Summer in Oregon is officially here and it’s wonderful. This last weekend I made a mad dash to Central Oregon for my friend Jocelyn’s birthday. Lesson learned this weekend? Camping is always worth it. There are times when it feels like the effort and time in the car cancel out the enjoyment factor, but from the moment we descended from Hood into the piney dry heat of Central Oregon, I was so glad to be out of town. We went to Crane Prairie Reservoir, which holds a special place as my home away from home as a child. This is where I napped on boats, learned all about “one more cast”, reeled in big trout, read for hours on hot, dusty mornings, listened to loons cry, caught toads and gave them swimming lessons with my brother, watched mist rise from water in the morning, and learned that pitchy knots are best for the fire. As an adult, I’m learning new things and making new memories. You can see Bachelor, Broken Top, and the South Sister from the lake. The pollen was blowing from the ponderosas like bright yellow dust. On Saturday we set out on the water with an inflatable kayak and a raft tied behind, exploring the lake while stopping for swims and frequent wine breaks. We all got terrific sunburns, which while terrible, feels like a merit badge of the summer season. On Sunday morning, Sam and I rowed out to where the dead pines stick out of the water and tried for some trout. No luck but my casting is improving.