Adventures, Fall, hiking

Hike — Baskett Slough NWR and Dallas City Park

Today Kangaroo wanted to do a local hike, so we went to the Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge. Then we planned to go to the Dallas City Park to look for painted rocks.

Baskett Slough is a refuge for many threatened and endangered species — go here to see a list of animals and plants you can find there — but it is mainly a refuge for the dusky Canada goose, and we saw quite a few geese flying overhead while we were there (we promptly got under the information sign roof just in case!) I knew it was going to be chilly but didn’t realize the wind would be blowing so hard, and me without my warm hat! It took awhile for my ears to warm up after we got back in the truck!

Why do I look like I’m missing a tooth in this photo?

Much of the refuge was closed for the comfort of wintering wildlife, so we did a couple of short loops and then went up to the observation deck that looks over part of the refuge.

Kangaroo on the observation deck, with my shadow.

View from the observation deck.

After our short hike at Baskett Slough, we made our way to Dallas (a small town near Salem) to walk in the city park. The park has a botanic garden/arboretum and people will often hide painted rocks there. While we were there Kangaroo found four painted rocks!

First painted rock, a Thanksgiving turkey

Second painted rock, I think a narwhal.

Interesting plants we had never seen before.

Another view of the interesting plant. Unfortunately, while many plants in the garden have labels, this one didn’t.

Kangaroo searches for painted rocks behind an informational sign.

Informational sign about a historic log flume.

Third painted rock.

Kangaroo re-hid this green rock in some green moss.

Kangaroo searches for painted rocks near the river.

Fourth painted rock — Kangaroo reached for it and touched the bug, ha. Ew!

Back of the fourth painted rock. Many rocks will have information on the backs, such as Instagram or Facebook pages where you can record that you found the rock and where.

I didn’t find any painted rocks, I usually don’t, but I did find another treasure…

A nest!!

I found this nest! Nobody was home at the time.

Then we wandered over to the other part of the park where you can see part of the disc golf course (and Kangaroo’s new truck in the background). One of the disc golfers was in the river when we got over there and had just fished out his disc. Since temps were in the 30s (F) I thought it must have been a pretty wonderful Frisbee for him to want to take such a “refreshing” dip! They had strange music playing from a backpack.

View from the bridge down to where the golfer was fishing out his disc.

There is this adorable sculpture of three bears made out of a stump. The larger bear’s face is no longer there, but this smaller one is still intact.

This park still has swings!!

And then there were these guys — this one’s so plump he can hardly waddle! SO CUTE!! Aside from the squirrels having been preparing for winter by eating, I imagine people do give them treats at the park. Our squirrels at home have a whole walnut tree to eat from and they aren’t nearly this roly-poly!

On the way home we decided to eat lunch at the Café 22 restaurant. I hadn’t been there since Mom became ill. Kangaroo had a BLTA wrap and I had a burger with pepperjack cheese and avocado. I hadn’t had a burger in a long time and it was quite good! And after all that we were home by 1:30 p.m.!

Inside Cafe 22 restaurant.

Just keep walking!

~Ninja

Animals, Fall, Family

Turkeys

Wild turkeys at Mom and Dad’s.

This is the view of the neighbors’ property from Mom and Dad’s kitchen window. I saw a couple of the turkeys run down the little hill, ha! There was a tire swing in the tree and a two-story fort to the right of the tree when we were kids.
Adventures, Fall, hiking

Hike — Marion Lake and Falls

Last week Kangaroo suggested we hike at Marion Lake and Falls up near Detroit, Oregon, so that’s where we headed Friday morning. In prior years we have seen some nice fall color there, and we looked forward to getting some good autumn photos.

Kangaroo had assured me that the trailhead did indeed have bathroom, and I was thankful for that, even though we always stop at the rest stop on Highway 22 on the way to our hikes. We also always get coffee on the way to our hikes, and since I have coffee at home too I usually need the rest stop and a trailhead restroom. A restroom is always better than trying to “go” in the woods, although this pit toilet wasn’t that much better. Whew, it smelled! Going in the woods would have been less stinky, that’s for sure.

We started up the trail and came to a major water crossing, ha.

Sweet Pea and Kangaroo at the water crossing.

The trail is in the Willamette National Forest, and since it is also in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness you need to get a permit to hike here. I navigated the permit website with no problem and paid the $1.00 per person for the online permit system, and printed out our permits, which I carried in my backpack.

First, we came to Ann Lake, or Lake Ann, depending on which map you look at. The outlet for this lake goes underground and the trail is over the top of it, you can hear the water rushing underneath the rocks as you go by.

Ann Lake outlet area.

Ann Lake

Another view of Ann Lake

The trail next to the lake.

Fall color.

Further up the trail you come to the “secret” trail to Marion Falls. It isn’t marked and you have to look for the log with an arrow carved into it. It is a little ways past this sign on the Marion Outlet trail.

The trail to the waterfalls is easy enough to follow once you find the beginning of it. We made our way to the falls with just a few logs to climb over. The trail looked a lot more “used” since we had been there a few years before, AllTrails now has it on their site so I suppose more people have been able to find it.

We came to the trail that leads down steeply to Marion Falls, and then continues to Gatch Falls. Kangaroo felt like her feet weren’t cooperating with her, so Sweet Pea and I made our way down the viewpoint for Marion Falls.

Heading down to the waterfall.

On my way down I heard Sweet Pea call my name and looked up to see two young forest rangers, and I assumed they wanted to check our permits. They made their way to me and I got out the permits for the ranger to check. He okayed them and asked if I’d found the website easy to navigate and I said I had, it is very self-explanatory. They continued on down to the base of Marion Falls and to the next waterfall to check things out. They each had a shovel and said they always carry them to use to put out a fire or bury human waste, or anything else one would use a shovel for.

The rangers at the bottom of Marion Falls.

Marion Falls

Sweet Pea coming back up from the waterfall. She was careful not to bang her shin on the rocks like I did.

The Way Up.

Top of Marion Falls.

Kangaroo on the trail.

Sweet Pea and I chose not to scramble down to the base of the falls or down to the next waterfall. Someday we’ll see that one too.

After we found Marion Falls, we came back to the Marion Outlet trail and headed for Marion Lake. The lake outlet has a bridge over it that leads to Marion Mountain, which if you go there makes for a much longer hike with a lot of elevation gain.

Kangaroo gets the shot of a big log jam on Marion Creek.

Me and Sweet Pea on the trail.
The outlet of Marion Lake.

Marion Creek as it leaves the lake.

Kangaroo gets the shot.

Above Marion Lake.

The trail.

Some ducks. They all went into the water in a row when we came up. The first one waited until the last duck got into the water before she started off across the lake.

Marion Lake with Three-Fingered Jack in the background.

Marion Lake.

Kangaroo, Ninja, and Sweet Pea

On the way home we stopped in Detroit at a BBQ food cart and I had a pulled pork sandwich and coleslaw. It was tasty and a bit expensive. The two restaurants we used to stop at in town burned to the ground in the forest fires a couple of years ago, and while people have been rebuilding homes neither of the restaurants shows any signs of rebuilding. It’s too bad, because we enjoyed stopping in Detroit after our hikes and there isn’t much in the way of food selection there anymore.

It was a beautiful day for a hike!

Just keep walking!

~Ninja

Fall, hiking, Photos

Hike – Sahalie and Koosah Falls

Yesterday we hiked the Waterfall Loop at Sahalie and Koosah Falls, near McKenzie Bridge, Oregon. You walk on the McKenzie River Trail for a couple of miles and then turn back to do the loop.

It was a beautiful day weather-wise, but so chilly in the morning that I had to start out in my puffy coat! Marnie’s car told us that it was 39 F while we were on our way to the falls.

We parked at the Sahalie Falls viewpoint parking lot. There is a convenient restroom there. Walking from the parking lot you shortly get to this Sahalie Falls viewpoint.

Kangaroo, Ninja, Sweet Pea at Sahalie Falls

Sahalie Falls

After Sahalie Falls, the trail follows the McKenzie River down to the Carmen Smith Reservoir.

McKenzie River

There are quite a few stairs to go down on the way to Koosah Falls, if you do the loop in a clockwise direction.

Kangaroo and Sweet Pea descending the stairs.

The Trail

Kangaroo gets the shot.

Sweet Pea admires the riverscape.

Neat hollow log.

McKenzie River

It isn’t long until you get to the viewpoints for Koosah Falls.

Koosah Falls

Koosah Falls

The sound of the river and the waterfalls is loud but soothing during this hike.

Here the McKenzie River flows into the Carmen Smith Reservoir. The Reservoir is stocked with trout so is a good place for fishing and boating, but it is closed until sometime in 2023 to address sinkhole concerns. You go across the reservoir road bridge to get to the trail on the opposite side.

Carmen Smith Reservoir

There is a convenient restroom available near the reservoir and right next to the trail that continues around the loop. We took a restroom and snack break before heading up the trail on the opposite side of the river.

Convenient restroom.

Trail goes this way.

Wasp nest (?) in the cleft of a tree. Thankfully, nobody was home.

The trail.

A bit of fall color coming out.

Tiny plants on a rock.

Then we came at Koosah Falls from a different angle:

Mist from Koosah Falls.

Koosah Falls

We followed the river back to Sahalie Falls:

A picture of Kangaroo taking a picture of Sahalie Falls.
Sahalie Falls from the other side.

We could see that some kids had gone down to the bottom of the falls. It is generally thought to be unsafe to do that. When they started slipping and pushing each other, we couldn’t watch lest one of them go in the water. Without a miracle it is doubtful one could survive a fall into the McKenzie River here, especially without a life jacket!

Below Sahalie Falls — some kids had gone down from the first viewpoint area.

The McKenzie River above Sahalie Falls.

Bridge back over the McKenzie River.

McKenzie River flowing under the bridge.

Big log jam in the river.

The trail.

We eventually came back around to Sahalie Falls, where there is another viewpoint deck.

Sahalie Falls from the upper viewpoint.

Below Sahalie Falls from the upper viewpoint.

Unfortunately some people had carved or written words all over the railings of the upper viewpoint, which we didn’t consider kind, good, or loving no matter what their words say.

The view from the upper viewpoint was great and none of us had ever seen that view of Sahalie Falls before. None of us had hiked the Waterfall Loop before either, so that was new and fun to do. Kangaroo and I had hiked at Sahalie and Koosah Falls a few times, but had never gotten around to doing the Loop. We enjoyed our little hike and were glad to see things we hadn’t seen before! Kangaroo has expressed interest in backpacking the 25-mile-long McKenzie River Trail, and we did see some campsites available along the trail.

After our hike we decided to eat lunch on our way home and went to Takoda’s restaurant in Rainbow, after a stop at the Obsidian Grill to find that they weren’t serving lunch that day. Takoda’s is nice and I think we will stop there again. They had a big Jelly Belly jelly bean machine and since there were cream soda flavored Jelly Bellys I had to get some. They were delicious. I didn’t get a photo of the jelly beans or the little dwarf African froggies in biospheres that the restaurant had for sale. I’m sure those froggies would be a whole blog post in themselves!

My grilled cheese with bacon and apples
Kangaroo had a turkey club, and Sweet Pea had a black bean burger.

We enjoyed our day and have planned a pretty hike in the same area for next week. There are several trailheads in the central Cascades that require permits, and I was able to get one for the trail we chose. Tune in next week to read about that hike!

Just keep walking!

~Ninja

Fall, hiking, History

Hike — Willamette Mission State Park

On Saturday we went out to Willamette Mission State Park for a short hike. The ladies at church have asked me to lead a hike in October, and I wanted to recce and see where the picnic areas and bathrooms are on the trail I want to walk, and pick a good spot for everyone to meet. We parked at the first parking lot and walked about a mile and a half to the Filbert Grove day use area, where we started what was supposed to be a 4.2 mile loop. The park is fairly flat, no hills to worry about. I wanted something that pretty much anyone could do since I’m not sure of the fitness level of the ladies who might want to join us. I also wanted to find a good place to have a snack or lunch with the ladies.

Willamette Mission Park also has a lot of history, so I hope to be able to present some history of the park to the ladies as well. This year Oregon is celebrating 100 years of its State Parks system.

Jason Lee and the Willamette Mission
100 years of Oregon’s State Parks system.

Near the parking lot we passed some blackberry bushes and Linda had to give some a try.

Someone stuck a feather in this post.

The sky was very hazy due to some fires happening around the area. We didn’t smell smoke though, and didn’t have any trouble breathing. It was supposed to be sunny and 95 degrees, but I think the haze kept things a little cooler. The sun didn’t come out much at all.

Hazy sky
The sun looked like this (zoomed in)

On our way to the Filbert Grove, we stopped to use the bathroom and saw some horses. The riders were standing on a picnic table to get up onto the horses! There are many equestrian trails at the park.

Once we got to the Filbert Grove area, we took a path that led to the 4.2-mile Willamette Mission Loop, found on the AllTrails app. The loop is on mostly paved paths with a smaller part on dirt trails. On our walk we detoured a bit to go to the Wheatland Ferry dock to watch the ferry for a minute. A man went down to the water to fish for wide-mouth bass.

Wheatland Ferry
Someone left these headphones on the little bridge (?)
The man caught a bass and was getting out his phone to take a photo. He let the fish go after he got a picture of it.

Here is some more of the history of the park. The Willamette Station of the Methodist Mission was started across the lake there in 1834. Some “ghost buildings” have been placed to represent the first mission buildings that were built on that site.

If you zoom in on this photo you can read the history of the Mission.
Mission “ghost buildings”.

On the walk you can see the nation’s largest black cottonwood tree across the lake.

Nation’s Largest Black Cottonwood
Cottonwood sign. You can see the tree in the background.

Marnie is very good about picking up trash along the way. She found more than one cigarette butt. Really, smokers? I mean, come ON.

Marnie does trail maintence.

Dirt trail.

Paved path.

There were still a few flowers and berries left here and there.

Mystery berries. We didn’t eat any.

Teasel

Pine tree.

Rose hips.

Osprey nest.

They have their own sign.

There were no ospreys in the nest that we could see, which was too bad. I guess it isn’t time for osprey babies. We saw many birds and squirrels during the day and a couple of deer that were too far away to get a photo of them, and one of these orange and black caterpillars. We wondered what kind of butterfly those turn into. (Edit: They turn into the Isabella Tiger Moth.)

Wooly Bear caterpillar.

The loop was supposed to be 4.2 miles, but somehow all our various devices said we walked between 8.5 and 10 miles. With the extra mile and a half each way back to the car from the loop start we would have added 3 miles, but we wouldn’t have made it to 8 or 10 so I’m not sure how that happened. My feet sure felt like it was more than 4.2 though! We had a good walk and I know a lot more than I did about how to plan for the ladies’ hike in October.

A warm and hazy day.