Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Two Days by the River

I decided to head out Saturday, get away.  I had wanted to go overnight, but whats the fun of that really, with the smokey skies occluding most everything.   So I went with a friend Saturday to the river.  The Little North Fork of the Santiam area.

I've been up to that area quite a lot.  I hike the Opal Creek loop trail, through old growth and the village out in the woods of Jawbone Flats.  That's a fun hike.

Or I just go spend some time by the river somewhere along the road.  There are lots of places to do that.  My friend and I first had decided to head south east, to Blue Lake or Cougar Reservoir, but the smoke was so thick to the south, that we turned around, and headed north.  There are fires burning everywhere.  Along highway 126, part of which is now closed due to fires, along which is Cougar Reservoir, there are multiple fires.

Not much better off highway 22, where we headed, with fires burning near Sisters, two or three of them, and one at least in the Jefferson Wilderness area.

But it wasn't so bad.  We found a parking place at Salmon Falls county park and hiked the steep steps down to the large rock beach for a day of sitting around by the water, swimming and people watching.  It was fun.

This is the pool there at Salmon Falls County park.  Not too deep most places, nice waterfall, cliffs that the young people stage on and finally get up nerve to jump off into the water.  There's a fish ladder back behind those two concrete walls beyond the end of the log.  It starts as a cave.  I swam in there, and some people try to climb the steep tunnel fish ladder to the top, but often fail due to the force of the water coming down it.
It was supposed to be close to 100 degrees in the valley but the thick smoke kept the temperatures down at least.

Once you walk the short trail to the stairs and navigate those steep and in places narrow step stairs down, you find the beach is all large unwieldly rocks, hard to walk on, also hard to set up a chair there.
It was crowded but not like Three Pools, which is extremely popular, about four miles on up the road.  We stopped later on to take a look.  It was still crowded late in the afternoon.

Three Pools is so crowded you can't really even enjoy it, or swim.

We drove past Three Pools to a small gem of a campground with many sites close to the river.  It's a forest service campground.  It too was full, being Labor Day weekend.   Shady Cove Campground, its called.

Just beyond it is a bridge across the river.  The road then follows Cedar Creek and eventually, if you take the right service roads, you can return to highway 22 at Detroit and on the way, pull out and hike down to Opal Lake.  But its a steep hike, the ranger told us, not to the lake, that's all down hill, but on the way back.  There are some great private campsites accessed from pullouts, by foot, along Cedar Creek.  By that time we were looking for somewhere to turn around and did so at a beautiful waterfall, with a pool, and chipmunks scampering everywhere.

Yesterday we drove back up, although the smoke was even thicker.  Just for a short visit to a nice beach beneath the bridge beyond Shady Cove.

Bad air everywhere

This was our little place we found, soon to be invaded by several other groups.

These places are not far from where I live.  I don't go often, I suppose because they are so crowded.  But I had a nice time going a couple times over the holiday.  Despite the smoke that was really thick yesterday and even worse today, so bad I'm not going out unless I have to go out.


  1. I'm glad you found a play to enjoy the water despite the smoke and crowds. Hopefully, there will some relief from the fires soon.

    1. I hope so, L and L. I think the weather is about to cool off, by about 10 degrees for at least a week. That might help some.

  2. Lovely places and nicely captured. We have a similar problem now with overcrowded public spaces. It was not always the case.

    1. Yes, crowding is quite extreme most places a person might go now.

  3. They look like lovely places and I am glad you got a little respite and time away. Crowds do my head in. Not fond of smoke either.