Its our last gasp in Oregon. We’re at a very nice campground east of Cottage Grove: Schwartz Campground at the foot of Dorena Dam. It’s a Corp of Engineers site so the rate is $8 per day with my Senior Park Pass. It’s a good take-off place for visiting some of the waterfalls in the mountains. We’ll camp here for 3 nights and then start the trek home. A ranger told us there are some bald eagle nests in the campground so we’re going to look for them.
No bald eagles, but we did struggle up and down a very large, steep embankment to see Dorena Lake – very pretty. On Tuesday, we loaded up the Rav and went in search of waterfalls. We had 2 sets of detailed instructions on navigating the maze of roads that run through the mountains, the Oregon Atlas and the Garmin. As it turned out, both the roads and trails are marked (Hurray for the Forest Service!). Our first location was Spirit Falls, a short 1/3-mile walk. The falls were really nice and we spent a pleasant hour there. When we returned to our car, two vans of elderly folk, kids and dogs were parking. We got out just in time.
Our next destination was Moon Falls. This walk through lush forest was all of a ½-mile. It was another easy-to-photograph location, though the sun was starting to gleam on the water, creating hot spots and dark shadows. Both locations had picnic tables right by the falls, a nice amenity. As we headed back, we ran into the same large group we had seen earlier.
So far, it had been mostly cloudy, with blue sky and sun appearing intermittently. We found our third waterfall, Parker Falls, and began more of an uphill trek, 0.8 mile. This trail had a few obstructions. One was a huge tree that was laying across the trail. The options were to lay across it and belly over it which Dave did. He started to slide down a little and I knew my option was to crawl under it through the very small space. Thoughts of spiders and ticks filled my mind but I grit my teeth and did it. Ten feet away was another huge trunk but it had a rough step hewn through most of the trunk. Then it was over and under some birch or aspen trunks. The remainder of the trail was in good repair. There is an upper and lower Parker Falls. We panted our way to the upper falls and Dave scrambled down to a better viewpoint, but I decided to skip it and go down to the lower falls. That trail ended in a narrow canyon that had huge trunks impeding access to the foot of the falls. Watching Dave balance his way across rotten tree trunks convinced me this was not the spot for me. Abandoning my beloved, I started the return to the car.
The weather had gotten grayer and it began to shower as I walked alone. It wasn’t exactly a dark and stormy night, but my imagination turned black rocks and tree stumps into bears and I hurried along. A serious shower began as I got close to end of the trail and I was pretty wet when I got in the car. One Oreo cookie later, I was snug and reading my book until Dave got back. I drove the 20-some miles back to camp and we listened to on-again, off-again showers the rest of the night. The recorded movie of choice was “Repo Man”, the old 1984 film about Repo Men trying to repossess an old Chevy Malibu that is apparently transporting dead aliens. Not as good as we remember it, but okay for a rainy night.
The next day we went back for more waterfalls. The first spot, Brice Creek, was a flat trail trailing along the Creek. Very pleasant.
Dave and I split up for the next hike. I wasn’t ready to climb 1,000 feet, so I hiked to Trestle Falls while Dave went up to Upper Trestle Falls. He got the better photographic opportunity while I took an easier hike. It is a little scary for me hiking alone, but I clambered over a slippery log and butt-hiked over some slippery rocks. It’s easier when nobody watches you hitching yourself up in a most ungraceful manner. I got back to the car before Dave did and had coffee and cookies while watching it shower and reading my next book “A Windup Girl”. Sci-Fi at its best.
That was it for the hikes. On Thursday, we started to drive south and spent a nice night in Crescent City at the same RV park we stayed at on the way north. We finished off our potato chips with Cuba Libres and chatted with our next-door neighbor while his Black Lab retrieved balls. Ah…It’s a good life.
On Friday, our 220-mile trip south was enlivened by two events. One was stopping at the Trees of Mystery to photograph a very large Paul Bunyan and his blue ox, Babe. The exhibit was hilariously enhanced by the fact that Paul talked to the visitors. Kids could ask him questions and he would answer. Evidence that a real person was doing the talking was provided when Paul had to ask “Could you repeat that? I didn’t hear you.” The little kids were entranced. The teenagers were more engaged by the fact that Babe had retained his not-so-private parts. As one girl goofed around in a manner I will leave unrevealed, Paul said “You’re making Babe a very happy Ox” and “That’s not a piñata!”
The other incident was when our Rav’s battery died. Luckily, we could pull over and Dave charged it off the Lazy Daze. We reached the Golden Rule RV Park around 4 p.m.
Naturally, with the biggest full moon of our lifetime, the campground was deep in a valley. No full moon for us. Instead, we drove into Willits and had Buster burgers.
Saturday, we sped the 120 miles back to San Francisco. After a couple of car fires, including a Volkswagon Beetle really blazing, we arrived home. This trip was done. We really enjoyed this one. We’ll be doing a different kind of trip in September: flying to New York for a week.