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I was so excited to tell you guys all about our minimoon and dump a million photos in your lap. But, thought that what might be more helpful to people would be our North Umpqua itinerary. Highlighting what we did, what we ate, and what we loved.
Staying at The Steamboat Inn was a suggestion from my parents who had stayed there over 30 years ago. It has changed hands a couple times since then, but remains just as charming today as it was in their memories. The inn is comprised of several cabins, ranging from a single room, to entire 3 bedroom houses, nestled along the river. Our cabin, was full of elevated rustic charm. Duplex style with a big back porch overlooking the river, which was our favorite spot to sit with a glass of wine and chat.
The restaurant at the Steamboat Inn was divine. It was so good we bought their two cookbooks, which we have been cooking out of non-stop. One evening Tom ordered the special, salmon, and it was the best salmon I have ever tasted. Which, being from the Pacific Northwest, says a lot. We eat a lot of salmon.
We spent a lot of time in the library as well, sipping cocktails, and playing board games. Or out in the garden, which looks like something out of a childhood’s fairytale.
There were a couple things that while I don’t see as a negative, it would be worth knowing before booking your trip. Starting with, there is no cell service. If I had needed to work at all this trip, it simply wouldn’t have happened. We had zero cell service, and no data. While the hotel does have WiFi, it was spotty at best and didn’t work half of our trip. This is great for completely unplugging from reality but not great if you really need to respond to an email. Another thing to know while you’re packing, if you’re like me, and want to curl up outside in the mornings with a warm cuppa and a cozy robe, make sure to pack your own robe since there isn’t one in the room. One thing we didn’t realize that almost got us into trouble is that front desk is not manned 24 hours/day. So, be sure to talk to them ahead of time if you’re planning a late/early check in or departure. And, for the last little quirk, there was no fridge or microwave in our room. So no saving leftovers from dinner or warming anything up. Not a huge problem for us since dinner was so good there were no leftovers. But, since there are no other restaurants for 20+ miles, if you thought you would keep some fruit or snacks on hand in the fridge, you’ll have to think again. This was true in our river front cabins, I can’t speak for the 3 bedroom homes.
Diamond Lake Corrals
I love horses. I have mentioned this only about 60,000 times throughout posts on the blog, and my Instagram page. The handsome hunk use have horses. But Tom and his horse parted ways on less than ideal terms after being bucked, thrown, and ran into a tree. Ouch! He was young and hasn’t spent much time with horses since.
But, he knows how much I love them, so he happily woke up early our first real day of our minimoon to ride with me. And, we both had so much fun! The day before, we booked a 3 hour trail ride with Diamond Lake Corrals. Side note, if you need gas while you’re in the mountains, this is the only spot to get any.
Tom hopped on Rocky and I mounted Rebel and we were off! Now, if you have been on a trail ride before, you pretty much know how it goes. Slow, steady, single file, don’t really need to think about it horseback riding. And, while it wasn’t any different, it was a lovely experience. We had a small group, our guide was chatty and knowledgeable, and the sights were beautiful. There were a few spots where short bursts of trotting was appropriate. We wound through valleys, up mountains, and along burbling creeks.
Even though it was sunny, and I wore sunscreen if you forgot it, you would be fine since most of the time you are winding through the woods with plenty of leaf coverage. What you cannot forget is bug spray! Thankfully in August the mosquitoes weren’t as bad as earlier in the summer, but I still walked away with 10+ itchy bites on my legs.
When we booked our stay, I didn’t even know how close we were to Crater Lake. After a morning of horse back riding, we were stiff and a little sore. So we decided to take a drive to Crater Lake for a picnic.
Pictures do not do it justice. Crater Lake is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. The water is impossibly blue. Even in the heat of summer, there is still some snow on the ground. So, while we were sitting, enjoying the sights, chowing down on sandwiches, we decided we needed to get in.
There is only one trail down to the water where you can swim. It’s only a 2 mile hike roundtrip, but it is straight down and straight up. Well worth every heavy breathed step! We hiked down, only twisting my ankle twice, before getting to the water and jumping in. It was so cold it took my breath away. But, that ice cold blue water was just what our sore muscles needed. There was a big rock people were jumping off of, but we decided to swim a little further away and have a spot to ourselves. Well, ourselves and the incredibly brave and squirrelly chipmunks who were daring enough to run right up to us and go scrounging in our bag looking for food.
Interestingly enough, the shallow water by the shore is much colder than the deeper water. Don’t let that fool you, the deep water is still very cold. But, it’s tolerable and pleasant in the heat of summer after acclimating to it for a few minutes. And, when you can’t stand another moment of the icy water, get out and bake yourself dry on the hot rocks.
Remember drinking water, you’ll definitely want it when you hike back up to the top.
We stumbled upon Renton River Adventures Fishing Guides when we were setting up our minimoon and absolutely would recommend them for your own fishing adventure. After waking up at 4:00 am to get ready. Dillon, one of the sons of this family business, picked us up in the pitch black to scout out our first fishing spot of the day.
Remember when I talked about how Tom isn’t crazy about horses but did something just because it would make me happy? That’s how fly fishing started out for me. But, just like he ended up having a blast horseback riding, I ended up having so much fun fly fishing.
Or really, it was fly casting. But, while neither of us ended our 6 hour fishing trip with an actual fish, we did walk away with new skills and a new hobby. The North Umpqua is world renowned for its fly fishing, and I can see why. It is known to be a challenging area, which we did not know beforehand, where many experts go to challenge themselves. The river itself is breathtaking. And, it was a fun adventure, just wading out, and taking in the sights.
If you travel to the North Umpqua River, a fly fishing guide is a must and when we are in the area again, will definitely be using Renton River Adventures again.
If you want to get a little off the beaten path, then a trip to the North Umpqua will be right up your alley. Or, tree, perhaps since there are lots of trees and no actual alleys. It’s a little wild, and remote. And, our afternoon at Steamboat Falls is the perfect description of that.
On the recommendation of our fishing tour guide, we headed up an offshoot the river to find a swimming hole. There really are dozens of them, as you drive along, anywhere you see to pull off, there is probably a swimming hole. Some, we were later told, are very private, and known for skinny dipping lovers to frequent. Believe me, finding one such swimming hole is definitely on the list for next time.
We wanted to check out one of the best known swimming holes, Steamboat Falls. There is no sign. And, in all honesty, we just think we found steamboat falls. There are so many streams, creeks, rivers, and falls in the area. We found a forest service map with the falls marked, and a legend, and went down the creek the approximate distance that the map told us, where we found some waterfalls. Educated guess says we found it.
The water is cold, so, so cold. You won’t believe how cold considering how hot it is during the height of summer. To combat the cold of the water, you want to go when the sun is the hottest. Between 1:00 pm-4:00 pm is the prime time to be swimming, waterfall jumping, and poking around in the water.
Even though it was the middle of summer, and prime tourist season, we spent nearly the entire day completely alone. In fact, the only people we did run into were locals.
We jumped off the waterfalls into the crisp, cold water. Swam in the water, played in the tide pools, and basked in the sun. It was not only one of my favorite days of the trip, but just one of my favorite days period.
Oh wine tasting, what a joy you are. Central Oregon is prime wine country where Pinot Noir is king. In fact, I spent my childhood on a winery in Oregon, where my parents made award winning Pinot Noir.
So, you could say, Oregon wine is in my blood.
We drove past my family’s old winery, where sadly, the new owners are letting the land become overgrown and the vineyard is going unused. But, it was still such a delight to see the big oak tree where my swing was, the rolling hills, vineyard and creek from my childhood memories.
And, then, of course, we went to all the neighboring wineries to taste, sit in the sun, and take in the beautiful scenery. If you’re up for a fun day of wine tasting, you can get a wine passport, where if you visit five wineries on the list, you get a little prize, and get entered to win a case of wine.
I recommend this.
For so many reasons. First off, we tried some truly spectacular wines from small wineries that we wouldn’t have been introduced to otherwise. Some aren’t sold in stores, so really, that is the only way we would have found them. Half the wineries we visited also had specials. We walked away from the trip with nearly two cases of wine. Some of which we were able to pick up for a steal. And, most importantly, it’s just fun.
We made it a long, leisurely day, sipping, exploring, working off the wine, eating, and then sipping some more. It was perfection.
Are you ready to plan a trip to the North Umpqua River? Have you been before?