Great family campground, plenty of bike and lake side hiking trails. Nice shade during the hot months. Definitely will go back!
last trip my late fiance and I had before he passed away. we lost out through knife, canoes around the whole late, made love on the shoreline. what an amazing memory.
still getting used to the travel trailer life. Howard prairie sure made it memorable.
Campground Review: This was an unexpected overnight stay on our month-long backpacking trip and it was well worth it. My husband, dog, and I accessed the camp ground by foot so I cannot attest to how easily accessible it is by car but there were lots of paved roads around the campground. The campground is located on Howard Prairie Lake which is beautiful and provides a great backdrop. The campground is pretty spread out which allows for a lot of variety in campsite experiences. We stayed in the center area which had really open campsites (not a lot of trees) so you could see your neighbor very easily. The sites are standard: fire pit, picnic table. There is also water spigots strategically placed throughout for drinking and an area for grey water disposal. One big highlight of this campground is the bathroom facilities. The showers are free (a huge benefit for hikers) and are all around great—space to change, strong pressure, and unlimited hot water. The bathroom side is very clean and gives a great experience.
The only negatives I have are the open-ness of some of the spots—you don’t have the camping in the woods feeling. It is also a bit pricey per night (think $20 minimum for tent spots). You cannot reserve spots so getting there early is key. When we arrived, however, it wasn’t and didn’t get overly crowded. Summary: Great campsite that is a bit expensive but great for a car camping weekend on a lake!
Gear Review: Gregory Maven 55 Backpack
As a Ranger of the Dyrt, I am given the great opportunity to test the Gregory Maven 55 on my month long backpacking trip along the Oregon section of the PCT. While I stayed at Klum’s Landing in the first week of my trip, this review is for my entire experience on the trail. I am also throwing in a couple of notes about my husband’s pack, the Gregory Paragon 58. This pack is the male equivalent of the Maven so it has all of the same features and is slightly bigger and cut for a male body. I also want to note that packs are very personal pieces of equipment and selecting one ultimately comes down to how comfortable it is for you and does it meet your needs. Take the time to explore and try on as many packs as you can to make sure you are selecting the best one for you. With that being said, Gregory has a very long history of creating fantastic packs and definitely take a look at all the options they have.
First of all, I really liked this pack and didn’t think that I needed the amount of versatility this pack provided. The Maven is lightweight but provides a good balance of structure and comfort not really seen in other designated lightweight backs. Even though this pack is not the lightest lightweight pack on the market, it makes up for it in comfort and stability. It does provide a lot of lumbar support which added some of the weight and took a little getting used to but once I got it adjusted and fit to me it was great. The Maven is a half-pound lighter than my original pack with everything on it, but Gregory paid attention to details and I was able to cut pack weight by taking off unneeded items without sacrificing the performance of the pack.
Gregory really paid attention to details and the little things in the pack. Besides having the standard big three adjustments (hip belt, top load lifter, and shoulder straps) you could micro adjust your hip belt forward and back as well your back/torso length up and down. This pack is sized by a range (small/medium or large/extra-large) so you can really take the time to find your sweet spot. There was a few days on the trail that the pack and I just couldn’t get in sync no matter what I did. This could be because my body had changed enough that I essentially had to refit the pack. Once I did that, everything fell into place and the Maven was essentially an extension of my body again. There are pockets on the hip belt—one mesh and one solid for easy snack or other item access and it comes with a rain fly in flattened front zip pocket. I never took my rainfly out and used the pocket to hold my valuable items (cash, ID, cards, etc.) as well as my compass. My husband, other the other hand, used his rain fly as a pouch to hold his water bladder as well as a small ground cloth for his other gear when he had to unload his pack. Another little feature was an elastic sunglasses holder on the shoulder strap. This also worked well to hold my dog’s ultralight water bowl. Again, something very little but very useful and it shows that Gregory thought a lot about functionality vs. features and ensured that these two ideas matched up.
Other benefits of the pack or features that I enjoyed: The outside mesh pockets really stretch! It has two side pouches and one front that fit so much stuff it was crazy. It does have two openings: the top drawstring and a zippered bottom which makes accessing your gear much easier. Finally, as I noted earlier, you are able to cut pack weight without sacrificing performance or functionality. Specifically, you can remove the top and any unneeded straps as any potentially unneeded straps are not sewn in rather they are looped through. And while this may seem silly, when it comes to cutting weight, ounces can really add up quickly. Cutting weight was a huge challenge and learning experience for me throughout the trip. I started the trip out at 42 pounds with 3.5 liters of water and full food for 4 days and ended at close to 35 with almost 5 liters of water and food for 4 days. I wouldn’t recommend putting more than 45 pounds in this pack. While the pack may be able to take it, you will not like it. Funny aside: one group of through hikers saw us on our first day then again a week later and asked if we changed packs. We said nope, we just cut both gear and pack weight. This just shows how versatile the pack can be based on your preferences and needs. The final benefit I want to note is that the water bladder pocket is actually a removable backpack. This is a feature that may seem silly but I loved the fact that I could drop my pack and pull out the backpack and use it to take all the water bottles down to a stream to refill. I could also do bonus miles without lugging my whole pack with me. My husband dropped his pouch (hence why he used the rainfly). Since we only needed one, it worked out really well.
While I really liked this pack, there were a few things that I wasn’t too crazy about. The first is that it doesn’t free stand very well, especially if you have any gear in the front mesh pocket. We took the tops off so it didn’t have that counter balance to the pack which may be part of the reason. But in any case, the constant need to hold your pack up (or propping it on a tree) while packing or having it tip over and spill out your gear was a bit annoying at times. It also has an opening for on-the-go water bottle access. That feature just didn't work for me. Either I wasn't flexible enough or you couldn't have other things in the pocket. In any case, I needed a second person to get water bottle in and out of my side mesh pockets. I also managed to tear a few seams over the course of the month. They did not really affect the performance of the pack (even if one tear was right where my shoulder strap met my back) but I was bummed that I tore them. My husband also noticed that two adjustment points are not sewn evenly so his pack never was completely balanced. We also got holes in the side mesh pockets from getting caught on trees or branches. While this type of wear is expected, we thought it would take a little more wear before we got holes. I called Gregory and customer service told me to send it into warranty for evaluation. The customer service lady was super friendly and I will be getting that in as soon as I get it clean. I really like that Gregory will stand by their packs and let us know what is normal wear or what is due to a manufacturing defect.
Overall, I couldn’t have asked for a better pack to take on my month long trip. For you ladies reading this, I have long legs, short torso and a large chest and I was able to comfortably fit this pack. They seemed to have designed it with a women’s physique in mind. I only got a couple of rub areas on my hips and under my arms but that is standard when you are breaking in a new pack and they didn’t hurt. They just looked worse than they actually were. This pack was provided a great balance of weight, features, and comfortable suspension. As I said, it is not the lightest pack on the market, but when you are looking for more of a luxury lightweight pack, the Maven (or Paragon if you are a guy) should definitely be on your list to look at and try on.