It's over so fast
I thought that this image from the Opal Creek hike was an apropros end to this gallery.
The weather was gloriously overcast from the time we left Albany until just past Glide. Then as we drove further east, the sky cleared. So I didn't even bother carrying my tripod to Watson Falls. I was able to find a couple of small shaded spots at Clearwater. There are many fantastic waterfalls along SR 138. I think that perhaps this is my favorite.
We weren't planning to go to Sweet Creek during this vacation. It didn't look as though our primary destination (Mary's Peak) was going to work out, so we switched to an alternate location. I'm sure that you're all feeling sorry for us because we had to go to such a wonderful place. This was our fourth time there. I guess that we're in a rut. I can hardly wait to return.
Opal Creek is one of the two places I was most looking forward to seeing on this trip. The other location was Ramona Falls. We had been there before, but this was our first visit to Opal Creek. Both hikes are 7-miles. The majority of the hike is on a gated gravel road. I know that doesn't sound appealing, but the surrounding forest is pretty. The trail portion is fairly short (less than 1 1/2 miles), but it's kind of rough going. There are lots of big puddles, deep mud, roots, and rocks.
Little North Fork Santiam River
What a strange experience. This is the first time I've ever seen a gravel forest road with speed limit signs and no parking signs. Go down the short access road and you'll find a rather large paved parking lot complete with speed bumps in the middle of the forest. I was almost surprised that there were no tire teeth.
There was one other car in the lot. The group of three was on their way out right after we arrived, so we had the place to ourselves. One of the men said, "I guess that we're not the only ones who like the rain." I can only imagine what a madhouse this is on a sunny summer day. I don't think that I would have wanted to be anywhere near it. Today however, it was wonderful to be in such a gorgeous location.
Wild iris at Silver Falls State Park
We were trying to figure out how many times we've been to Silver Falls. Our best estimate is around ten times. This was the first time that I didn't lug a tripod around with me. Since it was sunny, I figured that I wouldn't be using it. I actually did get some surprisingly not-terribly-blurry pictures at up to .8 second exposures. But with the sunlight on portions of the waterfalls, I wasn't exactly excited about sharing those.
On a sunny, comfortable day there were a lot of people on the trail. We've come to SFSP so many times during the winter that we've gotten spoiled. We're used to the place being all but deserted. But we hike slow, and the trails weren't crowded at all by the late afternoon.
I almost chose a barrier closing the trail behind Middle North Falls as today's picture. I can't believe that they keep closing off that trail spur. It's not dangerous. Much worse is the dangerous situation of the yahoo I saw leaning out over the brink of South Falls holding his camera out as far as he could reach. Luckily he lived to see another day. Well as far as I know. He may have been unlucky doing something equally stupid later in the day.
Mount Hood from Lost Lake
This wasn't one of my better shots from the day, but I figured that a scenic photo says "vacation" more effectively than a flower picture. We enjoyed our hike around the lake, but I hardly took any pictures of it. As a matter of fact, this is the only place I shot, and this is right at the trailhead.
It was a really nice day to be here. Lost Lake wasn't a primary destination. I only had it as an option in case we were cursed with sunny days. How horrible it was to be forced to endure being at this lovely place!
We have been seeing lots of trillium plants, but so far we had only seen two blooms. So a visit to Trillium Lake was in order. I knew absolutely nothing about this lake, but the name sounded good. I figured that with a name like that, there just had to be a lot of trilliums in the area. But the question is would they be blooming? Good news. There were lots blooming along the sides of the access road. Then we saw a lot of them on the level, easy stroll around the lake.
This was the first sunny, "nice" day around here, so lots of people were out enjoying the great outdoors. It's not exactly a wilderness experience, but I sure have no complaints. Well I do have a minor one. When we got back to the car there was a fee envelope under the windshield wiper with a note that they don't accept our America The Beautiful inter-agency pass. They do honor the Northwest Forest Pass, and my pass is equivalent to that. So I paid the fee, and we stopped by the ranger station on our way back to town just to get clarification. The ranger told us that our pass is valid and that if that happens in the future we should just ignore the note and not pay. She said that they're not going to do anything if someone doesn't pay. And here I had visions of the Forest Service SWAT team driving down to San Diego and laying siege to my home.
We got back in town early because we didn't want to be late for dinner with Greg and Cheryl. We had to postpone yesterday's plans because we knew that we were going to be moving slow at Ramona Falls. Dinner was good and the company was exceptional. And the best was yet to come. Greg performed a ragtime concert at Twin Paradox. The music was wonderful. I wish that we lived closer so that we could get together with them much more often.
I'm feeling pretty happy that my back held up and allowed us to go on this hike. There was some mud in places, but the recent rain did us a favor. The "kitty litter" portions of the trail was wet sand.
Walking on that was much easier on my back. I had been expecting to have difficulty with the loose surface.
I had a hard time deciding which picture to upload today. Ramona Creek is easily one of my favorite stream-side hikes. Yesterday the moss covering the ground was bright, vivid green. Usually we see dry, yellow moss. So I really enjoyed the color. Later the many rhododendrons will be blooming, and I can only imagine how pretty the trail will be. It's hard to describe how beautiful the creek is. Later I'll be uploading at least several photos, but they won't really convey the feeling of being there.
For the second time this trip, we found fairy slippers (Calypso orchids). I considered uploading one of those shots. Another possibility was one of the two trilliums we spotted. We've been seeing a lot of them along the trails, but those were the first blooms we got to enjoy.
There were a lot more hikers (human and canine) than I expected. I took it as a good sign every time we saw somebody. I had some big concerns about this trail. There are many car cloutings at the trailhead. Right before we departed on this vacation I read a Portland Hikers posting about six car windows being broken. When we arrived, we saw a LOT of window glass littering the ground.
This was a wonderful place to be on a chilly overcast day. Tomorrow (Saturday) the weather is supposed to change and we'll be forced to endure sunny days. I know that most people would think that's perfect vacation weather, but almost all of my plans involve forest, creeks, and waterfalls, so cloudy weather is optimal. We'll still enjoy being in the woods, but I'm expecting that the photo ops will dramatically decrease. I guess that means less time with a camera in front of my face, and more time simply enjoying the experience.
Back in San Diego the rain is over for the season. Maybe it'll rain in November. I was standing in my yard watering and feeling sad about that. (Please don't tell the authorities that I was wasting precious water.) But then I figured that I'd be soon be visiting the rain in the Pacific Northwest. Of course the weather up here hadn't been a disappointment. The meteorologist on KATU said that today was the first day that she hadn't predicted rain since February.
(By the way, this is NOT my back yard after I over-watered.)
At the Portland Japanese Garden. Despite there being more people around than the last time that we were here, we still managed to feel as though we had the garden to ourselves. This is a wonderful place to spend a rainy morning. Afterwards we walked across the road to the International Rose Test Garden. We finished the day at Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden and Laurelhurst Park. I took way more rose pictures than anyone in their right mind would want to see. Unfortunately I wasn't able to take any pictures of the rose scents.
Falls Creek Falls
It's hard to believe that someone could think of such a unique name.
The day was supposed to be mostly cloudy, but the sun was out at Panther Creek Falls. That particular location was spectacular, but the photos did not show it. A return trip is in order. The sky was completely clear at the start of the Falls Creek hike. Not exactly what I wanted, especially considering that I made sure to schedule this hike on a cloudy day. The creek flows fast and furious. It was interesting to see even though I didn't get any pictures. The good news is that the clouds blew in by the time we reached the end of the trail. Pictures can't express how impressive and powerful this waterfall is. These are the bottom two tiers. The top tier can't be seen from this vantage.