One day on the way to Green Peter reservoir

I had heard of Green Peter reservoir for years and seen pictures online so I decided I had to go there to stand-up paddle board! After arriving in Sweet Home, I checked out the visitor’s center. They were super helpful and directed me to more detailed maps about the two reservoirs: Foster and Green Peter. They topped things off with giving my dog water, and giving me a complimentary ticket to wine tasting at the nearby Mark’s Ridge vineyard. Excellent!

I drove for a while on tedious winding twists and turns to get to Green Peter. The scenery there is lush and beautiful, sort of wraps around the road. Before that part, I passed several parks with countless party boats on Foster lake. I couldn’t go there. It’s just right off the highway and has the power boat and jet ski crowd taking up the waterways. No, that just won’t do!

When I finally found Whitcomb creek county park, on Green Peter, I wasn’t impressed. The (closed) desolate boat ramp was really low and far away from parking. There was an SUV parked at the bottom, near the water. I drove down by it and then heard people screaming and sounding either crazy or angry or delirious. This sound bounced off the barren bank and windy water and hot sky. I couldn’t tell where it was coming from. I decided to leave.

I would go right back to Sunnyside county park, off Foster reservoir. This park was huge with good parking and a good boat ramp. There was a greeter in a hut but she waved me through with a smile saying there was no day use fee.

Looking back toward the boat ramp, on Foster reservoir
Looking back toward the boat ramp, on Foster reservoir

It was a hot day, in the low 90s. The water was perfect! Refreshing but not unpleasantly freezing. After putting in at the nice boat ramp, I turned left. Directly ahead and also to the right were pods of party boats, jet skis. I followed some folks in kayaks going left. They seemed to have a quiet plan.

This is a great place to paddle. It is more narrow than the main body of the lake. It is lined with lots of greenery- not just tree stumps and parched earth, which is a reservoir look, I have noticed.

Go left off the boat ramp, you'll see this. Had this area mostly to myself on a hot Friday afternoon.
Go left off the boat ramp, you’ll see this. Had this area mostly to myself on a hot Friday afternoon.

The wind came up a little bit, but not bad. I did get down on my knees a couple of times coming back as it got a little strong and I find I go faster in wind on my knees. My board is inflatable and sits high on the water. I suspect it gets blown around a little more than a rigid board.

To get there from I-5, take exit 228 (Brownsville/Sweet Home). That turns into Hwy 20. Follow signs to the reservoirs and the various parks. These pictures are from the Sunnyside park area.

Brave dog companion, Lily.
Brave dog companion, Lily.

A voice from the Pacific Crest Trail

Chance Fitzpatrick is over halfway through hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, from Mexico to Canada. I asked him some questions about his journey so far.

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MP: What would you tell your past self, prior to getting on the trail?

CF: Just relax and trust the process. The trail always provides and everything will be given to you at the perfect time. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want or need at anytime.

MP: What would you tell your future self, upon finishing this journey?

CF: Hmmm… A bit harder to answer since I’m imagining what I might want to hear. Don’t be afraid to follow your heart’s desire. What is it that you truly want to do? What scares the shit out of you? Find out what it is that you’re most passionate about and take the leap of faith.

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MP: What do you love the most about your experience?

CF: Being able to spend 10-12 hours a day hiking in the wilderness alone with my thoughts and no distractions. Living such a simple lifestyle with purpose is extremely rewarding.

MP: What do you love least about your experience?

CF: Balancing wants vs. needs can be tricky. Just because you want something doesn’t mean that it’s needed. To make sure what you’re carrying on your back is essential. Another thing that’s very important is to make sure you keep a positive attitude at all times. There are many reasons to keep going, and even more to quit.

MP: Favorite sound?

CF: The constant churn of my footsteps on the earth along with the clicking of my trekking poles.

Milestones are celebrated!
Milestones are celebrated!

MP: Least favorite sound?

CF: Noisy hikers that talk way too much and don’t respect your need to be alone in nature.

MP: Favorite smell?

CF: The fresh mountain air is always changing on the trail. The desert smells very different from the pine forests and grassy meadows.

MP: What has been the most unexpected thing?

CF: How the trail can change drastically from one moment or day to the next. One minute it’s foggy, then it snows. Next day you’re one ridge over and it’s windy with scorching heat. I’ve experienced all of the above in a 24-hr period.

MP: Has this experience, so far, effected your relationship with yourself?

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CF: I am much more patient, loving and forgiving. Not getting all worked up with circumstances and situations that are out of my control.

Chance has a great blog: chancingit.com. You’ll get a good feel for what it’s really like to be out there and see some stunning photographs.

Stay tuned for a follow-up!