Next to a Lake in Oregon

Alright, so I had big plans this year. But it’s 2020, and the universe decided I didn’t anymore. I’ve been keeping busy working, working out, reading, gardening and watching a decent amount of Netflix.

I haven’t done too many crafts or done a lot of traveling, but Kevin and I did drive up to Southern Oregon for a few days to at least enjoy some travel and get out of house. It was our first time in Oregon, too! We stayed on a lake, went to Crater Lake National Park, and did a lot of outdoor activities!

From the Bay Area, the Klamath Falls area of Southern Oregon is about a 5.5 hour drive. We stopped for a bathroom, gas, and lunch break, so it ended up taking us about 6.5 hours.

Where to Stay

Klamath Falls is very close to the boarder of OR and CA and is considered the “large” city in the area. We stayed about 30 minutes north of Klamath Falls in a town called Chiloquin.

We stayed at this Airbnb in Chiloquin on Agency Lake from Thursday to Tuesday. It was clean and very cutely decorated with a bear motif! It also had big bed and comfy blankets. Agency Lake is absolutely beautiful. The only downside is you can’t swim in it since it’s a shallow lake. There are also a lot of midge flies, which don’t bite, but they will swarm any light in the evening and you can’t really keep the windows open (even with screens). I took our dog out to pee in the dark and left the front light on. When we came back inside, I spent 20 minutes battling a swarm of midge flies that decided the front hallway was their new home. In general though, they’re really more of a passive nuisance than anything. Fun wildlife includes TONS of birds on the lake, which you can see from the deck. The Airbnb hosts also provided us with binoculars and a telescope.

Activities

On Friday, we drove the 30 minutes to Crater Lake National Park. Crater Lake is America’s deepest lake! It is a fairly small park and Oregon’s only National Park, so a day is enough time to drive around the rim of the lake and do a few hikes. You can also pre-purchase your pass online to save time.

Crater Lake is interesting because you mostly see the lake from above. There’s really only one way down to the lake, which is a fairly steep hike. Apparently the water is very cold, too, so we weren’t really interested in doing the hike. We drove past the trail and it was very crowded, so we felt better about skipping after seeing that. You can also take a shuttle boat on the lake to Wizard Island, but I don’t think that is running because of COVID.

I was a little surprised how many people were at the park, but I guess people are looking to do stuff outside and National Parks are a great outdoor getaway! We brought along our dog Indy, and toted him along in his backpack. We thought Crater lake was pretty awesome; Indy was largely unimpressed.

Taken in front of the sign at the visitor center. Just kidding – yes, this is a real picture!
We hiked to the top of that peak!

On Saturday, we had an easy morning and went for a bike ride in the afternoon. Kevin has a mountain bike, and I rented one from Sky Lakes Wilderness Adventures. It was only $30 for 4 hours and came with a helmet and lock. This was my first time mountain biking and I loved it! We went to Annie Creek Sno-Park on the suggestion of Sky Lakes. It was a great ride along the fire roads with some great views!

The next day, Sunday, Kevin relaxed at the house, and I went out to a beach on a swim-able lake, Lake of the Woods. Lake of the Woods is about a 45 minute drive from Chiloquiln and it was $7 to get access to the lake at Aspen Point Day Use Area. Lots of people were camping and enjoying the water in boats, floaties, kayaks, etc. It was a bit smokey and hazy when I was there, but I still enjoyed reading while sitting at the shore and in the shallow parts of the water.

Monday was our last full day in Oregon and we took a kayak tour of the Wood River Wetlands and Agency Lake through Sky Lakes Wilderness Adventures in the morning. The tour and guide were both excellent. We saw a ton of wildlife, including frogs, water otters, beavers, heron, pelicans, and a variety of other birds. We decided to bring along Indy, which they were cool with (we emailed beforehand to ask if it was OK). He’s small and extremely calm and comfortable in pretty much every situation, so we were confident he would not be disruptive to the others on the tour or wildlife. He exceeded those expectations and was essentially unimpressed the entire time and slept. It was pretty cute.

The one time Indy was awake on our kayak tour.

Tuesday was our last day and travel home day. We left early because we stopped at Lava Beds National Monument on the way home. It will add around an hour to your drive. You could probably add this as a day trip, especially if you’re staying closer to Klamath Falls. We spent about 3 hours total at Lava Beds. You probably could spend more time there, but we didn’t want to get home too late and a lot of the park was closed because of a recent fire. There wasn’t much hiking to be done because of the fire. We also had our dog, who even in the backpack, we didn’t want to bring into the caves, so we went in individually. Going in individually definitely limited my time inside each cave because, quite frankly, they were super creepy!

The park was extremely quiet. We only saw three other small groups. The caves were absolutely pitch black, so it’s a little unnerving to be in there alone! There are only two lit caves – all the others are pitch black. Mushpot is lit with lights and has some signs to give information about the lava bed caves and how they are formed. This was Kevin’s favorite cave because he learned so much. There is also Sunshine cave, which has some holes in the ceiling, so parts of it are lit.

The caves are also very big, so you can go in and do legit caving. I’m talking hands and knees crawling through tiny spaces. This isn’t really something I want to do even with a partner though, so I was totally fine climbing down, walking maybe 50 ft, and then going back up. The caves are ranked by ease and complexity, so you can do some of the easy ones if you’ve never been caving before. Bring flashlights!

Where to Eat

Given COVID, we didn’t do much eating out. We’re not ready to dine indoors and we haven’t even been outdoor dining yet! So there were limited options in Chiloquin. We got a bunch of BBQ and lunch items from Albertson’s and cooked our own food, enjoying it out on the deck.

We drove into Klamath Falls to try to hit up the Sotum Thai food truck, which I was really excited about, given its excellent reviews. The first time I think we were too late (they close at 7pm and we got there around 6:40pm…soooo in reality not though haha). Then the second day they had a sign up saying they were going to be closed for 2 weeks (even though their Google page said they were open). So I was pretty disappointed about that.

However, these mishaps yielded some nice discoveries. We tried Papa Murphy’s for the first time. I had no idea what Papa Murphy’s was, but they basically make the pizza for you and you take it home to cook! That was pretty cool. Then the second night we got takeout from Los Potrillos. I didn’t see outdoor seating, but we got our food to go and there was a random picnic table outside that we ate at. It was wonderful.

Overall, we had a great time in Southern Oregon. It was really nice to get away and do some outdoor activities, and I would highly recommend taking the trip!

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