This past Sunday, I was finally able to check “canoe around Clear Lake” off my bucket list. The headwaters of the McKenzie is known for crystal clear waters with views of the bottom of the lake in many places, and while still very amazing to take in from hiking around the shore, is reported to be nothing short of spectacular from watercraft. Having been without any sort of watercraft for the past few years, I was starting to really miss canoeing adventures, but that all changed with my Mother’s Day surprise.
I would have been happy with a breakfast and some flowers from the yard, but my family went above and beyond this year and brought home a canoe! There are quite a lot of places I have been wanting to explore by canoe around the McKenzie watershed, and some places along the Cascade Lakes Highway I’d been wanting to go back to, so this was a very exciting surprise.
Seeing a place from the water is a much different experience than seeing it from the land. I had hiked part way around Clear Lake this winter (Read about it here: Clear Lake on a Cloudy Day), but the perspective from the middle of the lake definitely gave me a better sense of what this place is all about. We paddled around most of the shoreline minus a couple of inlets, and I now feel like I know Clear Lake.
Our friend came along with his kayak, and that added a whole other fun dimension to being out on the water. Not being all in the same boat facing forward and paddling, you can have a much more social experience. Now I really want to create a flotilla of canoes and kayaks with my friends for an afternoon on the water. More life goals.
It was a little breezy for getting those crystal clear views of the bottom, but we saw it in some places, and even saw the tops of the underwater forest drowned by lava flows near the outlet of the lake.
There was a great mix of people and birds out on the water, and neither species seemed to be paying the other much mind. They just did their thing on this sunny spring day.
After paddling for awhile, we went ashore near the outlet of the lake to stretch out our legs. We enjoyed the warm sunny afternoon sipping a cider under some ancient Douglas-fir trees, and talked about more canoe adventure plans for the summer. There are some nice canoe camping trips on the seasonal islands of Wickiup Reservoir I’d like to revisit, and Corey has been reading about the Willamette Water Trail where you can stop at wineries and camp along the way. I have a feeling this canoe is going to open up a whole world of adventure possibilities.