Waldo Lake is the second largest lake in Oregon (anybody wanna guess which is bigger?) and covers about 10 square miles. Because it does not get water from any other lakes or rivers, it is also one of the cleanest, purest bodies of water in the world.
The State of Oregon (finally) resolved last year to disallow gasoline motors on the lake in order to maintain the purity of the water. Good.
I found it interesting that the Forest Service says that Waldo Lake was isolated from humans until the late 1800s, yet the information on the map of the area (which is published by the very same Forest Service) notes that there is evidence of native tribal groups camping and hunting in the area dating back a few thousand years.
Yeah. I'm not gonna touch that.
Lemme tell you what we did and what we saw!
Our original intent was to follow the South Waldo trail for a few miles, and then head uphill on the High Divide trail to some meadow areas. The goal was to get above the standing water (i.e. the lake) and the mosquitos that live there. We quickly discovered that the High Divide trail is not maintained. There were all kinds of trees and logs over the trail. We went around and over for a few miles, and then we got a little smarter and Sky climbed down off her horse to scout the trail ahead.
A few minutes later, she returned: the trail ahead was worse, and there were trees completely blocking the way.
So, back down the hill we went, to the lake. We passed this spot only about 2 miles from the parkinglot. Small, but pretty. Close to the lake--which means it's handy for getting water to the horses, but also close to the bugs. We decided to keep walking to see what else we could find another camping spot. It was a pretty day, anyhow.
Lots of bridges. Last year the horses might have objected to crossing all those bridges, but an extra year of good practice has made both of them very steady trail mounts.
We went along a narrow, scary trail (no photos!) to the abandoned Klovdahl Dam site. In 1905, private investors wanted to use water from Waldo Lake for irrigation and hydro power. The location of the lake made the project not financially feasible, and the Dam was abandoned in 1914. Personally, I think that's just fine. The trail to the Dam remains, but it's dam (sic) skinny and I'm glad that my good trail horse figured out how to turn around and head back out of the dead-end trail!
After travelling about 8 miles without finding a good camping spot,Sky and I decided to turn around and return to the little place we had seen on the walk in. This place became Camp 1.
There wasn't really enough grass at Camp 1 to sustain the horses for more than a day, though, so after a lovely evening and a lovely morning we packed everything up, intending to walk back to the truck, load up, and head to another area that we'd seen on the map. However, not more than 1/4 mile from Camp 1, we found Camp 2! Lots of grass! Lots of trees for highlining and building corrals. And...
a beautiful, sandy beach.
What a beautiful place to stay! The grey jays ("camp-robbers") liked it too.
We went skinny-dipping in the morning, before the hikers and canoes were out and about (no photos). Later, I went wading in my riding tights. This tree may be the prettiest laundry line I've ever used in my life. (a plug for Kerrits tights, by the way: they dried in the sun in about an hour...and I've been washing and drying them in camp for years in this manner, and they are still my favorites)
We lazed around the new camp for a few hours, and then it was time to ride out and explore!
A big gold "trailmaster star" is awarded to the folks who built the trail between Waldo Lake and Bobby Lake. What a great trail: clear sight-lines, no fall-lines, and a beautifully stable tread. We flew!