Home Sweet Home. Does this look like a desert?
The Cove is a large park located at the convergence of three rivers, the Crooked, Deschutes, and Metolius. Each river has formed its own 600 foot deep canyon with sheer rock walls. There are 2 large campgrounds in the park. The Crooked River Campground (our home) is on the eastern rim of the Crooked River canyon. The Deschutes Campground is in a lower area between the Crooked and Deschutes rivers. It's a 5 mile drive between the two that takes you down into the Crooked River Canyon, upriver about a mile, across a suspension bridge and back up out of the canyon. From our campground, we can look down into the canyon and see the road winding down and through the canyon. It is a truly breathtaking scene. All this is situated in a high desert area about 30 miles east of the Cascade range, which has many peaks still covered with snow at the end of April. We can see from our site Mt. Jefferson, the Three Sisters, and Mount Hood, which is about 65 miles away. Although they call the area surrounding the park a desert, it has been extensively irrigated, and made into productive farm land. There is
quite a variety of birds here, including golden and bald eagles, osprey, harrier hawks, and a pair of ring-necked pheasants who visit our site almost every day. We also see mule deer every day, usually in herds of up to 20.
Our primary duties consist of greeting visitors, answering questions and helping them find their campsites, selling firewood, inspecting and resupplying restrooms and bathhouses ( we don't have to clean them), and just being the eyes and ears of the park rangers. Before our stay was over, we also pitched in on lots of other projects to get the park ready for the busy summer season, including replanking the docks at the marina and building a volleyball court. We were supplied with a 2-way radio to stay in contact with the rangers, and a John Deere "Gator", a golf cart on steroids with a dump bed. I was to become very familiar with the Gator, putting several hundred miles on it running all over the park. It was really fun to drive. I also learned to operate a dump truck. (During construction of the volleyball court we excavated and hauled off almost 100 yards of dirt and rock.)
The road down into the canyon.
our month is up and it's time to leave. It has been a wonderful experience in one of the most beautiful places we've ever seen. The people here were great. They really appreciate the volunteers, and go out of their way to make it a pleasant experience. They had a farewell potluck luncheon for us the last day to thanks us, and gave us some little gifts. That night the park manager came by the campsite to thank us and to ask us to consider coming back next year. We probably won't , because we would like to do this again somewhere new to us. It's a great way to explore and get an in-depth familiarity with various parts of the country. It was tough to leave and we felt a little sadness as we drove off, but we have a new adventure ahead of us on the Oregon coast.
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