Off the beaten trail

Waterfall Chasing

DSCF5205I had no idea Oregon had so many waterfalls.  Seriously.  I’m completely mesmerized now.

During my family’s reunion I found a book on a shelf inside the rented house with things to do in the area.  Featured were many outdoor activities including hikes along the many back road trails.  I didn’t have the needed clothes or shoes to do a serious hike so I decided to look for places that could be seen from a short walk or from the road.

I was not disappointed.

In search of a waterfall lead us past Sisters to State Road 126 and the McKenzie River.  A pullout and a short hike down we began to hear the sound of thundering water.  We could smell the mist and then the Sahalie Falls caught us open mouthed.  It is a rush to just see the mountains of water coming over the falls.

DSCF5213We continued on down the path towards the bottom  where once again we followed the rushing waters towards  Koosah Falls.  Guidebooks say Koosah Falls is popular in advertising.  I’ll let you know if I come across it in something.  For now, if it can sell fabric for me that would be great.

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Once below Koosah Falls the path comes out at a reservoir then we had to make a choice.  Do we go across the reservoir and up the other side of the falls or go back the way we came.

We went on.  The guidebook said look for an outhouse to find the trail.  A little ways down the path there was the outhouse and then we could see the path that went back up.  It was a little scary as there wasn’t a big crowd on this side of the falls.  We were pretty much all alone.

About half way up all of a sudden 15 mountain bike riders came flying through!  Un-ba-lieve-able!  This was seriously very treacherous terrain they were navigating and one false move could have sent them over the edge.  My mouth gaped twice over the falls and then again over the bike riders!

DSCF5252 Here is Koosah Falls again, this time from the other side.

The sun peeked out and for a short time a rainbow appeared over the churning base.

Here is Sahalie Falls as seen from the other side.DSCF5265

More rainbows over the base waters and from this angle we can see the offshoot more clearly.

We completed our hike and on the day we left (Monday) we visited Crater Lake National Park.  Vidae Falls could be seen from the roadside.  We got out to take some pictures.  The one on the left shows the Falls as they look from the road.  The photo on the left is how the Falls look if you get out of your car and crawl up the rock face, lay the camera down and click.

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After Crater Lake we headed South and West towards Medford.

Just after the turn on 62 we drove next to Union Creek and stopped at the rest area.  The short walk revealed the gorge and more water falls…they just keep coming and coming!

DSCF5358 Jim is in the upper right of this photo to give a sense of scale.

While walking back to the car and taking more and more photos (can’t get enough…plus I kept second guessing myself on exposure) Jim pointed out to me to look up quick.  I grabbed the camera again because I didn’t want to miss this fleeting moment.  Darn it!  I hate when the camera won’t come on!  Steady, steady…got it…sort of.  Here is the gorge again this time a deer at the top should give another sense of scale.

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Do you see her?

Well off on the road again still heading towards Medford.  We followed 62 towards Shady Cove.  We looked in another guidebook (one I just so happened to have picked up at the Crater Lake gift shop on waterfalls) and found that nearby was another one.  By now I am really beginning to feel like a professional chaser!  The exercise was great!

Mill Creek Falls was close by but there weren’t any signs.  In fact it appeared to be an area that was abandoned.  The sun was beginning to go down and we only had about 45 minutes left of daylight…in woods when we pulled over into a parking lot.  There was a sign board with directions on how to get to the over look.  Looking back I realize I should have taken a few photos of the sign and the trail but we were so rushed that I just didn’t.  We essentially ran down the ravine until we hear water.

Fallen trees were all over the place and a sign warned of possible flooding from the damn could occur without notice.  Yikes!  Where is this waterfall?  And could we get back out of the woods in time.  My pulse was quickening!

DSCF5295I think I remember the sign listing this as Butte Falls but I’m not so sure.  Actually, I think I’m just going to call it Mill Creek Falls.  It was the last of them.  And we made it out alive.

You can see the sun is going down over the falls here.  It was getting dark for sure.  The trails kept going and we most likely could have gone all the way down to the creek and shot from below but it will just have to wait for another time.

I don’t know if I’ll ever get back but what an adventure.

I can see why Oregon has so many outlets for outdoor fabrics now.  I’m going to need to make me a few outdoor garments now.  I’ve been inspired!

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