Opal and Silver on the West Side, June, 2016

Posted on Posted in Hiking, Truck Camping, Uncategorized

I guess if you are posting about June trips during the second week of July that means you are a bit behind.  Such is life in the summer, days are long but they fill up with all kinds of things. We traveled to the west side of Oregon with a couple of objectives, and we actually over achieved.

We launched out of central Oregon on Friday afternoon with hopes of finding a spot to camp on the way to Opal Creek.  Turns out we ended up passing our stopping point but were lucky enough to realize it was the best thing going and we turned around and claimed it after a bit of exploring and backtracking.  This old logging landing on a ridge turned out to be one of the best camp spots ever.  It was full of blooming bear grass, rhododendron, penstemon and several other wildflowers all in full bloom on a forest ridge with nobody around and as it turned out, nobody passed the entire time we were there.

Dream Camp
Dream Camp

 

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We went to sleep with millions of stars overhead.  We woke up to all kinds of wildflowers, sunshine and quiet.

 

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Oh, yeah, that extra goal (#3) was achieved first, see the rhodies in bloom…oh boy they were in bloom.

 

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When you wake up to this as your view out the back door, you know you are in the right place.

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It was hard to leave.  But leave we did.  Maybe we’ll make it back for an extended stay.  Off to Opal Lake for the first stop of the day.  We had it to ourselves, except for the giant trees and a few rough skinned newts.

Opal Lake
Opal Lake
Newt
Newt

On it was to Opal Creek to see the big trees and clear water and the watershed that in some ways served as the last big battlefront in the old growth timber wars in Oregon.  (Oh yeah, goal #1….)

Opal Creek Woods
Opal Creek Woods

Holy cow was it crowded!  On the way out we counted 176 cars, there were likely over 200 when we arrived, based on the open spots later in the afternoon on the way out.  Oregon’s last ‘wild’ spot indeed.  But it was a good walk in the woods and wow was the water clear.

Opal Pool
Opal Pool

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By the time we made it back to the trailhead it was time to find a spot to spend the night.  It turns out our best bet would have been to head back to our dream spot on the ridge, but alas, hindsight.  Linn County put us up for the night in one of their parks.  And we weren’t far from our next day objective (#2), Silver Falls State Park.

Another beautiful day met us for a few day hikes to some highlights of Silver Falls.  There are 8 main falls accessible from a loop trail system with over 9,000 acres to explore.  They are the type of falls you may have only seen in dreams or pictures, falls you can walk behind, falls that spill majestically down to pools below.

South Falls
South Falls

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We made the hike to see the falls, many I had not seen since living in Oregon for 19 years.  Sometimes you overlook the obvious.  Before long it was time for a quick lunch and a trip back to the dry, and thankfully less humid side….

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