“Make sure you keep an eye on the kids, because a bobcat’s been spotted in the area,” the park ranger at the Loon Lake Recreation Area entrance booth told us as we arrived for the last camping trip of the summer.
We were given a map to our camping spot, and as we drove on the hilly campground road my husband hit the brakes.
“Look, the bobcat,” he said, pointing toward the top of a hill.
On the top of the hill sat a golden cat.
Then I noticed the cat was wearing a collar, and as it started to come toward the road, it became clear that this was no bobcat, but in fact just an ordinary house cat.
We all laughed and came up with theories that perhaps the cat’s name was Bob, so it would be Bob Cat, or Bob the cat, or perhaps it was Bob’s cat.
The campground, located between Elkton and Reedsport, had seemingly shut down for the season, as there were no showers available. And — despite the fire ban being lifted everywhere else in the county and a slight morning drizzle — a campfire ban remained in place.
So if it hadn’t been for our encounter with the cat, the trip probably would’ve started on a very sour note.
But since we all had a good laugh about it — and setting up the camp went pretty quickly — we were ready to have some more fun.
We headed toward the lake and, despite the chill in the air and an overcast sky, the water was nice and warm.
First I just dipped my toes, but then I grabbed a hold of the dog’s leash.
She dragged me into the water until she couldn’t touch the ground — which is about to my waist — and then turned to jump around the rest of the family.
As a cattle dog, she loves bringing the family together and running circles around them until they do what she wants.
The kids took off their shoes and started walking into the water. They each took turns walking the dog in the water and were both soaking wet by the time they were done.
A trail nearby led us to a waterfall.
On the trail, there was a fallen tree held up by two other trees, creating a sort of sky bridge about 10 feet into the air.
I tried climbing up but turned around about a third of the way. Then the kids tried and each made it farther than I did but stopped when they were about 7 feet up.
Zoey jumped down into her dad’s arms because she didn’t want to turn around. But Joshua bravely turned around on the log and made his way down.
Then the dog wanted to try and walked all the way to the end, stuck her nose between the two trees, saw us standing below and ran back down the log.
The rest of the trail was steep and windy and included several man-made staircases.
At the end of the trail was a bench near the low-flow, two-tier waterfall.
On the right side, tree roots had created a natural staircase to the middle section of the falls.
I started climbing up, holding on to the roots on my way and trying to find my footing.
The dog came to join me once I got up there, and then my husband started making his way up.
The top tier of the waterfall revealed little pools that had been carved out in the rock. But the big pool I was expecting wasn’t there.
When it came to climbing back down, I went first, and after every step I had to look back to see where I could put my foot next.
On our way back to our tent, we came across the campers who had brought the cat.
Its name was George, not Bob.