The Deschutes River runs into the Columbia. The mighty Columbia river. The Columbia river gorge is impressive; enormous desert hills covered with sage. Land of coyote and rattlesnake. Salmon runs that have been disrupted by dams. Irrigation makes fruit orchards and grape growing possible. Blasting sun, intense heat. A desert, a high desert stripped down, few trees and turkey vultures in the sky.
We camped on the Deschutes, along the bank. There is grass because they water it. It's a favorite angling spot so there are fisher(men, women) standing in their waders near the shore. The river is icy cold but when you are in 100 degree heat, it feels great.
We didn't count on the wind. It's a gorge, right? Well, the wind was 40 miles an hour. I'm not kidding. Trying to put up tents was remarkably hard. We borrowed a hammer so we could drive stakes all the way down into the sandy soil. During the night the tents ballooned and thwaped like hot air balloons, straining at their ropes. Very restful. Everything was covered with a fine coating of dust and sand. Because of the wind there were no bugs, well no bugs that bit us. There were thousands of flies that attracted the bats in the evening over the water. Our evening ritual was to pull up chairs and watch the bats feed in the twilight.
The river had a current so we had to be mindful that we not be swept out to the Columbia where, I'm pretty sure, we'd never be seen again. It was very shallow so swimming, floating along, we'd bump our butts or bellies on the slippery rocks. Lake Washington temperature feels like a warm bath now. The kids lived all day in the water.
Oh, and there were trains. Roaring across the bridge downwind from us and blasting their horn. Huxley reminded us every time that there was a train coming. He's three. Trains came day and night. All night.
We had fun anyway. Every year we think about where we'll go next in our quest for the perfect campground. Some years it's too rainy or cold. Some years it's too, well everything, like this year. It was us in the campground with a lot of retirees and their many dogs, large and small and their massive RVs with AC and antennas for their flat screens.
S'mores are still disgusting. And to think I used to think they were delicious.
On the last night, I woke to the sounds of coyotes singing. That was worth it.
PS. I broke open Ms Moon's pickled okra and we all devoured it. Heaven.