With the New Year starting, it’s fun to think back over the past few months and reflect on what was another great season of adventure in Central Oregon. This past summer started out a little rough (e.g., watching my camera and tripod tumble off of a 200-foot cliff), but it eventually gave way to a reasonably fruitful year. My efforts did not produce as many pure landscape images as I would have liked, but I tried to keep my options open and find a few good photos on every hike. That typically defaulted to me striking a pose in front of various Central Oregon landmarks–which is not exactly the fine art I would have liked to capture, but then again, I have a tough time passing on an opportunity to add to Pacific Crest Stock’s ever-growing Outdoor Adventure Gallery . . . so, here is a brief summary of some of my favorite hikes from 2010.
Mount Jefferson Wilderness Area: This was one of those impossibly challenging cross-country (i.e., “no trail”) treks that I planned (rather poorly) using Google Earth and a hefty dose of optimism. Although the approach looked fairly easy online, I quickly realized that I had been deceived and within a half-hour of leaving the Jeep, I was decidedly happy that I had chosen not to invite anyone else along on this little adventure. Anyone else would have surely killed me for dragging them up and down these remote valleys in what turned out to be a failed attempt to reach a never-before-visited viewpoint of Mount Jefferson. I thought for sure I was going to be killed and eaten by bears before making it out of the Wilderness on this day. About mid-way through the hike, I changed course and headed for the safety of the Jefferson Park area. This viewpoint isn’t quite what I planned, but then again, dying in the jowls of a hungry bear wasn’t necessarily part of the plan either.
Ochoco Mountains: This hike started out as a fairly nice evening stroll up along a wildflower-filled trail in the Ochoco Mountains. There’s a great viewpoint at the top of Lookout Mountain, but if you stay to take sunset pictures (like the one below), you better have a headlamp or be prepared to trail run out in the dark. Guess which one I did. Yep, I found myself sprinting back to the Jeep in total darkness. Real smart.
Smith Rock: These photos were taken on a great mountain biking trip to Smith Rock State Park near Terrebonne, Oregon. If you haven’t ridden at Smith Rock, put it on your list of 2011 Resolutions. It’s one of the most surreal places you will ever ride.
Three Sisters Wilderness: I was fortunate enough to get into the Three Sisters backcountry area on several different occasions in 2010. Each of these trips ranks among my favorites for the year.
Crooked River Canyon: Central Oregon has so many great desert scenes, it’s hard to choose where to go first. I spent quite bit of time this past Spring exploring the peaks and valleys surrounding the Deschutes River and Crooked River. Here are a few photos from some of my favorite desert hikes:
Other Miscellaneous Trips: There were lots of other great days in the past year where I was lucky enough to get outside and enjoy some fresh air. Here are a few miscellaneous photos from some of those days:
I hope that 2011 is as good to me as 2010. Cheers!
Posted by Troy McMullin
Shamefully I’ve never photographed one of Oregon’s most beautiful locations, Silver Falls State Park, until recently. As autumn was winding to a halt and snow was falling in Bend, I decided I wasn’t ready for winter and made a trip over Santiam Pass to this gem in the Oregon State Park system. Silver falls is one of the places that makes Oregon special. The fact that is not a National Park is a tribute to our states beauty. It is one of the Oregon State parks, Like Smith Rock State Park and Ecola State Park that would definitely be a national park if they were located in most other states in America. To view a beautiful fine art photograph of South Falls in Silver Falls State Park, visit this link, Silver Falls fine art print.
Silver Falls is located near Silverton, Oregon and was about a 2.5 hour drive from Bend in good weather. A great way to explore Silver Falls is to hike the “Trail of Ten Falls” which has a trailhead at the South Falls parking lot. At about 8 miles in length, the hike might not be for everybody but it is certainly not a technical hike. The image above is of South Falls from near the parking lot and visitor center. South Falls drops 177ft into a beautiful dark pool.
South Falls is one of the three waterfalls in the park that you can actually walk behind which is a fun experience for young and old. Continuing behind the falls will lead you accross an attractive foot bridge across Silver Creek which will connect you with the Trail Of Ten Falls. If you follow the Trail of ten falls, like I did, you will next stumble upon Lower South Falls which is pictured below.
There is beauty in every direction on this section of the trail of ten falls. The outflow from Lower South Falls is particularly beautiful and I was lucky enough to catch some late fall color with the gracefully flowing Silver Creek in the following Image.
While continuing along the trail of ten falls, you’ll fight sensory overload for over a mile before hearing the roar of the small but attractive Lower North Falls pictures below.
The trail throughout this state park is an exceptional tribute to Oregon’s natural beauty that cannot be overstated. The lush textures of this temperate rain forest combined with the rich earthy aromas of early autumn decay are unforgettable and two of the few things that my home town of Bend, Oregon lacks. Luckily, this green eden is only 2.5 hours away for a slow driver like myself. The trail passes a few smaller but still enchanting falls during its next stretch. Double falls, Drake Falls, and Middle North Falls are all enjoyed in this stretch of the Trail of ten falls. A side trail off of the trail of ten falls visits the very worth winter falls. This waterfall relies on heavier waterflows for its elegant form. If you visit Silver Falls State Park in the heat of summer, you might skip this detour as the falls may be absent. Below is Winter falls in its autumn glory.
this stunning waterfall does deserve inspection if there is enough water flow. Below is a closer image of Winter falls.
The trail is laden with life throughout this hike but particularly so between Twin falls and the Jaw Dropping North Falls. Below is a small bonus I found during this autumn hike.
In this startlingly beautiful hike, North Falls is truly one of the highlights. There are many good vantage points from which to view this 136 foot watery beauty.
North falls is easily accessible from the aptly named North Falls Parking lot. It is not to be missed! It is one of the waterfalls that you can walk behind if you can negotiate relatively easy sections of mossy lush wooded trail like the one pictured below.
One last view of North Falls as seen from near the underpass seems worthy to me. I was a little late for optimal fall color, but the scenery is stunning at any time of year in this wonderful State Park.
This park is just plain amazing and a worthy visit for explorers of any age. If you are traveling from Central Oregon I would highly recommend leaving early and planning on spending an entire day in this watery wonderland. One final recommendation. Stop at Rosie’s Mountain Coffe House in Mill City, Oregon along the way. The service is great and the food and drinks are even better. Excellent scones, flavorful coffee and the best cold cut sandwiches outside of Camp Sherman all served in a quaint roadside setting. It should be part of your Silver Falls State adventure if you are visiting from the Central Oregon area.
More of my great Oregon Waterfall images can be found at my Mike Putnam Photography site which can be visited by clicking the following link: Oregon waterfall photos
Thanks for reading,