Let me tell you the story of our hike last Saturday. “Story”, since it’s not like anything eventful happened. Mostly I want an excuse to show you pictures. Oh, that reminds me – I want to preface all these pictures with something. Every picture and video posted here was taken by me on my phone’s camera. I have the resolution cranked all the way up, and for the still photos, I have HDR turned on. I don’t edit my photos, and I don’t use filters. (This is not a vanity or ego thing – I don’t have the patience or desire to spend that much time on my pictures.)
Anyway, I wanted a hike with waterfalls, but I didn’t want to drive all the way across the state to see the famous ones, like Multnomah Falls (two and a half hours away) or Klamath Falls (three hours away). Luckily for us, the Mackenzie River has a trail called the Waterfalls Loop Trail, and it starts less than 90 away from us.
We started at the Carmen Reservoir. The day was perfect.
The river was so clear it looked it looked chlorinated, and the water was so cold that the air on the banks felt like air conditioning. Everything smelled fresh and clean and clear and that reminds me of something I forgot to mention about our redwoods hike. That national park smelled SO GOOD. Margaret, wonder that she is, explained that the park has a lot of bay trees, and surprise surprise, they smell like bay leaves, and it was so freakin’ pleasant (and I am so glad we had Margaret to tell us that because otherwise I would not have been able to explain why it smelled so good). This forest did not smell like bay leaves, but it smelled like fresh, clean air, and it was so nice.
The path was clear and well-maintained (and by the waterfalls, it had big log railings that reminded John of Busch Gardens in Williamsburg), and the forest was beautiful.
And then we rounded the corner and saw the first of two waterfalls. (I think it was Koosah Falls.)
It was loud, of course, but I could have watched it for hours.
Speaking of well-maintained trails, I’m always tickled to find stairs in the woods. These were on the way up the river, past the first waterfall to the second (and the top of the loop).
So then we came to the second waterfall. Look at all that green! I can’t get over how nearly neon it was.
Then of course we asked someone to take our picture. Not great, but whatever.
So we climbed to the top of that waterfall and kept following the trail, but when it was time loop back, we weren’t ready. There was another path that was supposed to lead to Clear Lake (never heard of it, but it sounded promising), so we figured we’d follow that for a little bit.
It led us here. We weren’t impressed.
We were going to turn back, but another hiker came by and pointed out that the trail continued on the other side of the road. That was awfully nice of her because that’s how we found
the Lake of Shining Waters Clear Lake.
It had a cool bridge going across the river.
We walked a little and turned around pretty quickly, but when we got back to the bridge, it had been overrun by tweens from sleepaway camp. There were at least 20 of them, daring each other to jump off the bridge, their camp counselors egging them on. I got video.
After that, we headed back to the waterfalls loop to go down the other side. We found where the trolls live.
And then as we got to the top of that upper waterfall, we climbed down from the actual trail to get closer to the water and I found my new favorite spot in the whole world.
That’s where the water plunges down, that horizontal line of frothy water with trees above it (beyond it). My toes were an inch from the waterline on the bank.
I crouched down under a tree to get the water rushing over rocks inches away.
Shifting my focus upstream, look at how clear it is and then how cold it looks.
And then there was this spot, where I could sit up against a tree with the water rushing by below and the dropoff 30 feet ahead.
We stopped here for a while.
And, well, John was hot, so he tested the temperature.
We did eventually head back down the trail, and we found ALL the rainbows at the first waterfall.
This next picture is why I mentioned all that stuff about not editing and not using filters. I have done nothing to this picture to make it look like this.
It’s my favorite. Occasionally I get lucky. And that day, I was very happy to be on that trail.