Waldo Lake Paddle Trip - Day 2

September 19, 2014

 

Today the weather was much nicer. There was no wind, and the lake was like glass.

 

My campsite is directly across from two small islands, the smallest one has a Zen rock garden on it.

 

After a hardy breakfast of waffles, scrambled eggs, and bacon, then cleaning up the morning's dishes, I headed down to get some paddling in.

 

First on the agenda was snapping some photos of a glorious early morning on the lake. A mist hung over much the lake still in the shade.

 

I set out heading north along the east bank of the lake. I was in no rush to get anywhere, especially since I was videotaping much of my paddle, which I hope to have on YouTube in the next couple of weeks. I wanted to explore every little cove I came to.

 

Waldo Lake is the second largest lake in Oregon at just a little over 10 square miles and 5.67 miles from the south shore to the north shore. At its widest point, the lake is approximately 5.7 miles. Its average depth is 128 feet, and the water is so clear you can see down roughly 100 feet. Once you get away from the shore, the water turns a magnificent indigo blue. Like Crater Lake, Waldo Lake is ultra oligotrophic, so there are not many fish in the lake because it is devoid of much of the nutrients insects and other food sources that trout feed on need to survive.

 

I eventually rounded a point and had a clear view of South Sister, North Sister, Broken Top,  and the Waldo Burn that happened in 1996. I turned and headed west, then journeyed south along the west bank.

 

I came to a historical site in Klovdahl Bay, the remnants of early construction on an irrigation project called the Klovdahl Tunnel. The headgate is all that is visible; a concrete plug was poured to stop the tunnel from leaking. Had the tunnel been completed, it would have dropped the water level in the lake 25 feet and taken 10 years for the lake to refill to its current level. The tunnel would have been a disaster. It was also here that I encountered a paddleboarder who had paddled across the lake from the Shadow Bay Campground.

 

At a sandy beach, I stopped briefly so my dog and I could get out and stretch our legs. We couldn't stay long because the wind started to pick up. I wondered if the paddleboarder made it back to the campground without slipping off her board into the chilly water.

 

The wind can come up almost in the blink of an eye and turn the water choppy. Fortunately the waves weren't too bad as I paddled back across the lake to my campsite.

 

A short while later the winds subsided, and I was back in my canoe heading south to an island just off the south bank. Waldo Lake has several small islands.

 

One other thing that struck me about Waldo Lake was how similar it is to the lakes in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in northern Minnesota. The shore is really rocky, and many of the rocks on the eastern shore of the lake extend quite a ways from the shore. I had to be careful not to hit one of them, especially when the water got choppy and masked their locations. The eastern shore in the southern half of Waldo Lake is also shallower, which accounts for the rocks extending so far from shore.

 

Approaching the island, I bumped into my campsite neighbors, and we chatted for awhile until they had to head back to camp. I headed over to the island and spent a few minutes photographing some other paddlers. It was then that the winds picked up again, making the journey back to the campsite rough. Odd how one minute the water can be like glass, then the next minute it can have whitecaps on it.

 

Back at the campground, I hooked up with fellow paddlers from Kayak Portland who had shown up a short time earlier. We spent some time visiting until the winds died down again. At which point it was time to hop back in the canoe and paddle north again.

 

I journeyed a short distance up into north Waldo Lake before turning around and heading for camp.

 

I wanted to try and photograph the beach with all the canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards I had seen last night. Unfortunately, most of the boats were gone, their owners having packed up earlier in the day and headed home. I had to settle for shots of my lone canoe on the beach.

 

Dinner tonight was hamburgers and beans; maybe not quite as delectable as my dinner last night, but nonetheless filling and tasty.

 

After cleaning the dishes, I walked down to where the others from Kayak Portland had gathered for a campfire. We sat around the fire talking about paddling trips here and in other locations, and we spent some time getting to know one another since this was the first time many of us had ever met.

 

I plan on leading them to some of the spots tomorrow I had visited today, so we planned for an early start.

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