Santiam River, which is much too fast for canoeing. But it's only a short drive to Foster Lake, and not much further to Green Peter Lake, where we boated on Saturday. The lake was so quiet and the air so warm and fresh. I was in heaven.

Crane Prairie Lake

This was actually our first campout this year with just the two of us. Although we LOVE camping with friends and family, it was special to spend some time alone. We were actually quite impressed with this campground. It has brand new bathrooms and showers designed like mini mountain lodges. The sites all have tidy concrete slabs for the dining area, which struck me as suburban, but was actually very nice since the ground was still wet from the recent rain. The hosts, workers, and neighbors were all so friendly, and the whole place was fastidiously clean.

Easter parade

On Saturday morning, we drove just a few miles up Highway 20 to Cascadia State Park. The campground was closed, although it looked like a nice place to check out sometime. But there were great hiking trails along the Santiam River.

Highs: Incredible sunshine, friendly neighbors, wonderful boating on an empty mountain lake followed by a nice hot shower, sunny, grassy site.

Lows: Car trouble delay, very cold the first night, wind and white caps on the lake made paddling back challenging.

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