Monday, July 17, 2017

Bull of the Woods LOVE

I had just been camping on the Rogue and Umpqua rivers, come home for a night to celebrate my husband's birthday, and wanted to squeeze the last precious sands of time out of a holiday weekend. On Sunday afternoon, I drove to the Whetstone Mountain trail in the Bull of the Woods Wilderness with my friend Corrine. As we entered the forest, this purple trillium was striking.
It was still spring in the Bull of the Woods. I enjoyed seeing Trillium and still a bit of snow.
The trail descended steeply for a short time and then started climbing.
We climbed through the beautiful forest and I knew I was already in love with this place, then we started seeing mountains! Mt. Jefferson in the distance.
We came up onto a high saddle and soaked in the view and the sunshine.
The rhododendrons were blooming all over the place!
Sheer Joy. Connected to my strong body, open to the gifts of this place, grateful for a friend to share it with.
Cliffside view.
In my element- we continued our climb and then started descending down to the twin lakes to complete an 8 mile day. We got a late start- about 2:30pm but we made pretty good time.
Lower Twin lake- I thought not a lot of people came to this amazing spot but it was PACKED with campers.
The upper lake did not look as accessible and we headed back to the lower lake, checking out any potential flat spot.
We claimed a very small patch of dirt, trying hard not to trample any flowers in the process. It was getting to be a bit on the late side and we needed to call it a day.
I made this yummy stroganoff meal with pork jerky, sweet potato noodles, coconut cream powder, and dried okra. It was a tad "al dente" because I was impatient but the flavor was quite delicious.
In the morning I spent some time filtering water and we found a patch of lake to enjoy after some other campers packed up and left.
After breakfast we headed back up the hill toward the saddle.
All my favorite flowers are hearty in this wilderness- paintbrush.
Enjoyed some more rhododendrons.
We took a side trail up Whetstone Mountain and got quite the views of Mt. Jefferson.
Corrine on top of the world.
The viewpoint was amazing. We could see the three sisters.
We spent some time gazing at the mountains before heading out for the drive home.
Bull of the woods is so great! I think I may have found my new favorite backpacking destination in Oregon!
We completed our 10 mile day and headed home- making the most of every moment of the holiday weekend.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Southern Oregon Waterfall Getaway

I had spent part of the week in a hotel in Medford for a work conference and was excited that at the end, some coworkers wanted to go on an adventure in route home. We picked up supplies in Medford, and visited National Falls a little past where we were camping on Union Creek.
National falls was lovely, powerful, and woodsy.
We enjoyed exploring this waterfall for a bit and feeling the spray after the warm drive.
Back at the campsite, we enjoyed a fire and a lovely meal.
We were camped right next to the Rogue River. I took a hike up to the Rogue Gorge.
Rogue Gorge was amazing!
We enjoyed a restful night by the river and the next day took a hike to the natural bridge.
Hiking by the river was great and the natural bridge area was really interesting. It is cool to see how lava has shaped so much of this area.
We spent some time at the natural bridge and then hiked back to the campsite.
Since my colleges did not get to see Rogue Gorge, we headed back there in the car.
The water down below was so clear and powerful!
 
It was nice to see it for a second time!
After enjoying the Rogue Gorge we continued to drive the loop past Diamond Lake. The directions I had turned into Clearwater falls via an earlier turn. The road ended abruptly so we hiked down the road to the waterfall. On the other side there was a paved picnic area and info. Our way was more fun!
The water was pretty clear and I loved all the mosses!
I took a little time to put my feet up.
Next we visited Whitehorse falls. This one had a large pool at the bottom. If I hadn't been sitting in a car and the bugs weren't so bad, I might have been tempted to jump in.
Little Whitehorse falls was small but very pretty.
I spent a little time checking out the rock in the middle of the stream.
 
The next waterfall we visited was called Watson Falls. This one required a bit of a hike up to a viewpoint.
The cliff was impressive. This was not a swimming waterfall but it was quite the long drop.
Our final waterfall of the day was Toketee Falls. I really enjoyed this tree to welcome us on to the trail.
Toketee Falls was really unique with the rock formations around it.
We enjoyed gazing at this last waterfall from the viewpoint which felt like climbing into a treehouse for a view.
We set up camp for the night at Toketee Lake.
The lake was pretty but the bugs were pretty heavy so it was hard to enjoy for very long. My coworker had a cast iron sandwich maker that was really fun to use in the fire.
There were still a few wildflowers near the lake.
In the morning before heading home I decided to take a hike on the Umpqua River.
I kept my layers on to protect from bugs, whenever I paused even briefly for a picture they came after me.
I enjoyed this mossy trail and the hike along the water.
I made it almost to the hot springs but decided there was no way I was going to remove layers of clothing due to the swarm of bugs and it looked like there was potentially a tricky stream crossing, so I decided my morning hike had gone far enough and headed back. It was great to spend time with coworkers and see a new part of Oregon. What a lot of amazing waterfalls!