The Beauty in Nature – Ashland, Oregon is definitely on the verge of Spring. I can feel it in my bones. The cold winter days are much milder, the temperature in the house without heating varies between 61F and 64F at six in the morning. So there it sits – Spring – waiting to thrust itself upon us, almost like an overripe strawberry – filled with sweetness and bursting with juice. Each day when I venture out into the garden, I see the bulbs that I planted last year in November peeking up slightly through the darkness of the soil. Their older probably more wiser siblings are staying hidden to make sure that they don’t get damaged by a last Winter freeze, of that I am sure. I remember cussing during those early winter days ,as I dug among the dark soil to plant those 50 odd bulbs. Not knowing where the resident ones of many years were hiding, just guessing and then the neighbors ogling me and wondering why it was I and not my husband who was on hands and knees. So, it would appear that I have spent the last few months wondering and waiting to see if my hard work will have paid off. I have a spring love affair going on with the nursery – I walk on down to the Grange Co-Op often just to see what summer seedlings are arriving on a daily basis. I have seen all sorts including budding fruit trees, blackberry cuttings, strawberry runners and veggie seedlings. I itch to buy and plant. This week I invested in fresh herbs such as Thyme, Lemon and Italian, Marjoram, Mint, Oregano, Curly parsley, Flat Leaf Parsley. I love to cook with fresh herbs! So right now I have to find a planting area and figure out how to keep the deer away. Once again I have purchased yet another “closed” bird feeder. This is in the hopes of keeping the deer from eating the bird seed. Then to my dismay one morning this week, I happened to discover a mass of bird feathers along the pathway. So now not only do I have the pleasure of pesky deer, but the unfortunate pleasure of visiting, hunting, creeping well-fed neighboring cats to contend with.
With continuing reference to “Beauty in Nature” I have my son Matthew and his partner Sara visiting from Zimbabwe. Of course a visit to Ashland would not be complete without a visit to the beautiful majestic Crater Lake. Abigail’s is on a fairly direct route to Crater Lake an easy scenic 2 hour drive along Hwy 5 to Exit 30 and then on to Crater lake Hwy 62. After an Abigail’s breakfast you can be on the road by 10 o’clock. Your first stop is 67.5 miles and 1 1/2 hours drive from Ashland which brings you to the Natural Bridge. A paved trail follows the Rogue River to where the river disappears into the rocks and flows underground through a lava tube, shooting back out further down the river. All in all a 30 minute stop… Next back on the road for another half a mile and you will come upon the Union Creek Resort – built in 1922 it boasts 23 unique cabins with modern conveniences, a Lodge with 9 rooms and the famous Beckie’s Cafe, Beckie’s Chuck Wagon an Ice Cream Shop, a well-equipped Country Store and Gift shop. A must for all would-be pie lovers, Beckie’s boasts daily freshly baked pies such as :- Very Berry, Cherry, Pecan, and many, many more including the famous Huckleberry Pie. Their breakfast/brunch menu is varied and I have to say from experience their food and service is excellent. I suggest a visit on the way back from Crater Lake if not before.
Just a few short yards further up from Union Creek Resort is the entrance to the Rogue Gorge overview. This is definitely worth the short walk – approximately a meandering hour – and an easy one at that. Just take the time to feel a magical moment – see the moss laden rocks, the towering trees, listen to the rushing waters flow through ancient lava tubes. A world of Faeries and Elves…imagine!
Once again on the road, continue along Hwy 62, another 23 miles and you will arrive at the entrance to the Crater Lake National Park. Follow the winding road up to the Information Center and take the time to watch the 22 minute informational film on Crater Lake. It gives you great insight into the formation of the Crater itself, the history of the people and the animals that inhabited the area at the time. The destruction of the land and the miracle of time and nature. First The Beast and then the coming of The Beauty…
I have been fortunate enough to visit during both seasons, the Winter and then the Summer – such contrasts! Both awe-inspiring moments – Winter brings a beautiful quietness to the Lake with magnificent reflections in the mirrored blue waters. Summer brings the sound of birds and the bustling of life around the rim of the Crater. This Lake is the deepest lake in the United States and is considered to be “the cleanest and clearest large body of water in the world”. If you happen to visit in the summer months, take the 33 mile Trolley ride around the rim of the park and let the Ranger tell you of the cultural traditions of the local American Indian tribes. Tribes whose ancestors witnessed the lake’s formation and listen to the beautiful mystical, magical tale of love, tragedy and life itself.
I always leave Crater Lake with a sense of peace and wonder at what an amazing country America is. With such diversity amongst both its people and its land how can anyone not want to travel this beautiful land. So it is with a quiet thankfulness that I am here, living in a part of this beautiful country in the State of Oregon, that I head back to my Abigail’s. Through forests of towering trees, following the meandering, winding sage green Rogue River and passing through meadows filled with lush green grass on my way back to the bustling life of Ashland.