March 30, 2014.
I’m a bit of an obsessive planner. Especially when it comes to off-season hikes. I love them, and I’m willing to deal with some uncertainty on my own. But when it comes to taking out a group, I’d like to have a few variables figured out ahead of time. So I recruited Aaron to come out with me and hike the trails I’d be leading for the Mazamas next week.
First we made a brief stop at Salmon Falls. We parked in a long-forgotten parking lot and walked past a warning sign in three languages: English, Spanish, and maybe Russian? Wait, not one warning signs. MANY warning signs. Clearly people had gotten into trouble here more than once.I guess being so close to the road makes it accessible to pretty much anyone, and on a hot day I can imagine it would be tempting to jump in.
A short and poorly maintained trail led to a viewpoint of a short and wide waterfall. It was mesmerizing to watch. A large log tumbled indefinitely in a whirlpool at the base of the falls. Greenery draped down from every possible location, loving the cool and wet microclimate near the river.
After that quick adventure, it was on to the Henline Mountain trailhead.
3.75 mi. | 2200′ ele. gain | 3 hr.
The “parking area” was not more than a wide spot in the road where a few vehicles can pull out of the way. Certainly not a place that attracts swarms of visitors. The trail took off abruptly uphill, leaving us breathless within minutes. Soon we saw our first patches of snow on the trail.
In about 20 minutes we came to a short use path that led to a rock outcrop. From there we could see hills, clouds, waterfalls and all sorts of pretty things.
Shortly after returning to the trail we hit snow for good. And from there it was a slog to the summit. We were able to stay on trail (I think) and got to the rocky ridge that Sue and I had negotiated in deep snow on a prior adventure.
The final bits of the ascent brought us better views of the distant hills, but the clouds prevented any really big vistas. I closed my eyes and imagined what it would look like on a bluebird day.
After a nice lunch break at the top we hightailed it back to the car in good time. We still had another hike to do!
0.75 mi | 200′ ele. gain | 45 min.
At the Henline Falls trailhead I noticed a sign for Ogle Mountain Trail, something I’d have to look into for a future hike. I’d only done the short walk to the falls.
The trail was short and quite scenic. Greenery packed every inch of the landscape. Mosses and ferns tumbled down the rocky hillsides. Little streamlets begged for attention as they formed small cascades on the way to the named waterfall. Hey, those were beautiful too.
At the end of the trail, we paused to look at Henline Falls roaring over the cliff to our right. Another nameless falls poured down the hill straight in front of us. It was a glorious sight.
Behind the falls, there was a little cave that begged to be explored. We went inside. It was a man-made tunnel that ended at a gate. The best viewpoint was actually from inside the tunnel looking out. We could see and feel the force of the water pouring over us. Rugged little plants clung tightly to the rock walls, swaying in the breeze created by the waterfall. Magical.
And on the way back, we saw some blooming trillium. A sure sign of spring! Looking forward to repeating this little adventure next weekend.