Monday, September 3, 2007

Murphy Flowage



Labor Day Weekend and we had nothing planned. The area was quiet due to the river's 30 ft. drawdown this summer. So we went for a drive. Usually we are heading north, but today we decided to head west, then north, with a slight detour around Weyerhauser because of some street fair near the high school. I know these are mundane details, but it is these very same details that always lead to adventure. Turning north on County Rd. F, we had planned to follow the signs to the Murphy Flowage. Unfortunately a detour was not marked. The few streets that make up this tiny little town quickly narrowed by all the parked cars of the fair-goers. It is a moment where I turn to the Big D and tell him to take the right, any right turn just to get out of the traffic. Traffic in a small town can sure be slowed down by all the old folks that come out.

Time to pull out the detailed map. And before I knew it, we found ourselves on one of those remote dirt roads leading deeper into the woods. In fact, we found a series of forest roads that lead to a number of "remote campsites." These seemed to be out in the middle of nowhere, nestled against a small lake where only non-motorized boats could go. All the trailers in the parking areas were for ATVs.

Our first stop: Murphy Flowage boat launch and camp ground. We stopped to make sandwiches under some tall tall red pine trees. These pines were so tall that I had to split the picture in two in order to get a sense of their dizzying heights.






There were only nine campsites at this lake. Two were on a bank above the lake. We found a little spot on this hill for lunch. This is the kind of campground that doesn't fill for Labor Day weekend. Not even this year when the weather was warmer than most previous years. Just to the left of the front end of the Jeep is a trail that leads to the water.

I love finding little places to spontaneously sit down (or stand at the back of the Jeep) for lunch. Today's lunch consisted of salami sandwiches, home-made pickles (cucumbers from my CSA, Harmony Valley Farms), chips, and juicy organic red plums. Ohh yummy yummy! These lunches tastes especially good when eaten under the swaying needles of these very tall pine trees. One has to wonder, did these pines survive the clearcut that dominates the history of the woods throughout most of the US? Or were these newly planted after the clearcut. They were tall and seemed to have stood witness to the destruction.

It turned out to be great day. We even found a short cut to our land on our way home. The roads had the feel of back country. They were not well groomed which lends well to the sense of adventure. We saw many deer, but no bear. Likely because the Jeep tires could be heard miles away. I'm sure the bears stayed clear. Who wouldn't when the stillness of the forest is interrupted by the sound of a six cylinder engine roaring? Perhaps better than the ATVs ripping through the woodland trails? Maybe not. Damn, I wish we could try them out. You know, the ATV trails, each leading down its own path. Damn. I am itching to go.

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