It's a balance I struggle to find. On one hand, I love that people are enjoying the wilderness. But. There are areas I have to avoid now if I want to be alone, trails I have to give up on for a lot of the summer. And the people who are coming from urban areas, while mostly nice, occasionally expect things we are not used to doing. A group snarled at us for not having our dogs on leashes, even though our dogs were sitting calmly next to us. Trail runners expect us to leap out of the way for them, even if we are the ones going uphill and they are coming down. My favorite campsites are often taken. It's hard to adapt to all of this. Plus, where is everyone pooping? (I admit to a certain obsession about this).
|Clear water of the Lostine River|
On a day hike to another lake, it was the first time I had been glad to be leaving rather than staying. An endless tide of backpackers rolled by. Two guys flagged us down looking for fuel, and were visibly upset when we said they would have plenty of company. There were more people than campsites.
|The calm before the storm|
We aren't at the level of a Sawtooths, or Bend, or Rocky Mountains National Park. And having lived in a place where massive cruise ships disgorged thousands each day, I admit I may be a bit spoiled by insisting it's busy here. The week after Labor Day, I climbed to a lake devoid of any people. For the most part my 19 mile loop was empty. But for me and others in town, there's a growing uneasiness about all the publicity we have had lately. As it is, you can't find a house with a few acres for less than half a million dollars now. A house I looked at in 2009 that was listed for $289,000 is now listed for almost 500. If you want to rent, you need to haunt the real estate offices for months, ending up paying over a thousand a month for an apartment. Things are definitely changing.
On the plus side, it's a long, long drive to an airport. The winters chase people out. We don't have a movie theater or a pool, and if you want night life, you'd better be prepared to end it by nine at night, when the streets roll up. It's still quiet, even in town. Maybe the thrill will be gone soon, people off to discover new spots.
In the end, I guess I'd rather live in a place people want to come to, not one they can't wait to leave (been there). I just wish it wasn't so concentrated in about a two month span. So if you come here, please don't snarl at the locals. And dig a good cathole.
|The only person at Blue Lake!|