This years Speleo-ed was held in Bend Oregon. A bit of a drive in my Baja Bug, so I allowed extra time for the trip up. Arriving at a rest stop near the north end of lake Shasta I was surprised to see a familiar face, three in fact. Mark, Kadean and Eric were driving up early to Speleo-ed as well. They decided to change their plans to stay near Bend and instead camp out at the state park north of Klamath falls that I had picked out as a good stop for the night. with all of us sharing a camp site this turned out to be a very good deal. They even had hot showers, though there wasn’t a lot of water pressure. We enjoyed a great sunset at a river that flowed past the campground. I heard several loud splashes from beavers jumping in but none stuck around to be photographed.
That night it got really cold. I had packed an extra sleeping bag in anticipation of the forecasted 31 degrees but this was a fair bit colder than that. The next morning there was ice on the freeze proof water spigot! A volunteer at the logging museum informed us it had gotten down to around 20 the previous night. Now I remember why I usually head south for vacations. A couple of chipmunks came and checked out our campsite as I enjoyed my morning coffee.
We had a great time visiting the outdoor displays at the logging museum as the sun was out and the day was warming up rapidly. We even saw an Osprey nesting in a tall tree nearby.
Next we backtracked a few miles to head up to Crater lake. I had heard they had cleared enough snow to get to the overlook and wanted to take a few pictures of this scenic lake. As it turned out I was very lucky because we arrived when the lake was completely smooth and it’s mirror like surface made for some very nice pictures. I had a great time and even remembered to remove the uv filter from my lens in order to take several shots that I could stitch together later into a nice panorama.
From there we headed back down to Jo’s motel for lunch and then it was on to Bend for Speleo-Ed. I arrived just in time for dinner at the Sundance ranch. After dinner we had a great presentation on what the cavers in Oregon had been up to including a video of a cave under a glacier. It looked like a great adventure but when the camera started freezing over it sure looked cold!
The next day we had some great presentations, including Pikas- cute little things, and more info on lava then I could have imagined. Then we got to the good part, photography! Brent did a great job showing us some interesting lighting that made for wonderful pictures. He showed me how to take advantage of the zoom function in live view which was something I hadn’t played with much. I’m going to have to play with it some more though as I found my external flashes wouldn’t trigger with live view turned on. I found this out when we headed over to skeleton cave to try out the techniques we were learning. Marianne and I commented that the large lava tube didn’t feel like we were caving as we didn’t have to squeeze to get anywhere and for the most part it was just walking in a huge passage with nice flat floors. We found a nice curve in the passage where we got to take a few pictures so I had a great time.
That night we had a wonderful dinner put on by the Western Cave Conservancy, the business meeting went on too long as usual, which meant the auction went late but finally we got to the now traditional schnapps and liquor tasting. Shortly afterwards I headed for bed as I knew I was getting up early for a long drive the next day. I was heading to meetup with parents, my Brother and his family in order to observe the eclipse. Our original plan was to meetup at the visitor center in Lassen but that was such a popular spot they weren’t letting people in. We did find a wonderful little meadow with a store and great view of the eclipse. Only problem was there were about a million mosquitoes waiting for us. We survived the onslaught and thanks to the generosity of our fellow eclipse watchers(one loaned me a welding glass and another a piece of mylar) I was able to get several pictures of the event.
We then had a good family visit.
The next day after dinner at the Cotton Candy diner in Chester my parents followed me over to I5 and we headed south. We made one more stop at Granzellas before I was on my way home. It was a lot of driving but well worth it and the bug did just fine. Another great adventure.