Diane and I did a full moon light paddle and camp out at Timothy Lake a couple of years ago and had a great experience so this weekend we went back to try it again. This is an early Fall season paddle so it needs pretty good weather conditions for it to work. The first time everything was ideal. This time we knew it was not going to be as good but should be reasonable. Our first surprise on this outing was the launch and parking site we used last time had completely change. Someone got some grant money and the area was now all cleaned up, paved and a paid day use only area. We had to track down a PGE ranger to be sure we could leave the car there over night. We got the OK so we got the kayaks in the water, packed and headed across the lake to the campsite we had last time. It took a while to find the old site but when we found it we also found someone had beaten us to it. So we had to find another site. We found one with not as good of view and just passable to land our boats but it would work. This finding and searching was complicated by some pretty good wind that had kicked up some pretty good waves to contend with. With some effort we manage to land and get the boats unloaded.
Our next step was to get the tent set up, get our camp in order and have a freeze dry dinner with a nice red wine. Then came time to prep for our moon light paddle. Last time we time it perfect for a full moon, had great summer temperature weather and warm lake water. This time because of work we had to do the paddle one day before the full moon and a lunar eclipse. This time we also had clear, brisk Fall weather and cold lake water. So clear skies but temps down in the 30’s at night and don’t roll a boat. So we layered up to do our paddle and after the sun was down we headed out. We paddled by moonlight for about three hours and had a lovely but chilly time. Because of the challenge of the paddling conditions and not wanting to do a swim in ice water I did not attempt any photos. After a tricky landing of the kayaks in the dark we headed for the tent and a cool night sleep.
The next morning we awoke to a heavy fog. We elected to have breakfast and do a little hike on a part of the PCT while we waited for the fog to burn off. By eleven we were under a clear blue sky with the boats loaded and back in the water. We paddled back across the lake and got the car loaded. Before heading back to town we did a little side trip to Clackamas Lake. I have come to this lake almost every Fall to take a few photos for more years than I can remember. With photos taken we headed for town. So not the same experience as the first time but we still had a good adventure.