Thursday, May 26, 2011

Badger Creek Camp - March 2011

Badger Creek Wilderness is located on the eastern flanks of Mt. Hood, ending just before the sagebrush desert begins.  The area is unique due to this strange mingling of zones, part desert, part fir and pine forest.  The result is an odd hybrid, containing a mix of both, as well as strange stunted scrub oak forests, miniature trees small even at maturity.  Sometimes even the sagebrush creeps in, nestled under the pines.

Since 2006 I have guided a dedicated group of Volkswagen Bus owners (and lovers of the outdoors) to various special places around Northwest Oregon, usually in or abutting a wilderness area.  
These camps have been attended by a loose group of friends who just happen to own VW buses and are crazy enough to take them almost anywhere, year round.  What could be better than a little adventure in the great outdoors, exploring forgotten history, or maybe just some peace and quiet?

For the most part, our trips are planned on our community Volkswagen forum,  We meet up at a predetermined date and place deep in the woods, a unique situation in today's wired world.  These camps have been my inspiration to start Green Cascadia.

The timing of our backcountry camps has to coincide with the seasons.  The higher elevation places simply aren't accessible without snowshoes or dog teams for a lot of the year, so I have learned to locate a place for all seasons.  Somehow, we manage to find a different Badger Creek camp each year, each with it's own unique opportunities for getting to know the land.

My good friend Mark, owner of the Oasis Resort in Maupin (and mighty fine fly fishing guide) usually hosts our Badger Creek campouts.  In fact, every Father's Day Weekend, Mark hosts the legendary Deschutes River RendezVW, dedicated to VW bus owners and their families.   Look no further for memorable guided fishing trips on the famous Deschutes River!

As spring slowly creeps across the Cascades, the March Badger Creek camps are usually the first time after a long winter to get out into the backcountry and stretch your legs.  It's always a relief to know that summer won't be far away.

John enjoying 12 seconds of sunshine, deep in contemplation, wondering about "that big ball in the sky"


Jasan under tall ponderosa pines

Badger Creek, close to the confluence with Little Badger.  It's very remote down in that canyon bottom and sure to be full of trout.

Oaks and firs thick with lichens, Christmas Tree understudy

Rain, inevitable even on the "dry side" of Mt. Hood

Washing in in waves
Rising from canyon bottoms

Music has always been a big part of ourtcampouts.  There is just something about that acoustic sound resonating deep within a forest that can't be compared.  We often play long into the night, weather and sobriety permitting.    
John shows off his fancy new bass

Mark can't help but do the "Happy Badger Jig"

Food has also been a featured item during our camps.  With a bunch of talented cooks, there's always a treat waiting.  You never know what to expect!  I have learned a lot of secrets from these wizened backcountry chefs.

New dutch oven getting seasoned over the fire

Its first stew in the works

A delicious Hobo Steamer (meat and/or veggies, seasoned and wrapped in foil, then cooked over coals)

Then it's time for more exploring.

Tetley the "Wonder Tomato" dog

It is always great to spend time under the stars (or clouds as is often the case!) with friends, old and new, creating special moments that will never be forgotten.  Lucky me, I get to see these big lugs every couple of months, as they humor me with my endless babble.

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