Our adventure-seeking friends from The Longest Hello, Nick and Laura Ocean, recently returned home from months on the road. Even though their adventures have become more local, they are still finding amazing places to connect with like the one they documented in their July journal.
After 13,000 miles on the road exploring everything west of the Rockies, camping deep in forest land, driving down dirt tracks and days spent hiking miles and miles, we finally found ourselves settling in Oregon because of the gorgeous landscape and endless opportunities for adventure.
With hundreds of lakefronts, riversides and waterfalls to check out in this state, we’re set on finding our favorite summertime spots. We’d heard rumors of a lesser-known pair of lakes that are beyond a few of the popular camping and fishing stops, deep in 4-wheel territory, where the road only opens up the first week of July.
We collected the directions here and there, researching hidden blog posts and a random video clip of the expected road conditions, hoping that the hodgepodge instructions would be close enough to get us to our destination. Just a few weeks ago this road was still covered in snowpack, so the deep ruts left by workers clearing the downed trees gave us a fun ride and a little challenge.
Straddling deep holes in the path and edging around the larger boulders, our dog Dani in the back seat seemed to enjoy it as much as we did. Between the estimated mileage and a mostly correct odometer, we were wondering if we’d ever find this place. After a couple more big dips, and a few doubts that we’d collected the right information, we rounded a curve and spotted a lake directly in front of us.
The second we opened the door, we were welcomed by the early summer plague of the Northwest: mosquitoes! They were out in force this weekend but we were willing to bear them. We explored to the edges of both lakes, cast a few lines from the canoe and, with the help of an extra smoky fire to keep the bugs at bay, we enjoyed burgers and brew as the sun went down on the other side of the lake.
Getting the opportunity to enjoy these places that are off the beaten path is always a good reminder that we need to take care of them. It takes more effort and planning to find a place like this, and once you are there, it’s important to respect it by being careful of what you leave behind, or better yet, not leaving anything behind. Things like: driving carefully down these back roads and staying on the track rather than forcing our way around a sticky spot and into the brush, packing out any trash we find while we’re out, filling reusable containers rather than using paper or plastic. There are dozens of simple practices that add up to help us leave no trace.
After our time experiencing how vastly diverse and beautiful our Country is, our respect for these wild spaces has grown even deeper. We want them to be healthy for generations, so they can invite others to care for and preserve them.
We got home from this trip in time to sit with our neighbors while we watched the local fireworks display, finding ourselves thankful to be exactly where we are.
Nick and Laura Ocean are a couple of artist-adventure seekers driving their truck and pop-up camper off the beaten path, down those forest service roads that lead into the woods, up the mountains and next to rivers. You can read their blog, The Longest Hello, here.