I loaded up my dogs and headed out for Butte Falls yesterday morning because I’d never been there and I’ve been curious for some time.
On the way we stopped at Harnish Wayside Park in Eagle Point . It is a small but sweet park on Butte Creek. All of us but Posy had been there before. (http://www.cityofeaglepoint.org/index.aspx?NID=233)
I made the stop partly because the dogs were hot, and partly because I wanted to figure out how to get to the Butte Creek Mill because they were holding a “Vintage Fair” there. I wasn’t sure what “vintage” meant in this case, but I was curious. (http://buttecreekmill.com/)
I wasn’t finding the Mill’s website helpful so I wandered into the Information Center located at the Wayside. As I was perusing unrelated brochures for potential future day trips the park host spotted Aiko, Doris, and Posy so she came out to schmooze.
As we chatted about this and that she remarked that I should really go to the Mill and check out the Vintage Fair. I responded by noting that I didn’t know how to get to the Mill, but that was exactly what I was looking for.
Turns out the Mill was 5 minutes away, on the same road. We lucked into a shady parking spot. The dogs tanked up on water, and off we went.
In many ways it was the typical, modern street fair with tented vendors selling everything from jewelry to face painting. But many people were walking around in 1800s gowns and cowboy gear. There were old west shooting demonstrations, vintage farm equipment, and even a bona fide wooden store front indian.
It felt hotter than blazes, though I think it was only about 80 degrees. The sweat was dripping off me (you need to know that, right?) While we were standing in a short line to buy water Posy startled a woman by nudging her calf. She tried to do it several more times, but I wouldn’t let her – my best guess is the woman was wearing tasty smelling sunscreen. I heard the woman murmur something to her friend, and the friend quietly replied, “I don’t like them either.” OOPS!
Other than that Doris, Posy, and Aiko were a hit. I got many compliments about how well behaved they were. And as we passed the various booths several vendors called out to us, “We’re dog friendly”, clearly wanting to connect with my pals.
The dogs even successfully encountered with a pair of Alpacas. Ok, Aiko encountered, Doris and Posy ignored. Yay Doris! (aka ” Talky Tina”).
As we wandered creek-side I stopped to take pictures, and when I glanced up Aiko was sprawled on the ground, almost belly up, sucking up love and rubs from a complete stranger. I told the man not to expect other Shibas to accept that kind of attention because they are often people stand-offish. He grinned and said, “I didn’t even know he was there ’til he nudged me.”
When we were all about completely melted we got back on the road toward Butte Falls.
That town is tiny. One blinking red light. Two restaurants and a general store. We were through it in a nanosecond, and before I had time to turn back to find the actual falls I saw a sign indicating Willow Lake was 10 miles ahead. So what the heck! We forged onward.
As we proceeded a snow capped mountain popped up in front of us, them disappeared. This happened twice. Though I’d never seen it from this vantage point I recognized it as Mount McLoughlin.
As we entered the Willow Lake recreation area I realized we were going to have stunning views of the mountain across the water.
On the whole Willow lake was a mixed experience. Significant portions of the day use area were taped off with yellow “caution” tape. No idea why, but it made it look sort of trashy. The cabins look sweet though, and the extensive campground area is very nice. I’d like to stay up there sometime.
And I have to say that other than the discordant “caution” tape the day use area was also very sweet. The views of McLoughlin are amazing. It was fun to watch people enjoying the swimming area, and fishing. I even spied some wild irises growing under a tree. Other than the sounds of laughter and the scent of charcoal grilling it was a quiet and individual experience.
When we left the lake we went back to Butte Falls. I made a quick stop at the general store for water. I was very disappointed that they didn’t have any decent sandwiches available (only scary ones, hermetically sealed in plastic packaging), so I settled for a jerky stick to quiet my tummy. And oddly that turned out to be better than any I can find here in Ashland.
We proceeded from the store to the falls. I must admit I’d built them up in my mind, but Niagra they ain’t. They are small in stature, but still beautiful. Although a ride over them wouldn’t likely be deadly I bet it would be painful. The worst part for me was that the vantage point wasn’t great for photos. You can get shots from above, but not below and facing. Oh well.
After the falls, on a whim, we went back into town and took some photos. Though no one said anything it clearly sparked curiosity in the locals. I guess they’re not used to tourists.