8.10.2006

Get Your Kicks at Sparks '06

At any of Rachel's family gatherings the word 'sparks' finds its way into conversation frequently. "See ya at Sparks," has almost replaced goodbye as the farewell of choice. I was invited to join in this wonderful experience this year and see the legend firsthand and I must say that it surpassed my high expectations. The campsite on Sparks Lake is accessible by a twenty minute canoe ride or mile long hike only. Some campers, like Rachel's parents, arrive early to set up the small village in the woods that hosted over thirty people at one time this year. I managed to get a couple days off of work to give me a four day weekend at Sparks.

Rachel has told me a lot about this place that her family has visited annually for the past 26 years but wasn't quite able to detail the beauty of the area. It's something that has to be seen in person. Ancient lava flows and pumice make up much of the landscape, the lake is long and has many many small lagoons and channels to explore by canoe. It sits among the glacier covered peaks of the three sisters, Broken top and Mt. Bachelor.



"SPARKAHOLICS ANONYMOUS"

What to do at Sparks? The camp is on one of the lagoons. Three or four rafts are constantly anchored in the middle and during the day kayaks, air mattresses and pretty much anything else that floats finds its way out to the "floatilla." People are lounging in the sun and hollering for more cocktails to be floated out by the beer barge. Dogs are swimming everywhere, particularly Samba who felt the need to "rescue" everybody who splashed in the water. People take turns jumping off a log thirty feet up in the air into the water to the cheers of everybody watching.

There's tons of hiking to be done too. The geology of volcano country allows for some pretty awesome pits, caves and boulder fields that I had a great time exploring. Armed with a rope, hiking stick, a camelbak full of ice water and flashlights, Rach and I found are way into some pretty gnarly spots.....


Playing in volcano vomit makes a person very hungry and the chefs of Sparks answer the call. Highlights and perennial favorites at Sparks are Doug's Chili Rellenos and the infamous Mclennan Prime Rib feast. Rachel's dad put half a cow on a skewer and cooked it on rotisserie over his grill for three hours(it's no small task to cook for 30+ people in the middle of the forest). The results were absolutely delicious and not a scrap of meat was left. Even the dogs got a special treat that night as Rachel's dad found his way into their little doggy hearts by handing out the leftover rib bones....











After dinner, the firewood for the night is prepared and everybody gathers around to tell funny stories. Many people have really good stories about inappropriate places they have peed, suitcases, drawers, closets, etc. Along with my duties as "Cabana boy," I also helped the fellas prepare some firewood, Rach took this great pic of Jason and I gettin' our lumberjack on....
Be sure to stop by Rachel's family blog for more great photos of Sparks '06. Thanks again to everybody for being such great camping companions and making my first trip to Sparks such a memorable event!! I had a great time and can't wait until next year!!

3 comments:

Anonymous Midwest Girl said...

Yeah, so when I said I hate you for the life you're leading? I hate you even more now.

Sounds amazing!

Anonymous said...

Oh, Joe! Pics and info so well done. Why did we leave? Sparkette Connie

Big Daddy said...

Sounds like fun.