After our arrival on Thursday and trip to Elk Creek Falls on Friday we mostly vegetated for the weekend although we did have to modify our original Monday plan for Crater Lake National Park. There’s a fire on the west side of the lake with the smoke blowing to the east…directly across the lake. As of Sunday afternoon the area around the visitor center which is about 7 o’clock on the drive around the almost circular lake was issued a category 1 evacuation order…which means get ready to leave. With that in effect…and about 1/4 of the drive around the lake having the road closed as the fire boundary was the road from about 8 to 10 o’clock…add in the lack of visibility over the lake and the 7-8 hours of driving we would have had…and well, we decided to punt Crater Lake for this trip. Maybe next time. We also cancelled the Rogue River Gorge visit as it was to be on the way to Crater Lake and although it’s not being affected by the Crater Lake fire there is another one south and west of the gorge so there was some smoke there and it would still have been a 4-5 hour drive.
Instead…Connie planned a visit to two falls north and east of Canyonville…Yakso Falls first and then Susan Creek Falls. We passed on the supposedly more famous Toketee Falls…the tour guide says they’re the best but from the photos we looked at the two we picked were just as scenic…and more importantly less popular and we like those kinds of hikes better. Although the total drop of Toketee is more…113 versus about 80-90…Toketee has an upper 28 foot drop and a lower 85 foot drop and the upper one isn’t really visible from the trail so height wise they’re about the same. The only advantage Toketee really has is it’s more of a straight drop through the air and our choices are more the down the rocks type…both are fine but we don’t really prefer either and the crowd at the more well known Toketee…along with the additional 30 or so miles of driving each way…made the difference for us.
So off we went…originally the GPS wanted us to go up the freeway to Roseburg and then east…but about halfway to Roseburg she told us there was a faster way…so naturally we took it…it obviously was…well let’s call it a less traveled road and be generous…but we figured the view would be better than the freeway anyway. Eventually we reconnected with the originally route to the falls paralleling the North Umpqua River…and on into the Umpqua National Forest. There…the road got even skinnier and degraded to a dirt/gravel road the last 7 miles to the Lake in the Woods Campground where the trailhead was. We saw precisely zero cars and zero people the last 15 miles into the campground, on the hike, and the 15 miles back out.
After parking we changed into hiking boots, gathered up water, cameras, tripod, food, and hiking sticks and set off on the 1.5 mile round trip 125 foot up and back hike. It was cool, shady, and as previously noted completely empty of people…and unfortunately wildlife as well. We did hear some sort of bird up on the side of the cliff partway in but couldn’t spot him. Like many of the waterfalls in this area of Oregon…there is a river running through a fairly wide gorge downhill with many narrower side gorges off of it…with a waterfall at the dead end of the side gorge…so you’re hiking into and back out of a dead end gorge. Pretty nice hike…luckily most of the uphill was on the way out…on a well maintained and obviously pretty well used…although not today…trail.
After the photos and a snack we headed back to the car and then to our second scheduled stop for the day…which was when we discovered a slight navigational problem. Although we had downloaded the location of the second falls on Apple Maps…that app didn’t have the Forest Service road on it so could not find a route…and we didn’t know the coordinates of the second fall so we couldn’t put them into our Garmin app which did have the Forest Service road. Undeterred…we just decided to head back towards the town of Glide and we would eventually get cell signal again. On the way we took these shots at one of those “Falling Rocks’ signs you frequently see on the roadside in mountain terrain…I guess they’re just going to leave the rocks on the road permanently since it’s a low traffic road. I guess after you support all of the freeloaders they have out here on the Left Coast there isn’t much money left for road repairs.
We stopped and had ice cream for lunch…it was from the Umpqua Creamery and was really, really good…obviously not the lo cal/lo fat stuff. Mountain Blueberry Revel it was…and it was tasty. After that we headed off for our second hike…Susan Creek Falls…again off of the North Umpqua River.
Susan Creek Falls hike was (a) a lot warmer as it was up into the 80s by then, (b) less shady as it wasn’t really as far into the woods, and (c) much more crowded. On the way out…0.95 miles and 80 feet…it was really about a half mile hike tops but it had been made accessible for wheelchairs so it had way more switchbacks than it needed…we saw a dozen couples coming out and when we got there there were 6 or 8 local high schoolers there. They messed up the photos with their presence but luckily left within a few minutes after we arrived and we were alone the remainder of our time there. On the way out we only saw 2 couples and we stopped and talked to the second for a few minutes about RV full timing…they’re currently about half timing but the wife wasn’t ready to give up the house. They were staying at an RV park just outside the entrance to Crater Lake National Park and confirmed our decision to skip it…too much smoke so the blue of the lake wasn’t visible at all…a bust from a photo point of view.
We got some great shots at Susan Creek Falls though.
There’s Neil up on the top left getting his tripod setup…luckily the kids left a few minutes later and we had the place to ourselves.
A shot from where he was standing in the photo above…the kids were still here at this time but out of the frame.
Close-up of the small overflow from the main falls pool.
Connie got all the wildlife shots here while Neil was doing the bracketed tripod mounted ones of the falls…she moved around and spotted things to take shots of other than the waterfalls which is what she typically does.
We hiked back to the car and were pretty well done in by the time we got there…was up into the low 90s by this time and we headed home. We did stop by the hardware stores looking for some BR3020 circuit breakers but we’re still looking for them.
Interesting things found on the net.
I guess he didn’t have AFLAC!!
I’m not sure whether this is poor design…or absolute genius design.
Here’s a guy looking for a partner…but he doesn’t want any weirdos.
The cow dragon.
More small town police blotter stuff.