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 Backpacking with Dogs and a Canoe: Strawberry Wilderness, Oregon

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jalepeno
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PostSubject: Backpacking with Dogs and a Canoe: Strawberry Wilderness, Oregon   Thu Jun 28, 2012 6:18 pm

It seemed like a good idea at the time. 

A friend, Bodhi and I backpacked into Strawberry Lake for four days of luxury base camp camping.
Strawberry Lake is at six thousand feet on the edge of the Strawberry Wilderness in eastern Oregon, six hours from Portland.
The weather report was for partial clouds and sun, highs in the seventies and lows in the forties.
Perfect!

We brought beer, fresh food, camp chairs and a tarp.
Oh yes, we were also brought a canoe.
Our thinking was that it was only 1.5 miles and 700 ft. from the trailhead to the lake.
The trailhead campground was packed.
We stage carried the packs a quarter mile, dropped them and then went back for the canoe, brought the canoe up to the packs, dropped it and carried the packs further. Bodhi carried his dog food, nylabone and treats in his pack like a champ
After the long drive and the three hours it took us to bring all our stuff up to the lake, it was seven thirty.
Nobody was camped at the lake.

My friend had time for a paddle while the beers cooled in the lake.

We ate our subway sandwiches and set up the tents.
I was beat. I haven't carried a pack that heavy since I was in my thirties.

It rained all night. Weather report- WTF ?
At six in the morning, it began to snow.
Hard..
Thank god for the tarp.
We shivered under it, drinking many cups of coffee.

Around ten, we decided that we needed to move to warm up.
It was still snowing.
So we hiked up to Strawberry Falls.. Amazing cataract!
Then we hiked above the falls, trying to reach Little Strawberry Lake.
Here we lost the trail in deep snow and turned around.
We couldn't see in the blizzard and were postholing in the snow on the ground.

On the way back to camp, we met a family hiking up to the falls from the campground.
They said that the forecast was for a cold front followed by four days of thunderstorms.
It was noon. The snow stopped and hail began.
We had a quick consultation about the wisdom of camping with a canoe in a thunderstorm, packed up and headed down.
I cursed my idiocy of bringing all that junk with every step.

When we reached the campground, it was deserted.
My feet were hamburger.
Bodhi jumped in the car and crashed.
In Prairie City, the temp was 55. It should have been 85.
We started driving home on highway 19, through John Day, Kimberly and Fossil.

When we reached Service Creek, we found a lodge at one of the put-ins for raft trips on the John Day River.
After dinner and a Deschute Brewery Inversion IPA, we didn't want to drive further.
So we set up our wet tents along the banks of the fast moving John Day.
Nighthawks were foraging overhead, followed by bats as the many cumulus clouds changed hues from orange to red.
It was completely silent.
I slept the sleep of the dead with Bodhi curled up in the corner of the tent.
The next day, after breakfast along the river, we drove to Condon for gas.
In Condon, a wheat ranching and wind farm center, we were finally in cell phone range again.

In retrospect, this trip could have been epic.
I'm glad I brought the beer and the dog, but I wish I'd cut back on the other stuff.
Just a little.
But the old saw that summer in Oregon doesn't begin until July 5th is true.

proof of canoe on Strawberry Lake

Bodhi guarding camp

Strawberry Lake before the deluge

Bodhi guards the canoe

eastern Oregon dirt road from the canoe-mobile

Strawberry Mt. from Prairie City

eastern Oregon hoodoo

Route 19 to Service Creek

castellated cliffs along the John Day River


Last edited by jalepeno on Thu Jun 28, 2012 7:26 pm; edited 1 time in total
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jbealer
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Location : Denver, CO

PostSubject: Re: Backpacking with Dogs and a Canoe: Strawberry Wilderness, Oregon   Thu Jun 28, 2012 6:57 pm

wait! where are all the snow pictures, i need proof!!!!

that 3rd pic from the top is worth framing, great shot! last one is good to. sorry the trip did not go better.
im starting to wonder if we will even camp this summer Sad

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Tiff&Kya
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Location : Corpus Christi, Texas

PostSubject: Re: Backpacking with Dogs and a Canoe: Strawberry Wilderness, Oregon   Thu Jun 28, 2012 7:44 pm

I want to see those pictures too!

I am dying to camp! but with 110 degree weather, I don't think my dogs can hang.
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jalepeno
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PostSubject: Re: Backpacking with Dogs and a Canoe: Strawberry Wilderness, Oregon   Thu Jun 28, 2012 7:51 pm

Didn't want to get the camera wet in the storm, but here's squall moving in-

And here's Bodhi crossing a bridge above Strawberry Falls-
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Huskyluv
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Location : Huntsville, AL

PostSubject: Re: Backpacking with Dogs and a Canoe: Strawberry Wilderness, Oregon   Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:01 pm

Looks gorgeous out there. I miss hiking in snow in July. With any luck we may be back in the Pacific NW in a few months. Got my fingers crossed. Sorry to hear that things didn't go quite according to plan.

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26nikita
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PostSubject: Re: Backpacking with Dogs and a Canoe: Strawberry Wilderness, Oregon   Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:48 pm

Beautiful pics!
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Shorty4lyfe89
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PostSubject: Re: Backpacking with Dogs and a Canoe: Strawberry Wilderness, Oregon   Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:56 pm

Beautiful pictures, hopefully next time camping you will have better luck!
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SaraB
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PostSubject: Re: Backpacking with Dogs and a Canoe: Strawberry Wilderness, Oregon   Thu Jun 28, 2012 9:52 pm

Wow you took some amazing pictures though!

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harrise
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PostSubject: Re: Backpacking with Dogs and a Canoe: Strawberry Wilderness, Oregon   Fri Jun 29, 2012 8:44 am

Despite the turn of events, I'm still incredibly jealous. Eh, maybe not so much of hiking that canoe up there.
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rileyflorence
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PostSubject: Re: Backpacking with Dogs and a Canoe: Strawberry Wilderness, Oregon   Fri Jun 29, 2012 10:21 am

Bodhi looks ticked-off that you guys are leaving early in the bridge crossing photo. Sorry it was a bummer trip.
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ashleylou
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PostSubject: Re: Backpacking with Dogs and a Canoe: Strawberry Wilderness, Oregon   Sat Jul 07, 2012 1:47 pm

Those are some great pics. Sorry things didn't go according to plan. I sure wish there were places like that around me but in this heat I don't think my girl would last.
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jalepeno
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PostSubject: Re: Backpacking with Dogs and a Canoe: Strawberry Wilderness, Oregon   Sat Jul 07, 2012 2:02 pm

Wasn't a bummer trip- just an adventure.
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Hayden_69
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PostSubject: Re: Backpacking with Dogs and a Canoe: Strawberry Wilderness, Oregon   Sat Jul 07, 2012 3:11 pm

Those are beautiful pictures! I would love to find a place around my area to go camping/hiking!
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blueeyedghost
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PostSubject: Re: Backpacking with Dogs and a Canoe: Strawberry Wilderness, Oregon   Sat Jul 07, 2012 3:36 pm

@Hayden_69 wrote:
Those are beautiful pictures! I would love to find a place around my area to go camping/hiking!

Shenandoah. Seriously, we used to go down there a couple times a year when I was in college in Maryland. It's amazing, especially in the fall when the leaves are changing.

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