A long time ago – when my children were quite young – we heard of a place that became a favorite vacation spot for our family. Loon Lake was more than we imagined. It's a beautiful lake, a few miles inland from the Southern Oregon Coast. It's protected from the winds and fog of the coast and it offers milder temperatures. There were many times when the weather on the coast was wet and windy but as we turned toward the lake the weather began to change. The lake is set among soaring Douglas Fir, Western Hemlock, and Red Cedar trees and is a favorite for local deer and wildlife. It’s a peaceful escape from the hectic pace of everyday life.
The lake was formed over a thousand years ago when a major landslide in the coast range of western Oregon sent a mountainside of sandstone blocks into the valley below. The debris and house-size boulders came down into and across the deep, narrow river canyon. The resulting dam, combined with the annual rainfall, formed Loon Lake. Throughout the campground the huge boulders can be seen - in places they divide the area into section and form ‘walls’ between campsites – and they have provided a playground for generations of children. Mine included!
The campground is owned by the Bureau of Land Management. It is a beautiful place to camp beside the lake. Every year many truckloads of clean sand are taken in to prepare the beach for summer activities.
Pathways go along the edge of the lake and wander through the campground to provide access to quiet spots, waterfalls, fishing holes and private picnic spots.
The trail beside our campsite led to the amphitheater where the ranger often shares stories, folklore, history and information about the wildlife. And sometimes the amphitheater hosts movie night. Under the stars! You have to take your own popcorn!
Can you imagine how beautiful these trees must be in Autumn? I’m sure it’s a wonderland of color!
We had not been back to Loon Lake for many years. We always talked about having a family campout there with our children and grandchildren. Since that hasn't happened yet, we jumped at the chance for the two of us to go back when we had the opportunity to include it in our vacation last month. Our first morning at the lake, my sweetheart took me for a ride in his little boat. It was a quiet day on the water and there was much to see.
I was intrigued by the cabins and homes along the side of the lake. Some were big; some were small. I didn't remember any of them being there before. I tried to imagine what it would be like to own one of them and enjoy relaxing weekends and vacations at the water’s edge.
But as we got closer. . .
I saw the sign. And I knew I could do anything. . .
If only I could finally have the sailboat I had dreamed of since childhood!
It was a dream – and we laughed about it – and continued on - dreaming and wondering what life would be like if we had a place with a boat and a dock along the shore. I thought I’d seen it all until this one came into view. I couldn’t believe my eyes! What would it be like to spend weekends and vacations – or, perhaps, the whole summer here?
There would be room for my children and my grandchildren and my dear, little mother – and my friends. There wasn’t just one guesthouse. There were three!
We approached the other end of the lake and were ready to turn around. . .
We turned and headed back in the direction we had come. Back to our little home-away-from-home. Our little piece of the lake for a few days.
I thought perhaps my eyes were playing tricks on me. I looked and there it was! A fairy-tale house. A house that could belong to someone right out of the pages of a book! A gnome home!
When I ventured a guess and shared my thoughts with my sweetheart, he laughed and said I was silly – it was a rock! ‘Are you sure?’ I asked. ‘Yes,’ he replied. ‘I think you’ve been in the sun too long!’
It wasn’t long before we could see the beach near our campsite again. What a gorgeous day we'd had to cruise on the lake.
Up the trail – and home again. . .
Home to our little cabin-on-wheels.
Now you know why my heart longs to return to the lake some October day when all the trees display their brilliant colors and the world is still and quiet. It will happen, I’m sure – I just wish it could be today!