First our host Kori was fantastic! She answered all of our questions and went above and beyond to make our stay great. We loved the tipi and it was overall a great experience. We heard coyotes howl, owls hoot, and the view of the stars cannot be overstated. The tipi was surprisingly comfortable, and easily slept 5 adults. We were not allowed to have a wood fire inside the tent but could have a propane fire, so we did use a propane burner to make s’mores and provide ambience. That said, there are some opportunities that the owners might consider.
We stayed at the Redtail tipi. It is the first site that you drive to when entering the camp. It is also the closest site to the porta potties and shower station. This was a positive thing as it made it very easy to get to the facilities. Additionally, the facilities were well kept. My wife said she didn’t know porta potties could be so clean and nice. The shower, while small, does the job and is a welcome option after a day of hiking.
The area is extremely dry, and one of the things they could fix is possibly installing a sprinkler system from the well to occasionally spray down the road to minimize the dust, which was the consistency of talc and would rise from simply walking on it. Anytime a vehicle passes, the area is inundated with a fine dust that takes time to settle. Because we were at the entrance, we were covered in dust with every car, horse, or person that passed. The dry conditions are not the fault of the owners, but they could consider a sprinkler system or crushed rock fines to keep the dust down.
The shower was nice, but could be excellent if there was a changing room connected to the shower. Otherwise it requires you to change in the shower and you end up getting dirt on wet feet, and it’s really hard to keep clean clothes dry. A simple 6’x6’ concrete pad with a roof and three sides with a door that led to the shower would make it really nice!
The area directly around the tipi was good, and because the fire danger was extreme, there were no permanent fire rings nor the ability to have a fire at all. This isn’t the owners fault but it did have an impact to not have a camp fire while camping. There was one picnic table and while it was new and clean, I could have also used a second cooking table along with some other seating areas. A simple solution would be log seats and a fire ring, and a second picnic table- something that would hold a Coleman stove type of thing.
Finally, the camp site was near the main road to crater lake. The traffic was constant until after 10pm each night. Having said that, virtually every other option was near the same road, and would have the same traffic noise.
The bedding was clean and I found the pads very comfortable! We did have some fun issues with the chipmunks which my wife renamed to chippunks because they would come into the tipi and eat anything remotely edible! Our crater lake newspaper was gnawed on and a bag of almonds was looted, though curiously, they left half of the almonds behind! They are quite the characters!
For reference, to go from the tipi to cloudscap on crater lake is exactly an hour drive. To get to the crater lake lodge took about 35 minutes.
Wow!!! We loved our brief time at Kathy and Jim’s! It is secluded and private enough yet at the same time, is very safe! We didn’t get to meet Kathy as she was out rescuing a horse. We were met by Jim, and he was incredibly nice.
First thing- you pass under a sign that reads HartSong. I don’t know Jim or Kathy, but I do know they are wonderful people. They have a ranch of rescues. And they have huge hearts. I mention this because they have one single campsite, and they have thought of everything, including putting a little heart into the campsite.
The campsite is about 50yards from your parking. They provide carts to bring your gear. There is a really nice fire ring with a metal grate to cook on along with a charcoal bar be que. The fire ring has five round sitting logs and their is plenty of firewood provided. The campsite overlooks a pond and is basically an island as there is a large irrigation ditch that was running full providing beautiful background sounds. It was lovely! Also included is a row boat and canoe. The kids had a blast! The camp area is cleared and surrounded with trees. My daughter opted to sleep in a hammock, I ended up on a cot outside of the tent, and the balance slept in a tent. It was quite an experience to fall asleep counting shooting stars!
The pond has quite a few “locals” that make the time slow down, and cause notice. First there were a few frogs that had a conversation that lasted all night- they were hilarious. The odd owl would hoot every once and a while. At daybreak, the roosters begin the day as expected but what was spectacular were the geese flying into the pond honking the whole way!
If you are a photographer, there are plenty of opportunities to find really interesting subjects. If you like animals, they are everywhere. If you like the outdoors, this is quite the experience.
Jim provides fire starter, first aid kit, gloves to handle the hot grate, and other odds and ends to make the experience great-
We will be back, the only downside was we forgot pillows and bug spray- live and learn!
Finally, I started this by saying Jim and Kathy rescue animals. When we entered I was greeted by a horse who was incredibly friendly. He was rescued from the horse races. When we left we were greeted by another horse who had no eyes, but still had a home. This is quite a special place and I hope to be back soon. Thanks Jim and Kathy!
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