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The Tent Commandments

Here is a fun infographic covering the “tent commandments”.  Clever play on words, yes, but be sure to read through the list.  Some of them are fairly obvious however the most important besides “survive” and “not get lost” is “pitch before play”.  It is almost like an unwritten rule that the first thing to happen is to pitch the tent.  Enjoy!


White River Falls State Park Closed

Authorities announced that White River Falls State Park will be closed for two weeks during construction.  The closure is scheduled from Monday, August 6th through Sunday, August 19th.  The closure will allow for the repair of a hiking bridge that leads from the trail to the old Powerhouse at the bottom of the canyon right below the falls.

White River Falls is a popular summer destination for those traveling East of Mount Hood Looking for a spot to cool off during the hot summer months.

For more information on White River Falls checkout these sites:

Five Things to Do on Mount Hood this Summer

Mount Hood is best known globally as a climbers hot spot and a skiers dream come true.  It sits just a quick hour and change drive from Portland and serves as a playground to those outdoor enthusiasts living in the area.  What many people don’t know, however, is the vast amount of activities that can be found on the mountain during the summer.  If you are visiting Mount Hood this summer here are 5 things to do when you stop by.

Visit Timberline Lodge

Timberline Lodge is world famous perhaps mostly from the filming of Jack Nicholas’ 1970’s thriller The Shining.  It was built from 1936 to 1938 by the WPA during the Great Depression and in 1937 was dedicated by Franklin D Roosevelt. The lodge has stood as a symbol of Mount Hood over the years and now serves as a day use lodge for Timberline Ski Area and a starting point for the majority of climbers attempting to reach the summit of Mount Hood.  During your visit to the lodge you can check out the historic area which acts as a museum outlining the history of the lodge as well as Mount Hood.  Once you are done learning  you can enjoy a cold or warm beverage in the bar or sit down for a delicious meal at one of the restaurants.  If you are here on a weekend don’t be surprised if you run into a wedding  party as the lodge is a popular destination for those looking to get hitched.  Lastly, while you are up there, do not forget to sit back and take in the amazing views of Mount Hood and Mount Jefferson.  For more information, room reservations and accommodations visit Timberline Lodge’s website.

Summer Ski on one of America’s only year-round Ski Resorts

If you are heading up to Timberline Lodge this summer don’t forget to bring your skis!  That’s right, Timberline is one of the very few places in the continental US that you can ski or snowboard year round.  The Palmer snowfield offers year round skiing and is where many professional athletes spend their summer dialing in their skiing or snowboarding skills.  A large portion of the snowfield is privately reserved for summer campers and professional athletes however there is plenty of space for those who want to ride during the summer.  A ticket for the day will run you close to $60 which might be steep for just one chairlift, however, where else can you ski or snowboard during the summer?  If you do plan on riding Timberline, be sure to get up there early.  Due to the slushy summer conditions the lifts begin running at 7am and typically close at 1 or 2pm depending on how quickly it warms up.

Don’t Ski or Snowboard but want to go Up the Mountain?

You can ride the Magic Mile chairlift to the top of Palmer snowfield for just around $15 for one trip.  You don’t need skis or a snowboard – just hop on and let the chairlift do all the hard work.  If you thought the view from the lodge was nice wait til you get up to the 7,000 ft mark at the top of the Magic Mile. Don’t forget to dress warm if it is a cold day and bring your camera!

Go for a Hike

Mount Hood is home to some of the greatest outdoor adventures in all of Oregon.  Because of it’s proximity to the Portland metropolitan area there is no shortage of hiking trails, mountain biking or camping.  There are many easy day hikes you can access right from Government Camp and for those more adventurous you have plenty of longer hikes to choose from as well.  One of the more popular hikes in the area is to Mirror Lake, a short one and a half mile hikes with roughly a 800ft gain that drops you at the bottom of Tom, Dick and Harry Mountain.  The Lake was given its name because on a clear day it offers a beautiful reflection of Mount Hood in the water.  If time is limited, Mirror Lake is a popular choice as the experienced hiker can complete the round trip in about 2 hours.  For a longer hike consider climbing up Tom, Dick and Harry Mountain.  It offers incredible views of Mount Hood and is another popular hiking destination for visitors.  For more hikes around Mount Hood visit The Northwest Hikers interactive Mount Hood Page.

Visit Ski Bowl’s Adventure Center

For those looking for a little adventure on the mountain and want to take the kids somewhere family friendly, try out Ski Bowl’s summer adventure park.  Sure, Ski Bowl boasts that it is the largest night ski area in America during the winter, but in the summer the place transforms into a mountain fun park.  Some of the top attractions at the park include bungee jumping, zip lines, alpine slides and downhill or cross country mountain biking.  And if you don’t have a mountain bike, don’t worry – you can rent on at the resort.  If you are looking to have fun for the whole family while visiting Mount Hood, then Ski Bowl’s summer adventure park might just be it.

Swim in a Mountain Lake

On a hot day there is nothing like a quick dip in a mountain lake.  Mount Hood has not shortage of these lakes and while they can be very chilly at times, on a hot day they can also be just what the doctor ordered.  Trillium Lake is one of the more popular lake destinations on the mount and it is located just a few miles east of Government Camp.  You can drive to Trillium Lake and it offers a day use area near the dam which is great for lounging in the sun, fishing, swimming or letting the dogs run.  If you choose to visit this area be sure to pay the $5 day use fee as the area is heavily regulated due to its popularity.  Clear Lake Reservoir is another lake that is great for swimming and is located about 20 minutes from Government Camp off highway 26.  It also offers great views of Mount Hood and is slightly larger and allows motorized boats, unlike Trillium.  The shore of clear Lake is quite rocky and not exactly beach like but it is a great place for swimming or boating.  Lastly, there is Timothy Lake, which is located about 30 minutes from Government Camp and far off the beaten path.  For those looking to make the trek to Timothy lake for the day, you will find warm water and plenty of day use areas to choose from.  Motorized boats are allowed but there is a 5mph speed limit on the whole lake.  Timothy is probably the best choice when it comes to swimming as the water is almost always warm and many of the day use areas have great views of Mount Hood.


Blue Tarp Camper

Nothing Like camping in the great Northwest….

Caving in Central Oregon

entrance to a cave

Central Oregon is home to many geological and volcanic wonders but none are as interesting as the caves left behind from ancient lava flows thousands of years ago.  Access to a large cave system is located just a short drive outside of Bend and can provide a full days worth of fun and adventure.

The caves located off of Old China Hat Road are not for the un-adventurous.  When you arrive you will not find a ranger station or interpretive center.  Instead, you will most likely find yourself alone in the high desert with maybe one or two other cars parked at a trail head or cave entrance.  Due to vandalism over the years these caves have been unmarked and are difficult to find at times, however with enough looking you, too, can find these wonders.

Suggested Reading

central oregon caves bookWe recommend checking out the book Central Oregon caves before heading out to explore these caves for yourself. It is an excellent pamphlet style book published in 1987 before the government came in and started regulating the caves so it offers all sorts of detail that is very hard to find on the internet now-days.

Finding The Caves

The following caves are located near Bend in Central Oregon:

  • Boyd Cave
  • Arnold Ice Cave
  • Skeleton Cave (By Permit only)
  • Wind Cave (Permanently Closed)
  • South Ice Cave
  • Charcoal Cave
  • Hidden Forest Cave

Most of these caves are located off of China Hat Road just south of Bend.  To get there from Bend take Highway 97 South and exit at Knott Road (exit #143).  Upon exiting make a left, head east towards China Hat Road (also called Arnold Ice Cave Road or Highway 18). Coming from La Pine or Sunriver you will want to take  Highway 97 North and exit at Knott Road as well.

Boyd Cave

Drive on China Hat Road for about 15-20 minutes before you reach the first Cave, Boyd cave.  Boyd Cave is the most popular and easily accessible of the caves in the area however lack of signage makes it tricky to find. A quick tip: the turn off point for Boyd Cave is right before China Hat Road turns to gravel. You will take a left and drive down a beat up old dirt road for less than a quarter mile until you reach a turn around and small parking area.

Skeleton Cave

After Boyd Cave you can drive up China Hat Road a few mile further to Skeleton Cave.  When China Hat Road turns to dirt you will want to start looking for the Skeleton Cave turnoff on your left marked as Road 1819.  Due to vandalism, Skeleton Cave access is limited to those with a permit.  If you would like a permit you would need to apply directly with the Deschutes National Forest.  Alternatively you can book a guided tour through Wanderlust Tour Company in Bend.  You can drive up to the entrance of Skeleton cave which usually has a close gate.  Just park at the gate and hike into the cave.  One half of the cave is closed off but you can still explore the other side without a problem .

Wind Cave

Next comes Wind Cave.  Wind Cave is under a permanent closure due to the bats that live there.  You can go to the entrance but you will not be getting past the giant jail-like bars at the front of it.

inside a cave

Boyd Cave Crawl Space

Arnold Ice Cave

Arnold Ice Cave is the cave that the road is named after so you’d think that it would be easy to find however due to vandalism the government has removed the signs to this cave making it tough to locate.  The road to Arnold Ice cave is located just after the road to Wind Cave on the right hand side.  Look for Swamp Well Road just after Forest Road 1820.  The cave is a short distance off the main road and impossible to miss.  Arnold Ice Cave has a neat history and story to it so be sure to read more about it here.

What to Bring when Caving

If you plan on going into any of these caves you need to be sure to be properly equipped.  It is recommended to bring at least 3 sources of light and always go with a buddy.  Gloves are a good idea and extra layers of clothes can help you keep warm where the temperature sits at a steady 40 degrees.  It is also a good idea to tell someone where you are going and when they should expect you back in the event you don’t return.  These caves are rather remote and depending on when you visit them it could be days until someone finds your abandoned car.

Flashlights we Like

Some of our favorite flashlights are made by a company called Coast that is located in Portland, Oregon.  Coast makes high quality, incredibly bright and fortunately affordable flashlights, headlamps and lanterns.  Their lights typically boast a high lumen output and are super durable. 
One of our favorite handheld lights made by Coast is the Coast HP7.  The HP7 is a small and compact light with a huge output of 250 lumens.  It has two firing modes: the first being super bright and the second is slightly less bright.  If you find yourself heading into a cave in central Oregon we definitely recommend the HP7 as a reliable light source.

Headlamps are essential gear for caving and there are many option available to choose from. Headlamps are nice when caving because they keep your hands free for scrambling and make the overall experience much easier.   Coast also makes several headlamps and the options range in the level of Lumen output.  For a mid-level and affordable headlamp we recommend the Coast HL7.  The HL7 has a 196 Lumen output and similar to the HP7 has two different power settings for high light and low light.  It operates on 3 AAA batteries and is an ideal headlamp solution for the caving enthusiast.

More Reading

For more information on these caves check out the following resource and videos:

Arnold Ice Cave:

Mt. Hood Recreation Newsletter – June 2012

Below is a newsletter sent out by CLM Services (California Land Management Services):


A new season of camping has started. We had a great Memorial Day weekend; people were out enjoying themselves and enjoying the nice weather. All the campgrounds on the Clackamas River were open. Kayakers were out in the river, bicyclists were out riding and hikers were out enjoying the many trails Mt Hood National Forest has to offer! The snow is melting fast on the Hwy 26, Trillium Lake campground and Frog Lake campground will be open by June 8th, 2012.

Many of our camphosts from last season have returned, while some have moved on to other forests. Many of our hosts are locals of the Mt. Hood area. While some are full time RVer’s and home is wherever they park their rig.

All our camphosts go through background checks every year. They then go through training at the beginning of the season. This year we did our two day in class training at the Beat Western in Sandy. We had guest speakers from the forest service and speakers from our own company. Then the hosts get two days of training out in the campgrounds. We make sure everyone is ready to make your stay enjoyable.

This year we have expanded the merchandise in the Ripplebrook Store. We added picnic tables outside of the store for your enjoyment. What we are really excited about is the Wi-Fi now available from the Ripplebrook Store. Many of our campers have already taken advantage of it. Many people with smart phones have been able to download an app that lets them make phone calls. Others have used their smart phones to access the internet.

Over at the Clackamas Museum we have expanded on items for sale. We have walking sticks, camping equipment, food items ranging from a can of beans to marshmallows, chocolate and Graham Crackers. We also have bottle water and firewood, and what is a Museum without books and maps. Don’t worry; we still have a museum for you to see, with our knowledgeable staff that can help you with information on the area or the history of The Clackamas Historic Ranger Station.

Lost Creek Campground has two Yomes for rent. Yomes are similar to a Yurt but not quite the same. It’s kind of a combination Yurt and large tent, with two futon bunk beds in each one. Remember if you rent one bring your own bedding and no pets or smoking in side. Plans are to put three Yomes up in Trillium this summer.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon

The book, 100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon & Southwest Washington, 3rd Edition, is an excellent guide for those who are looking to find hike in the area. This is an essential book to have with you when you are camping or exploring Oregon has it has hikes for the entire northwest area of the state. As the title states, this book will guide you on 100 different hikes ranging from easy to very difficult.100-hikes-in-northwest-oregon

The book does a good job of splitting up the area geographically into the following: Portland, Southwest Washington, Columbia Gorge, Mount Hood – West, Mount Hood – East and the Clackamas Foothills. Each hike is given a rating of easy, moderate or hard and quickly lets you know if it is good for kids, open year round and backpacking friendly. In addition, there is a nice map in the front of the book to provide a quick glance of hikes that may be nearby.

Many of the hikes in this book are on trails that have multiple approaches and the book nicely outlines the different ways you could do the same hike. For example, an easy hike will be explained and then on the same trail a longer more difficult loop may be possible as well. The author provides great detail in how to locate the trail-heads and offers tips on scenic features to look out for.

Overall this is an excellent guide book for hikes in Oregon and should be a part of every northwest outdoor enthusiast’s library.

5 Things to Do at Olallie Lake

Olallie Lake in Oregon

Olallie Lake in OregonOlallie Lake is a popular destination for many outdoor enthusiasts and it is a place with a multitude of things to do.  Here is a short list of 5 things you can do while visiting Olallie Lake.

1) Boating.  Whether you are new to boating or are an experienced veteran, Olallie Lake is a great place get out on the water and enjoy the amazing scenery.  No motor boats are allowed on Olallie Lake and you will mostly find paddlers including kayaks, canoes, paddle boats and row boats.  If you do not have  a boat they can be rented at the lake store starting at $8 an hour and up to $30 for the day.  Weekly rates are also available if you want to stay awhile.  For current rates visit the Olallie Lake Resort boat rental page.

2) Camping. Olallie Lake is a very popular camping destination and campgrounds on the lake tend to fill up fast during the peak summer months.  The most popular as well as scenic campground is Peninsula Campground which is home to 35 campsites, many of which have lake shore views.  Camp Ten is another campground on Olallie Lake and it has 10 Campsites.  Paul Dennis Campground is another option with 17 sites available.  None of the campgrounds at Olallie Lake have drinking water so it is recommended you bring your own.  If you find that all the sites are full there is plenty of make-shift off road camping available in the area.

3) Fishing.  Olallie Lake is a very popular fishing destination and you can often find the shores lined the anglers galore.  The lake is stocked and with the availability of boat rentals it really increases the popularity.  Bait is for sale at the Lake Store and don’t forget to come with License.

4) Hiking. Olallie Lake sits at the foot of Mt. Jefferson and is towered over by Olallie Butte.  The Pacific Crest Trail makes a pit stop near the Lake Store which makes it easy for hikers to jump on the trail for a nice day excursion.  Hiking in the area ranges from moderate to difficult but there are so many views to take in it makes even the strenuous hikes worth it.  Hiking up Olallie Butte is discouraged as it is on Warm Spring Indian Reservation however it is not illegal.  For details on how to access the trail up Olallie Butte check this Olallie Butte Trail Page.  For a great writeup on a 6 mile hike up the Pacific Crest Trail check out the Double Peaks hike writeup.

5)  Swimming.  Swimming in Olallie Lake is not allowed as they claim it is a drinking source for the Cabins and Camp Store.  This is not much of a deterrent for campers as the campgrounds do not provide drinking water.  Like so many rules, this one does not make much sense to us but we are forced to follow it.  An alternative to Olallie Lake is the nearby Monon Lake just a 2 minute drive or 10 minute hike from Peninsula Campground.  It is a great spot for a quick swim and while the water is chili it is not unbearable – though this may depend on the time of year you are there.  There is also a swimming hole at Head Lake within walking distance west of the Lake Store