“If you go far into a forest and get very quiet, you will come to realize that everything is connected.” -Alan Watts (adapted)
After a few long weeks, Eric and I hit the road and headed towards one of our favorite spots, the Willamette National Forest. All I can say is, Nature is Healing. What a beautiful day hiking in the mountains. It’s amazing how walking in silence brings clarity to the mind. It also allows the senses to be fully engaged so that you can experience the magic of the forest. The sounds of the restless trees and birdsong that fills the air. The smell of the sap dripping from damp bark. The way the cool mist from the river caresses the skin. The vibrant colors that make you feel as if you’ve drifted away into a dream. A dream. That is exactly how this day felt. I’ve decided that Oregon is where dreams and reality merge, yet, I still ask myself how could something this beautiful be real.
We started out trek near the headwaters of the McKenzie River at Sahalie (sah-hall-ee) Falls, a Chinook word meaning “heaven”. We followed the Waterfall Trail which led to a second waterfall called Koosah Falls. Every once in a while you are given small gifts in this life. This day was one of them.
If you look closely at the photo above, you will see the double rainbow. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. A must see if you are ever in the area.
Another view of Sahalie Falls as the trail led downward, closer to the river.
Speaking of the trail….it doesn’t get much better than this. The loop around the falls is well maintained and will make you sweat, even in cooler weather!! Lots of elevation gains, but worth every step.
The McKenzie River runs along the entire trail and makes for a perfect soundtrack to this epic hike.
Click below to see some video footage!
Continuing on this magnificent journey we quickly made it to Koosah Falls, another beauty.
Here is some footage from the falls
I’m a simple girl. A day in this paradise washed away all the bad vibes and I felt rejuvenated. It was a much needed get away.
I somehow captured a photo of the rare, and quite elusive Eric Davis…the wildest beast in this forest….at least that is what I had secretly hoped! I’m not keen on spotting a bear in the forest. But a man cub, I’m ok with that.
The trail went on for another 4+ miles past the falls. It was, yes, you guessed it, BEAUTIFUL. There were several log bridges made from fallen trees. It was a bit eerie walking across them because they were springy and old. Very cool though.
We also hit a point in the trail where there was no place to cross due to high waters. Luckily, there was a freshly fallen tree that crossed over that made a great bridge to the other side. It’s hard to tell from the photo, but there was about a 4ft drop. We are such adventures! haha.
I love trees. Here are a few shots from the hike.
Around 2pm we made it to Tamolitch Falls (aka: Blue Pools). It was by far the most vibrantly turquoise blue water I’ve ever seen. Stunning.
Typically, the water emerges from underground filling this crystal clear pool. Lucky for us, we were able to see the river in full force (which may only happen 1-2 times per year). Gushing from high above the ledge, this waterfall did not disappoint.
I was going to get out the drone for some epic footage, but in the spirit of being a decent human I decided not to because the place was pretty crowded.
We decided on Sunday that we would hit the coast for another Mountain/Coast weekend just because we could. It’s so nice being nestled in with mountains on one side and the ocean on the other. It really doesn’t get much better than that! I had that when I lived in California, but now, it’s only like an hour away! Score. So, time is of the essence and we’re going to take advantage while we can.
Sunset Bay Stae Park
We arrived at the gorgeous Sunset Bay State Park where we decided, maybe we can kayak the Oregon Coast after all! A nice inlet that lead out to a much calmer ocean than what we witnessed last time (see week 3’s blog). Don’t let the clear blue skies and sunshine fool you, the water is frigid cold. It was a warm day though, so we were able to get our feet wet and feel the sand squishy between our toes. Another day in paradise.
We relaxed and enjoyed the views a bit before heading south along the Cape Arago Hwy.
Shore Acres State Park and Simpson Reef Overlook
I had to really zoom in to get this shot of the lighthouse.
It was just a quick stop at Shore Acres because there is a $5 fee and we weren’t planning on staying (that day). There is however what looks to be an amazing Botanical Garden here and we plan to go back when we have more time.
Simpson Reef is where the party was at. Lots of folks stopping by to take some photos of the far away, but not so far away seals taking rest on the high rocks at sea. It was a bit too crowded and I didn’t feel like elbowing may way through the crowds, so I turned the other way and took this picture instead.
Who needs seals when you have a coastline like this?
Cape Arago State Park
Need I say more? I think the photo eliminates the need for words here.
I was in awe. The world is a beautiful place but Oregon is something special. It would be hard to top this. That said, I’m going to give it a try! 🙂 There is so much magnificence in this world and I hope to catch as much of it as possible before the end!
After a long, wonderful day at the coast we headed back to the North Bend area to try out a burger joint with rave reviews. The beauty of Oregon is captivating, but so far, the food has been quite disappointing. Until we discovered Vinny’s Smokin’ Good Burgers who completely lived up to their name!
We filled our bellies (which still needed refueling after that 10+ mile hike in the mountains) and recapped our weekend adventures while making plans to take Gabe here to do some more exploring. After we could eat no more, we took the long way to the parking lot and reluctantly loaded back into the truck…our mini vacation was inevitably coming to an end.
We decided to take an alternate route home via 38 East which was a GREAT choice. We followed the larger, and stunningly beautiful Umpqua River as it winded through quaint little towns and even an Elk viewing (which we had to stop at).
Lush, Beautiful, Oregon.
A perfect place to find some lounging Elk. A nice, relaxing end to a wonderful weekend.
I could have stopped and taken at least 1,000 more photos on the way home but we just didn’t have enough time in the day. I suppose we will just have to go back and try it again!
I hope you all are enjoying the blog and having some adventures of your own.
Until next time…..