Life at the lodge starts early. I’m not always the first one up and I’m getting up anywhere between 4-6am. As soon as I wake, I start the coffee station. This family drinks a lot of coffee. The mornings are some of my favorite times as people get up and reminisce about the past and plan for the day’s activities. There is something so comforting knowing that I come from a bigger, louder family. My life and history are intertwined in these people I’ve know for over a half century and yet have spent less than five weeks over the decades in their actual physical presence. Still, there is a depth of familiarity and understanding. I love being a member of this tribe.
On Wednesday, we split again into the crew going caving and the ones going on a jetboat excursion. I opted for the boat. I love being on the water.
Since the boat trip was in the afternoon, Jenny, Matthew, Grace and I hiked the grounds of Cascade Ranch. Our lodge is one of two. There is also a campsite where half-a-dozen trailers are located. The grounds are extensive with a lake and llama farm. Oregon is in the middle of drought and that was very apparent with the lonely diving board off the pavilion. The lake is more of a puddle on a sunbaked landscape. I try to do my walking before noon because it gets hot here.
And for a hot Wednesday afternoon, the perfect refreshment was a speedboat ride on the Rogue River. We knew in advance that we would get wet and that worked out for the best. The expedition was part educational, part adventure and part stand-up schtick. Our guide gave us the local lore about flooding and the residents along the riverbanks, both the bears and the Dutch Bros coffee owners. He told us about movies that had filmed in Hell Gate Canyon (“Rooster Cogburn” and “The River Wild”). It was fascinating and fun. He would take the boat up to 45mph. And the wind would be blowing fiercely. Then, he’d slam on the brakes or spin into a turn and we’d get wet. We laughed a lot! And my hair has never looked worse.
We stopped on our way back to the lodge for me to get some more local brew. This time I chose Rogue Roasters to serve up at my station in the a.m. We met up with the rest of the folks for dinner and to swap stories. What’s better than hanging out with family?