Monday, October 20, 2014

Drift Creek Falls

{The computer had to undergo some surgery, then Josh took it on his boat for a while. But this ol' 2007 MacBook is back up and running, so I am going to get a couple more post from it still. I am sensing a new laptop for 2015.}

Drift Creek Falls is one of the places I got stuck in my head, and when we couldn't go I became determined to get there! Our first attempt mid-late summer was rained out so we ended up at the outlet mall up the road instead. [Got an unplanned head start on some Christmas shopping.] Drift Creek is on the coast, so the weather there is different than what we can predict for the valley. I was really bummed, it's not a far drive from Corvallis, but since it was summer that means hight of tourist season on the coast and Highway 101. Tourists are the worst! They cause unnecessary traffic, walk in the middle of the roads looking at things around them totally oblivious that they are in the middle of the highway, and drive the prices of hotels and local eateries up. At the same time, some of these smaller towns probably would not survive without them ::sigh::.

Anyways, enough ranting about too many people in small places. I had my head set on getting to Drift Creek, it's just a few miles north of Newport and just south of Lincoln City and has great signage! I mean seriously, for such a small place, it there were a TON of signs! The boat Josh was on in September was in a rotation schedule with another boat in their fleet, so he just happened to have about 2.5 days off over labor day weekend. We spent one day laying around and taking it easy, and the second day we bolted for Drift Creek. His days off are FEW and far between and he can get called in at anytime, they are not true guaranteed days off. We usually avoid holiday weekends that attract crowds, but we had to go when we could. Surprisingly, it was raining when we got to the coast... sense the sarcasm? It was okay, we packed a lunch and our rain jackets and ended up with two muddy dogs! 

nervous of the bridge
mid-yawn face, silly boy
Because of the rain we didn't get a ton of pictures, but what is fun about this place is the huge suspension bridge at the base of the falls. Also, the hike is pretty short at only 3 miles round trip and only a small hill at the trail head which is eased by light switchbacks. It would be a nice place to take visitors, minus the dogs next time. The trail is slightly more narrow than other trails we've frequented, which is what makes it a little tight for the dogs. They were wet and muddy and although they are OVERLY friendly, some people just don't like dogs at all and on that trail there isn't a lot of space to maneuver. Also the bridge is narrow... and moves.... a lot. I am not a bridge person, I do not trust man-made heights - no bridges of any kind. I have gotten a lot better through the years, but this is the first suspension bridge I have been on this size. 

The bottom of the falls and all the water is accessible by a small walk down the rocks at the base. If we did not have the dogs or it wasn't so crowded (covered with screaming kids, screaming because they were having fun that is) we would have ventured down, it just didn't line up for us this time. There is one waterfall and it comes off the side of the mountains into the river falling 75 feet. The trail is open year-round and there is a decent amount of parking, but not a lot, so go early if it's a nice day. It is also close to camping, hotels, and shopping, so you can make it part of a weekend coast trip. It's off HWY 101, going N from Newport to Lincoln City, turn right onto Drift Creek Road (after the golf course, there is a small sign on your left pointing to it) and follow the signs up the mountain. I think they do a lot of boy scout type stuff up there where they bring in busses of kids, there were signs at every intersection and even though it was a forestry road it was all paved. Super easy to find.

It really is a beautiful bridge! 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Mountain Top Sunset

With Josh's job working on fishing boats, we have a hard time finding a day we are both off work together. His schedule is very random and he is always on call, there are times they will call him and tell him he has to be there in 4 hours - we live an hour away from the ocean. We were sitting home together one day, enjoying some lazy time together, when we both had a random thought at the same time; let's drive up Marys Peak and watch the sunset! We had to act fast, Marys Peak is about 45 minutes to an hour from us and sunset was in an hour and a half. We grabbed the camera and headed out the door. We've been to Marys a lot and we did a sunrise hike earlier this year, but we had yet to do sunset. Lucky for us, it was a stunning one! 

The rest of this post is all pictures, which I haven't posted to facebook yet, enjoy!
(apparently my DSLR lens is dirty, click to make larger, but ignore the smudges)

mountain shadow! 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Ice Blue

We set out to McKenzie River to originally do the Blue Pool hike (aka Tamolitch Pool/Falls) . I was really looking forward to this hike because all the pictures I have seen are pretty stellar [see the link above]. The McKenzie River Trail is just shy of 27 miles long and the Blue Pool is a hike-in area, not one you can just pull up to like some of the other waterfalls are. Off Highway 126 is the McKenzie River Ranger Station and just a couple short miles after that are entrances to the trail. 

We did not have clear directions to the hike, but we had been to some of the waterfalls previously, so we were somewhat familiar with the area. Without a destination to put into the GPS, I tend to get nervous about directions - I am THE WORST at directions, never ask me! But Josh is awesome at them. We pulled over at the Ranger Station to see if we could get a better idea of where to go. 

This is the plaque for where we were going
Can't help but to take the Honda when traveling
long distances without the dogs.
The gas milage is just too good to pass up.

Also, while searching Google for directions I happen to come across this Blog from someone who was just there earlier this year! So using his descriptions and my need for exact turns I was able to come up with some directions. But don't hold me to them because I did not take note to actual milage as it all happened so fast:

There are two ways to get to the Blue Pool hike from Highway 126. We were traveling from south to north (since we passed the ranger station before the hiking entrance) from the south you can start at Trailbridge Reservoir and hike North. You pass the ranger station, then you'll cross over a bridge and shortly after that there is a decent sized brown sign on your right with Trailbridge Reservoir and the turn will be to the left as you are going up a hill/mountain. By the time we saw the sign and I registered the name and pulled out my 'directions' we passed it. So keep your eyes peeled. IF you do miss it, very shortly after that (I'd say maybe 5ish miles? Since the hike is estimated at about 3 miles in from each point) there is a tiny sign for Carmen Reservoir. You can start at Carmen Reservoir and hike South. The sign for this turn is a very tiny green sign on your left AT the turn, also left. We flew right passed it too. This turn is after you climb the mountain, so once you start to hit the peak, start looking. 

We missed both turns and we had already been in the car for 2 hours. We decided to turn around at the next left turn - which just happened to be Koosah Falls. We were pleasantly surprised and hopped out and did a little nature walk along the path to the falls and surrounding areas. We have been here before, but it wasn't until this time that we realized that Koosah, Sahalie, Blue River and McKenzie River were all one path! duh. So we stretched our legs out and took a ton of pictures at Koosah Falls. 

Top of the falls. We went passed the 'fences' to get
the better shots

The camera on my phone was able to capture
the colors better than my point and shoot! 

map at Koosah
After walking around there for a while we decided to get back in the car and see what was further north. We didn't realized we had basically walked to Sahalie then back to the car and drove up to Sahalie, we laughed at ourselves. Here is the post from last time we were at Sahalie Falls (before we knew everything was connected). We hiked up and down and all around, it was a fun and relaxing day. 

Sahalie Falls

He's tall enough to be a tree

Welcome to my playground for the day

The top of Sahalie Falls

Beautiful turquoise color right at the crest of the falls

After playing around the falls for a couple hours we decided Blue Pool just wasn't in the cards for the day. It meant we would have had to drive back down 126 and still hike 6 miles round trip; we saved it for another day. We were able to continue north on 126, make a stop at Clear Lake and take Highway 20 home. We had not been to Clear Lake in the past, so we hung out on the boat dock for a bit and just soaked in some rays. It's a GREAT little spot, lots of camping and no motorized vessels allowed in the lake. It's not a 'secret' spot, so there were plenty of people at the canoe rental building across the way.
They don't call it Clear Lake for nothin'
This next one is my FAVORITE shot of the summer so far! I looked over and thought "I gotta get this Dawson's Creek shot". I took a couple, but this one turned out the best. Thanks, to whom ever left their boat at Clear Lake on June 29th!

 I am so pale the sun actually reflects off my legs and gives sunburn to the people around me! And somehow I managed to make it look like I have long(er) legs in this picture.

A relaxing end to an easy day with plenty of beauty

End Note: I have been pronouncing it Sa-HAY-lee and Koo-Sa; I had a Oregon born person tell me I was wrong and it's pronounced SHA-hay-lee. However, I have looked it up in the past and based on how it is SPELLED I am sticking with my way. Also, upon further google searching I found that it is accepted both ways and that 'no one knows for sure' - but I am sticking with phonetically. 
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