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Footloose in Rocky Point

Lane and I have been drawn over the Cascades lately. I feel I’ve neglected our neighbors to the east.

We decided to check out Rocky Point because it had been a while, and because we love adventuring into small communities with unpredictable residents and their dogs.

Our trips over have included fervent prayers for rain, with an extra-large helping for the wildlife and farmers facing such a dire situation this summer. Water shortage has long been a problem in the Klamath Basin, but rarely as extreme as now.

The woodsy community of Rocky Point hasn’t changed noticeably since my last visit — still peaceful and cool, sitting a little over 4,000 feet in elevation, with an average summer high around 80 degrees that cools quickly at night. Over 80 inches of snow falls per year, with no major accumulation. It’s about 15 minutes from Lake of the Woods and 29 miles northwest of Klamath Falls.

There are two exits off of Highway 140 for Rocky Point — the same number as for Medford off of I-5. Pulling in, we didn’t see any people but parked on the roadside to snap a few pics of forsaken buildings.

One residential property was for sale — a fixer-upper that apparently came with a large assortment of household goods left unmolested. A lawn mower on the roof stands out in memory. A large collection of straightforward political signs are tacked securely to the fence, apparently left until the Realtor determines which affiliation the potential buyer favors.

As we ventured farther, another residence posted a sign warning against kicking up too much dust. A threatened penalty involved meeting the neighbors armed with a barrage of paintball guns. I’m not making this up. I wondered if they waited in the trees or ...?

I’m pretty sure that by gunning Giovanni and kicking up more dust, we could both blind and outrun them. We skedaddled out of there and on through the woods to the rustic Rocky Point Resort where their motto is, “Eat, drink, play and be happy.” They failed to follow with the rest of the adage, likely determining it a complete joy-killer. We opted to take them up on their suggestion, at least for a time.

Since the late 19th century, RP has served as a summer destination for outdoor enthusiasts, including wealthy San Franciscans during its early days. Naturalist John Muir stayed at the original lodge. After the 1889 lodge burned in 1942, it was rebuilt in 1953. Once upon a time, steamboats traveled to Rocky Point from Klamath Falls, where passengers hitched a ride overland via stage to Crater Lake. We do love our great outdoors.

Their lodging options, along with the store (hours 9-5) and watercraft rentals are all open with social distancing in place. They offer one- and two-bedroom cabins (one each), as well as two houses overlooking the lake. In addition, they rent a few hotel units and two fully furnished RVs, along with RV camp spots with hookups and tent spaces. Most furnished options were booked in the short-term.

The lodge restaurant, which takes reservations, is open for dinner from 5 to 8 p.m., and they plan to extend their summer hours. We found a table outside overlooking Klamath Lake. I couldn’t help pondering its fate as the hot and dry season progresses. For the present, it lay deceptively beautiful and unaware. Though the view was divine, the chilly breeze finally sent us indoors, where we continued to enjoy the vistas and waterfowl.

The friendly server greeted us in Italian, and we learned she was born there. She and her husband run the restaurant with help from their young son, who brought us water and asked politely if we were doing OK.

Rocky Point Resort is the intimate gathering place you recall from childhood, when s’mores and campfire stories reigned. Nothing fancy, just a humble slice of the wild life.

Happy Father’s Day to all the Big Daddy-O’s out there.

Peggy Dover is a freelance writer/editor and author of “Trips & Tangents: 101 Favorite Southern Oregon Journal Columns.” Reach her at pcdover@hotmail.com.