We went to Waldo Lake in the central Oregon Cascades for a 4 day visit this past weekend. Met my sister-in-law and her family. A lake kayaking mecca! It is reported to be the second-largest natural lake in Oregon and is crystal-clear; the water looked like some tropical paradise (well, with cold water, no fish, and plenty of mosquitoes!)
No combustion motors are allowed on the lake, and there must have been 20 kayaks and a few canoes on the beaches at our campsite alone. There are 3 USFS campgrounds on the lake - we stayed at one of the northern ones (Islet Campground). All have pit toilets, nice sites, and water. The southern campsite takes reservations, and the other northern site (the most popular one; all the lake sites were taken when we arrived at 2 PM Thursday) is slated to take reservations starting in 2012. We got 2 lake sites next to each other at Islet Campground by arriving on Thursday.
The mosquitoes were pretty bad, but other campers said they are normally not so voracious by mid-August. The late, wet spring is likely the culprit there. The mornings and evenings were dead calm (you could see 100 feet down into the lake - a little spooky at times) and there was a light wind in the afternoons. My husband and brother-in-law went for a sunset/night paddle and had a great time. Here are a few photos:
Waldo clear water.jpg [ 14.06 KiB | Viewed 662 times ]
Waldo kayak shadow on bottom of lake.jpg [ 15.35 KiB | Viewed 662 times ]
Waldo paddling.jpg [ 12.51 KiB | Viewed 662 times ]
Waldo kayaks on beach.jpg [ 21.05 KiB | Viewed 662 times ]
waldo sunset.jpg [ 10.58 KiB | Viewed 662 times ]
It's a long drive from Seattle; I'd like to stay longer next time - it would be fun to do longer day paddles and explore the other side of the lake, maybe even do an overnight campout. There are plenty of other small lakes in the area that could also be explored and lots of hiking trails too. Days were warm, but expect cold nights.