Thursday, August 20, 2015

Toxic Algae - the stink!

We left Agency Lake, south of Crater Lake Oregon after one unsettled night. When we planned this trip we agreed that we'd stay a minimum of three nights in each place so as to sink in and breathe. Well let me tell you what happens when a shallow lake ecosystem hits unseasonably high temperatures. Toxic Algae! And that, ladies and gents, is how a picturesque lakeside campsite is marred indelibly by the overpowering smell of swamp and manure.
The region is stunning and rich with bird (and other) life. We saw egrets & pelicans
From our picnic table
We drove south from Corbett past Mount Hood taking in evidence of scrub fires in desertscape; through gorgeous National forest, trying to navigate the delicate balance of pace vs. children's patience. And let's face it: managing my patience was really the task at hand. We blew through forest fire haze, planning to return to see Crater Lake the next day. We just really needed to set up camp and run around, so we pushed on through. We tried to book at Crater Lake about 3 weeks ago but everything was full. A lesson here is that when looking to camp in National Forest campgrounds: reserve early.

It's a tricky thing for me - the tension between enjoying the drive and sights along the way, and getting to camp. Former roadtrip partners (ahem, Gwen) will remember this about me. Maybe with relief that it's not you in the car at the moment!

Anyways, we are back on the road, missing Crater Lake altogether (our site hosts explained that with the haze it's not always possible to see the lake). I'm just so happy to be away from the stink of the algae lake, frankly.

I especially wanted to write about this because it was a visceral reminder of how precious our water is. We take it entirely for granted in BC. Yes, there are restrictions there right now, but the water is still fresh. We also learned in Minnesota last year that fertilizer and manure runoff impacts algae growth, which I had never given a second thought to.

So here's to shorter showers, sustainable farming practices, and a moment of love for our water.

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