We are back in San Francisco. This post is getting uploaded a week late. We spent our last night at The Golden Book RV Park in Willits, CA, whose 1st rule was no mind altering substances allowed. They were really no fun at all! Neither did they have any internet access, so I wasn’t able to post my last update. Then we got home and I got busy putting the LD to bed for the next several months. Anyway, what follows is a recounting of our last little adventure around the Willamette.
We spent one night just outside Redmond, OR (above) before actually getting to our final trip destination. We are camped near Cottage Grove in a very nice Corp of Engineers campground called Schwartz Campground situated at the foot of Dorena Dam. They have been improving the hydro electric works here and apparently it has been REALLY noisy, but now it is quite quiet – and also almost deserted. There are about 10 very open sites with all the rest nestled into forested spots. It’s a good thing too, because while today is just about perfect weather wise, not so for the next 2 days. Our price? $8 a day with the Senior Park Pass. We settled in and enjoyed the sunny warm afternoon.
Tuesday, June 18 – Before we split up, Don M. gave me a brochure describing around 17 different waterfalls in the Willamette. We weren’t going to be able to visit them all in the 3 days we had, but I set out a course that would let us see six nice ones. Today we first went to Spirit Falls. All of the waterfalls we visited were very accessed via paved or nice gravel roads, with most at the end of short hiking trails. This one was just .3 mile walk along a very nice trail. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect for photographing the falls. Partly cloudy skies meant we could use slow shudder speeds and soften the look of the water. I looked mostly at the base of the falls. I really enjoyed the sheeting effect the water made along the base.
Moon Falls was next. This trail was a very nice half mile walk through a lush rain forest. An added bonus were the rhodi’s we found still blooming along the trail. This waterfall was two-tiered with a huge 125′ drop in the back and a nice cascade in front. The sun had come out for a time, so we stopped for lunch before beginning to photograph. It was a bit more difficult to photograph this big falls, but sometimes it’s best just to enjoy the experience of the falling water. I started out focusing on the smaller details of the cascade until the sun went – then moved on to the biggie.
Parker Falls was next. This one was reached after a .8 mile uphill trudge – not really that bad, but it was a little wet with occasional light showers. This made some of the fallen tree obstacles on the trail a little difficult to get over or around. We first went to the upper falls, but it wasn’t really easily photographable – too much debris around the base – so we moved back down to lower falls. This one was quite nice, but to get to the best angle on the other side of the creek, I did have to get over a bunch of fallen trees near the base of the falls. Mary wisely chose not to attempt it. The trees were slippery and to cross the stream, I had to do some pretty dicy maneuvers. I managed. It was worth the risk of getting wet.
That was it for today. It was getting late and more rainy, so we called it quits for the day. We got everything done we wanted to do and were looking forward to tomorrows set of hikes and waterfalls .
Wednesday, June 19 – We had rain much of the afternoon yesterday after we returned and much of the night, but come morning, it was sunny again. We expect much the same weather as yesterday. Sunny in the morning, clouding up, then rain late. Our first falls was along Brice Creek. We crossed a high bridge over the creek to get to the trailThey weren’t really big falls – they weren’t even named – but they were nice enough to kill around a hour or more along this .3 mile walk. Some really nice scenes along both the bank of the stream and the river itself.
Then it was off to Upper and Lower Trestle Falls. I chose to hike the 2.8 mile loop, 1000′ rise, trail to Upper Trestle Falls. Mary opted for the .6 mile flat trail to Lower Trestle. Upper Trestle boasted the experience of walking UNDER the falls. I couldn’t pass up that opportunity. The trail was just in outstanding condition. The night’s rain had really no effect on it. It was wet, but not soaking or slippery, so easy walking. There was also the added enjoyment of more rhodi’s. The setting of the falls was pretty spectacular. Located in a large, lush bowl it fell in three streams before hitting the ground and falling further in a nice cascade to a pool at the base. I really enjoyed photographing here as well. I even set-up a self portrait with me under the falls.
Mary’s experience wasn’t quite so nice. Her falls were clogged with large trees at it’s base and she was reluctant to try to ford the mess. She photographed around it for awhile, then returned to the car to wait for me. By now, it had begun to rain more vigorously. I brought my rain gear along just in case and while I did put it all on, under the thick forest canopy, it really wasn’t needed that much. I thing I got wetter from sweat that rainwater. We met back at the car and returned to camp.
This trip was one of the best we’ve been on. I don’t think either of us was really ready to come home again, but we made obligations and had to be back in time for them. I can see another trip to the Pacific Northwest in the nearish future. I want more time in the foggy rain forests of the coast in California, Oregon and Washington. I could spend even more time in the Palouse. We found lots of great areas, but I know there is more to discover and photograph. We had a fun time with the Northwest Lazy Daze group in Baker City, OR. and even joined the Northern Exposure LD group. They will be having a GTG at Jackson Rancheria in Jackson, CA in September. We have plans to be in New York City for a week in September, then a short fall trip to the eastern sierra’s for October so I’m not sure we will be making that one. It was also fun to travel with our friends Don & Dorothy for a few weeks. That was a new experience for us. We’ve never traveled with others for any extended period while motor homing. We got to like it.
I will still be posting from time to time to keep up with what is going on, but for the most part, the blog will be taking a little rest for the next few months.