Rhodes Trip: Waldo Lake Weekend

A few years ago Dean and I headed down to Waldo Lake after the official reservation window had closed and all sites become first come first served. It was great because the campground wasn’t crowded at all and we had our pick of sites to choose from.

As we approached the middle of September I was itching for one more good weekend of #vanlife with Mia and hopefully some friends. Unfortunately everyone I asked was already booked up with other plans for the weekend that finally worked out. (or maybe they just don’t like us that much?) Either way Mia and I took off a little early from work last Friday for what looked to be an absolutely stellar fall weekend in the cascades.

North Waldo Lake CG is insanely popular and I lucked into a spot earlier this summer for a solo weekend. This campground was also our destination for the weekend and I was confident that we’d get an appropriate and decent site. Mia was a little less sure but she has heard from me numerous times in our long relationship my famous saying of “….just trust me”

Waldo lake October
Site 5 at North Waldo Lake CG

When I was last down at North Waldo I walked around and made a list of all the sites that were Clifford appropriate. I jotted down some notes and tried to indicate which were the best options. The couple that were ideal and close to the water were taken but site five was still vacant. This one appeals to me because it has a long, relatively level, parking pad and offers good setback from the road. By the way none of the campsites are horrible by any means but some of them are definitely better than others.

Waldo lake October
We could have fit another whole Clifford in here

North Waldo CG sits at about 5,500′ in elevation. I was expecting temps to be much cooler than down low but everything turned out really nice. Along with pleasant temps was the almost total lack of wind which is a rare thing back in the western Willamette Valley where we live.

Codi enjoyed some stick chasing/swimming
October Waldo Lake Trip
He also enjoyed some #vanlife loafing

I didn’t bring any bikes on this trip. I’m somewhat trying to take a little mental break from the bike(s) while doing some other enjoyable things.

Our Saturday hike

We opted for the super simple and not-so-epic hike out to Bobby Lake just down the road from Shadow Bay CG.

The normal hiking crew and formation
Waldo lake October
More swimming too
Waldo lake October
There was even some snow up in the high places
So much more to explore out this way

After the hike we headed back to the campsite and lounged around. I may have had a power nap while attempting to read my book………

Sunday morning came around and felt much cooler than the previous day. I took Codi for his morning walk and was wishing I had brought some light gloves. I’d wager it was mid 30’s while we were out and about. I do have to give huge props to a recent clothing acquisition though. The Mountain Hardware StretchDown 700 pants I picked up at the Columbia store in Beaverton proved a highly worthwhile investment.

October Waldo Lake Trip
So worth what I paid for them

Now if you clicked through that link above and were a bit aghast at the price of these pants, don’t worry, so was I. The not so little secret is that I occasionally get employee store passes through my work for the Columbia employee store where most items are around 40-50% off retail. So yeah, still pricey given what I paid for them but not nearly as bad as full retail.

Finally on the way home we made a quick stop at Salt Creek Falls just off highway 58. This waterfall is the second tallest in Oregon and well worth the approximately 1/2 mile hike from the parking lot to see.

October Waldo Lake Trip
Salt Creek Falls
October Waldo Lake Trip
The exploration/adventure team

Thanks for reading,


One Comment Add yours

  1. adventurepdx says:

    ” This campground was also our destination for the weekend and I was confident that we’d get an appropriate and decent site. Mia was a little less sure but she has heard from me numerous times in our long relationship my famous saying of “….just trust me” ”

    Oh, I know that feeling!

    Four years ago I was supposed to go on a group bike tour in Eastern Oregon (around Baker) during my August birthday weekend. A few weeks before the trip the organizer decided to cancel the trip because he realized it might be “hot” out there (gee, really?) So I had a window of time off from work blocked off and I didn’t want to squander the opportunity. And I wanted to go camping with Emee (who I just started going out with) but she hadn’t done any touring yet, so we decided it’d be a car camping thing.

    As you probably know trying to book things only a couple weeks in advance for a campsite on an August weekend is pretty much impossible. So I decided to chance it: Rainbow Falls is a state park on Route 6 in Washington between Chehalis and Raymond. I had been there before on a bike tour, and knew that it was “first come, first serve”. And since it was basically in the middle of nowhere, I figured we had a chance, even on a Friday night in August. Sure enough, we snagged a spot!

    But there was a bit of “trust me” on the whole act. And you don’t want to be proven wrong when you’re just starting a relationship. But it all worked out!

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