Why hello there, you. Sorry I’ve been m.i.a. (missing in America, in this case) for the past couple of weeks. You see, first I went camping up in Oregon, as I mentioned here. I came home, worked for a day and a half, and then I took off for a week in the Windy City. Then I came home, and was all sorts of backed up at work after being gone for a week, which prevented me from writing about my amazing camping trip. I know you’re dying to hear all about it. So guess what? Today’s your lucky day.
For as long as I can remember, my family and Emily’s family (and an additional family friend or five) have been camping buddies. We used to go every summer, but as we all got a bit older, the moms started protesting the lack of comfort and trying to actually coordinate a trip was becoming difficult due to my college schedule and Emily’s. Eventually the trips stopped altogether.
When we’d get together for dinner or drinks, the dads and girls would reminisce about the awesome campgrounds or ones that were awful but still had some hilarious story associated, about the wonderful meals and painful jokes, and, of course, the hilarity that ensues whenever Em’s dad, Dave, and my dad, also Dave, get together for any amount of time. Of course, we’d also relive our age-old inside joke of “en fuego”.
It all began a few months ago, where we were once again discussing the idea of a trip. However this time, we actually threw dates out there. They were finally far enough in advance to where the trip would work with both Emily’s schedule and mine. Our plan was to have Em drive down from Portland and the two Daves and I would drive up from the Bay Area, so we needed to find a place somewhere in the middle. A plan was coming together. The planets were aligning!
Originally, we were going to Jedidiah Smith State Park right outside of Crescent City, CA. It was about the halfway point from Napa and Portland. The week before our scheduled trip, the weather report said it would be a high of 64 degrees during our stay. Who wants to be cold when they’re playing in the great outdoors? So Em’s dad researched another midway point with an acceptable campground and stumbled upon Joseph H. Stewart State Recreation Area, a short drive outside of Medford, OR and 40 miles away from Crater Lake.
We were so happy we switched campgrounds! The weather was perfect all weekend. The campground sat right on Lost Creek Reservoir and was absolutely gorgeous. Our site had giant trees and backed up against a meadow with access to a running trail, which Emily and I made use of. Em and I even saw a deer in the meadow!
We had a small and slightly outdated fire ring (we couldn’t lift up the grill portion, as it was soldered to the ring), but we still managed to make good use of it. We made sure to get in many “en fuego” references while seated around the campfire each morning and evening. Note: I’d bring some decent wood for burning, as the kind that is conveniently for sale burns hot and fast. Each site had its own water spigot, which proved to be very handy when preparing a meal. One huge perk of the campground: free hot water showers. Yes, you read that correctly. No quarters necessary. Plus, all the hot water you could want.
On our second day of the trip, we decided to go rafting down the Rogue River. Oh man was it a blast! We used the services of Rapid Pleasure Rafting Co. and they saw to it that we had a memorable experience. While the rapids were only Class 1 and 2, it was a little nerve-wracking for four people who had never really rafted before (I definitely don’t count my summers in Chico spent floating down the Sacramento River as any real river rafting experience.), and we may or may not have been spinning in circles for half of the trip. It was about a three-hour float with a country store conveniently located around the halfway point. The store sold barbecued hot dogs and hamburgers, in addition to typical convenience store selections (boxed wine, ice cream, chips, etc.), and quite a few shaded picnic tables for consuming our goodies. Note: be sure to ask the shuttle driver where you’re supposed to get off the river at, otherwise you could miss the stop!
Sadly, my dad and I left the next afternoon. It was a six-hour drive home and I had laundry to wash. Not to mention the campfire smell I needed to get out of my hair before work the following day. This was honestly one of the nicest campgrounds we’d ever stayed at. It was nice to spend a few days together, just fathers and daughters. We told stories, made meals together, and made new memories together. I can see us visiting this campground again in the near future, even though Emily graduated college and will be moving home from Portland this weekend.
Here’s to Joseph H. Stewart State Recreation Area for giving us a camping trip like those we had in years past. Here’s to en fuego continuing to live on.