Adventures, Animals, Antiquing, hiking

Hike – Miller Woods Conservation Area – Part 2

Here is part 2 of our hike to the Miller Woods Conservation Area near McMinnville, Oregon. Don’t forget to read Part 1 first!

After exploring the pond and field areas, we continued on to the forested areas. The trail was sticky mud in many places and I was glad I had on my waterproof boots!

Kangaroo getting a selfie of us while I get a photo of her, haha!

On the way to see a stream, we found this small plant with a protective fence around it — can you see the plant?

Very spindly shrub.

The plant had this label. Neither of us had heard of a Western Wahoo. Sounds like it should get to be rather a large shrub.

There were these nice benches scattered along the trail, and I thought those people knew how to build a trail right! Oh, how we wished for benches when we were hiking the PCT!

A lovely bench.

We reached this summit…

But this was the view…

In one area some trees had signs. We admitted we would have a difficult time telling the conifers apart without the labels!

Grand Fir

Douglas Fir

Another tree full of nesting boxes

This little guy was on the trail, quite aways up from the stream. We wondered how long it took him to climb all that way, and Kangaroo suggested he might be on a thru-hike 😃

Newt friend. (Photo by Kangaroo – she always gets the best wildlife photos)

This is actually a data collection site for snow. Considering that we seldom have snow here, I thought it was a strange location for it.

After the hike we planed to go to the little town of Lafayette, a few miles away, and go to the antique mall there. We didn’t find anything at the antique mall we couldn’t live without, but there were some interesting items. One was a giant buffalo head that was positioned next to the entry door (I believe they were asking $2700 for it!). Because of the moisture in the air, the poor buffalo smelled like wet dog, ugh! There was also a wonderful secretary desk with supports that automatically came out when you opened the door of the desk. So neat! I didn’t get photos of either of those, unfortunately!

Before we went in to the antique mall we walked a couple of blocks down to get some lunch. We went into the little “Cafeyette” and noticed a sign that said they were serving soup, but no other signs of food except pastries and coffee. I asked the lady what they had for lunch and she said they had sandwiches, ham and turkey. She suggested that olives on the sandwich would be delicious, so I chose to have everything except onions on my sandwich, and Kangaroo chose everything as well and did add onions. As they were making the sandwiches, the lady asked if we would like jalapenos, but we both declined. I got an Italian soda to drink and Kangaroo got a berry smoothie, and we sat down to wait for our sandwiches.

BIG yummy sandwich

The lady brought our sandwiches, and they were BIG and very yummy! While we were eating we noticed a man come in and look around. He asked us if there was a menu, and I replied, no, but there are sandwiches. He went up and put his order in and left the building, and when he came back he had an armful of yardsticks. I was about to comment on his yardstick haul when he said that he was going to be using them for projects, and that the man he got them from had only wanted 50 cents each for them so he bought them all. I said they were nice yardsticks too, and he asked us if WE wanted yardsticks, and we said sure, we’d love one, and he gave us each one. It’s a very nice, strong yardstick from the Power and Telephone Supply Company.

A very nice yardstick.

On the way home we came through Dayton towards West Salem, and I suggested we take the Wheatland Ferry since it would give us a straight shot home instead of going around through West Salem. The Boy works in the McMinnville area and takes the ferry home to Keizer most days. I hadn’t ridden the Wheatland Ferry since The Boy’s first ferry ride when he was a tiny baby! It was a nice adventure to end our day 😊

On the ferry

Leaving the ferry

Driving by the hops fields on the way home.

We enjoyed our hike and decided that we will go back to visit Miller Woods in the spring sometime when the birds and other critters will be out.

Just keep walking!

~Ninja

Adventures, hiking

Hike – Miller Woods Conservation Area – Part 1

Yesterday we hiked at the Miller Woods Conservation Area near McMinnville, Oregon. Kangaroo had discovered it on Google Maps and we hadn’t been there, so we wanted to check it out. The conservation area was donated to the Yamhill Soil and Water Conservation District in 2004 by Frieda Miller, who along with her husband had settled the 130 acres in 1967. They wanted the property to be used for nature education. Rain was forecast, and it was indeed raining when we got there. I got a lot of photos so this will be a bit of a long post!

The first thing we noticed when we drove in was this display of different kinds of nesting boxes for birds, bats, and bees. The one at the bottom middle of the photo above is a bat box. There is a small space between the front and back of the box, and the bats go up in there and nest. The photo below is the bee block for mason bees, which are great pollinators.

When we got to the trailhead, there was a group of elementary and middle school aged kids waiting to go on a nature hike. There were probably 13-15 kiddos and just a couple of adults to wrangle them. I thought they needed more adults, but we didn’t volunteer, ha.

We checked the maps and decided to go down to the pond on the Discovery Loop. It was about 0.3 of a mile and went around the pond.

We got down to the pond and saw a few interesting things, but no riparian wildlife. We assumed all the frogs and other pond-dwellers were hibernating.

Interesting tree with large branches growing on the ground.

The pond.
Cattails. They look a bit scruffy this time of year!

Some nesting boxes.

Turkeytail fungus on a log.

These wildlife cover boards with handles were scattered around the area.

Ohhhh…what will we find?

Nobody there!

We (I should say Kangaroo) lifted up the wildlife cover boards we found around the pond and didn’t find any creatures hiding. I was uncomfortable thinking about what we might find (snakes!) but no snakes were found. Along the trail there were more cover boards, and under the last one we did find this guy!

Salamander!!

Nifty gate for no reason – there is no fence on either side of it so it would be easily circumvented.

View from the floating dock.

Across from the pond there is a large field that is being restored as a native prairie. They have even resorted to hand-pulling to remove blackberries and daisies and other plants that are invasive.

Field with a line of nesting boxes on poles.

Prairie field

See Part 2 for the rest of the hike!

Adventures, hiking

Windy

This last weekend we set out to hike at Ecola State Park. We wanted to hike the trail to Indian Beach, since the last time we were at Ecola the trail was closed.

On our way to the coast we happened to see this rainbow and I got a quick photo of it. See it there right in the middle of the pic? It was a little brighter in person.

We got to the park and used the convenient restroom. Then we made our way to Chapman Point to look at the ocean and the wind.

It was very breezy and we spent some time at the point taking some video footage.

We walked to another side of the park and saw the Tillamook Lighthouse.

The Tillamook Lighthouse, or “Terrible Tilly”
Closeup.

After a little bit of exploring, we headed over to the Indian Beach trail.

Some film info about the area.

Start of the Indian Beach trail.

We started down the Indian Beach trail and crossed a little bridge, then almost immediately came upon a “logstacle”.

Now, I didn’t get a photo of the top of the larger log here, but it was perched precariously in the top of a standing tree and looked like it might let go at any second. Nevertheless, we crawled through these two logs and kept on. When we came to a much larger log across the trail, and noticed a few trees really blowing in the wind, we decided to forget the forest trails and head to Cannon Beach where there were no trees to fall on us.

We first stopped at a little park in town next to the beach. It had some neat historical info signs about Lewis and Clark, but the tide was in so far that we couldn’t actually make it to the beach.

Lewis & Clark whale story

Tide was way in.

We drove around to downtown Cannon Beach and parked in the public parking lot. We made our way to the beach and walked for aways south into the wind. The sand was blowing steadily toward us but thankfully wasn’t getting in our eyes. I imagine some of the dogs playing on the beach wished they had goggles, though!

Those white lines are lines of sand blowing in our direction.

Foam on the beach – the foam was also blowing across the sand.

Haystack Rock

The sun was trying to break through – way in the distance you can see the lighthouse.

Well…birds.

After walking for awhile and coming to a river that ran onto the beach, and not really wanting to find a place to cross, we decided to get lunch downtown. I was interested in going to this restaurant but there was a long wait time, and then I looked at the menu and it seemed very expensive. Kangaroo had spotted a fish-n-chips place down the street so we went there.

Oros’ Fireside Restaurant
These signs were on many of the historic buildings in town.

We went to Tom’s Fish and Chips and had…fish and chips. It was pretty good and very reasonably priced.

Delicious lunch

After we ate lunch I wanted to go to the famous bakery next door and see if they had some haystack bread for Mom. They did, but the loaves were so big and I didn’t know if it would stay good during the couple of days that would pass before I went out to Mom and Dad’s, so I didn’t get any bread. I got a couple of pastries for The Hubs and a cookie and then we walked back to Kangaroo’s truck and drove home. For not having “hiked” very much, I sure was tired when we got back!

Just keep walking!

~Ninja

Adventures, hiking

Hike — Silver Falls Backcountry

I’m a little late in posting about our hike last Thursday. Kangaroo planned a hike to the backcountry of Silver Falls State Park, so we set out early in the morning. We parked at the South Falls parking lot and noticed that these were being installed:

Electric vehicle chargers

Now, I didn’t get a photo of the rest of the parking lot, but it is quite large. We thought two chargers (with what looks like a two-car capacity on each one) didn’t seem like enough and that people will certainly be fighting over them! The park is quite a ways out from any town and people do come from far away, and it’s understandable that they might need to charge their electric car. I prefer my gasoline-powered vehicle and its 25-gallon gas tank that allows me to drive for quite awhile without filling up again.

We had been having quite a bit of rain and it did rain on us during this hike. The trail often looked like this (below) so we had to find ways around the puddles. I was wearing my waterproof hiking boots but Kangaroo was wearing her trail runners, so she understandably didn’t want to get into the water! We found ways around the puddles so our feet didn’t get too soggy, although Kangaroo did hit some deep mud with a couple of steps.

We walked through the main part of the park and across the highway to a campground, which was closed. Then we walked to the RV campground, which thankfully was open and had a nice clean restroom. When we hike we usually get coffee in town before we head out, and sometimes…well…it goes right through! We went through the RV campground to the nature trail and went into the backcountry from there. In the front country of the park there are many beautiful waterfalls, but in the backcountry there are some creeks but no waterfalls to speak of. Kangaroo had mapped our route on various trails, but we did check the maps at each intersection. The only problem with those maps is there aren’t any designations of “You are here” so you have to figure it out yourself, but the trails are marked well so you know which trail you’re on and which one is intersecting it.

We saw a few interesting mushrooms and fungi:

Here are some more photos:

Nice, dry trail

An interesting tree

Kangaroo gets the shot.

A little vignette near the conference center. It would be cute for a summer wedding!

It was a nice hike and a good workout in places, and we went about 8 miles. Kangaroo and I will hike rain or shine (or snow) so it didn’t bother us and we enjoyed ourselves as usual. Afterwards we went to the Dairy Queen and had our $7 lunches. After driving through the town of Silverton I thought we should pop back there sometime and go to the antique stores and little shops again, as I noticed a new vintage store. There are also some nice-looking restaurants that I wouldn’t mind trying out.

I came down with a cold the day of our hike and haven’t been feeling up to snuff except that I got miraculously better on Saturday and Sunday with just a little cough and sniffle. On Saturday I was preparing for our Christmas dinner we were having the next day on New Year’s Day, and of course Sunday was New Year’s Day when we had our dinner and gift-opening at Mom and Dad’s. I will do another blog post about that.

Just keep walking!

~Ninja

Adventures, hiking, Holidays, Keizer

Miracle of Lights

Last Friday Kangaroo, her daughter, and I did our “hike” through the Gubser neighborhood here in our town, where they put on a Christmas light show every year. Many of the houses are decorated with lights and a Christmas theme. Most people drive the route, but we walked and ended up going about 3.5 miles. Kangaroo got us light-up Christmas necklaces to wear so we would be seen while walking on the dark sidewalks. Here we are under an arch made of lights.

The Arch.

Many of the homeowners had decorated with inflatables, and we noticed that quite a few of the snowmen had fallen over. There were a couple of other characters that had lost some oomph, but we definitely noticed a trend of snowpeople not functioning properly, as opposed to, say, penguins or Santa Clauses.

Zoomed-in photo of snowman down.

We walked the whole route except for a couple of side streets, and saw many neat light displays, some with music and even video. (Photos by Kangaroo.) Towards the end a group from The People’s Church gave us candy canes and a card announcing their youth Christmas play. None of us went to the play that weekend, but it sounded interesting.

Sweet doggie and pups.

Here they fashioned a large gnome out of a shrub. Clever!

Then we saw this 🤣🤣

“What the heck, why change the decorations?”

“We wish you a Merry…um…”

I hope you’re having a very happy holiday season!!

Just keep walking!

~Ninja

hiking

Hike – Peavy Arboretum

On “Black Friday” Kangaroo suggested we hike at Peavy Arboretum, which is part of the Oregon State University Research Forests. There are quite a few trails to choose from, and we can find a good loop that suits our mood depending on the day. We usually #optoutside on the day after Thanksgiving instead of going out shopping (this year many stores had “Black Friday” prices online all of Thanksgiving week, so I’m not sure why anyone would have needed to go out at all on the Friday!)

There was a lot of fall color in the forest, and although rain was expected it didn’t actually rain on us. We are almost always blessed with rain-free day hikes, but we are happy to suit up in our waterproof gear and hike in the rain as well (except Sweet Pea – she refuses to hike in the rain!).

The Trail

On our hike we saw many dogs (I think 11 or 12). People often walk with their dogs off-leash on these trails and twice I thought there was going to be a dog fight, but thankfully the pups were friendly toward each other and just had a little playtime instead. Whew! We also saw a girl leading a horse with a family trailing along behind her. I think she was trying to get the horse used to different environments and surfaces, as she took it onto the large concrete porch of the OSU Forestry cabin and led it to a little stream to see if it wanted to drink. It didn’t look too enthused about the stream. The family was a dad-type person and a few kids, most of whom acted like they really didn’t want to be on a walk at all. As we passed them a second time the dad person was saying that his back was in pain again because one of the boys had pushed him. We waited for them to go by after using the Porta-Potty and taking photos at the Forestry cabin so we didn’t have to hear them arguing!

OSU College of Forestry cabin and the “Big Wheels”

Near the Forestry cabin is a small lake along with the OSU logging sports arena. I’m not sure if they hold events here or just use it as a practice area.

Cronemiller Lake

Here are some photos from one of our prior trips to Peavy, we didn’t visit the logging sports arena this time.

Kangaroo trying out the log roller.

Logging sports arena.

We did a small loop this time, and probably walked about 4.5 to 5 miles, depending on which gadget you ask (phones, watches, or Garmin InReach devices). They never all say the same thing, so we usually take whatever number is in the middle if we don’t already know the mileage of the trail we’re hiking.

More photos from our hike follow:

Witches Butter fungus.

Someone hung this wreath on a tree.

Big leaf maple leaf.

Redwood tree

On part of the trail the trees are labeled, which we appreciate.

Oregon White Oak

We discovered this on one of our other trips to the forest — hmm…doesn’t look quite right…

AHA!! This box is underneath it! There is a little scavenger hunt for kids to do in the forest and this is part of it.

Ponderosa pine, one of nine around a picnic shelter.

The commemorative plaque.

As usual our hike at Peavy was nice and we enjoyed it, and would recommend it as a good local hike. Afterwards we went to Dairy Queen in Monmouth and each had a $7 Buck Lunch (3 chicken strips, fries, drink, and small ice cream sundae). Not too long ago it was the $5 Buck Lunch, and we are still a bit miffed that the price has gone up, ha. I did not get a photo of our lunches, oops!

Just keep walking!

~Ninja

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

Adventures, Food, hiking, History, Philip

Hike – Silver Falls State Park

Kangaroo chose to hike at Silver Falls State Park yesterday because the teacher she works with was planning to do the Silver Falls Trail Run 7 Miler and she wanted to cheer her on. The Silver Falls Trail Runs include a 5K, the 7 Miler, a half-marathon, a marathon, and a 50K, in the main park and the backcountry of the park (where there are cougars and bears 😮). The longer races are qualifiers for other races like the Boston Marathon! The trail we took follows Silver Creek and is very scenic. It is called the Trail of Ten Falls, but we didn’t see all of them. We saw South Falls, Lower South Falls, Drake Falls, Middle North Falls, and Winter Falls on this day.

I present here the first video I have ever edited! It shows us going behind South Falls and Lower South Falls, and a video of Winter Falls.

Here are some photos of our hike. We just got drizzled on a couple of times (we needed our rain jackets more going under the waterfalls) and the rain didn’t really kick in until right after we got into the car to leave. We are blessed that that is the norm for most of our hikes in rainy weather!

Kangaroo and her friend who was running the 7-mile race.

The path to South Falls. This is one that is not far from the parking lot and probably the most popular for visitors.

South Falls

Behind South Falls looking down Silver Creek.

Witch’s Butter fungus. I call it the “mac-n-cheese” fungus!

Someone had fun with the race marking chalk!

Silver Creek

Some mushrooms.

Cat’s Tongue fungus

Drake Falls

Middle North Falls

Winter Falls

Trail up from Winter Falls

Kangaroo getting the shot of some little mushrooms.

Me also getting a shot of the little mushrooms.

The little mushrooms 😀

We stopped in the park gift shop on our way back but I didn’t get a photo of it. I should have, it is a cute log building with lots of fun stuff to buy! The log buildings in the park were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. For more info on the buildings and the park, go here. The store had a whole section of mushroom-related items, a t-shirt, a mushroom identifier card, and books, and other things. They have some cute stuffed birds that make authentic bird sounds. I picked some up and we heard two different kinds of woodpecker sounds and another bird I don’t remember the name of. They also have lots of stickers and other souvenirs.

On our way home we happened to see a sign for the Willamette Valley Pie Company and I suggested we drive over and try to find it. We had never been there and I had heard they had a nice store and, of course, pies! The Boy’s choir in high school sold Willamette Valley Pie Co. pies for their fundraisers for a couple of years and I knew that the pies were delicious. The store featured a lot of kitchen things and Kangaroo bought some towels and a spoon rest for the new travel trailer she and her Hubs just got. I keep telling her she has to think of a theme for the trailer so I can buy her things for it! Anyway, we each bought a cobbler to take home, I got marionberry and Kangaroo got peach.

Willamette Valley Pie Co. Goodness, the sky was foreboding!
Marionberry Cobbler. Their pies and things are frozen so you just take them home and pop them in the oven.

I baked my cobbler when I got home and ate my serving, and as expected it was super good. As I was eating Philip was very interested, and when I was finished he came and licked the plate. I bet you didn’t know kitties liked berries! He is unusual in that he enjoys sweet foods sometimes.

Philip getting some licks in.
The tape is Leukotape, I use it to tape up my feet before hiking to avoid hotspots.

Fall color

We had missed most of the fall color at Silver Falls, but there were a few pretty leaves left. It was a good day and we had a fun hike!

Just keep walking!

Ninja

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

Adventures, Animals, hiking

Hike — Benson and Tenas Lakes

Oops, I almost forgot to post about our hike last week! I suggested a hike to Benson and Tenas Lakes because I remembered it as a very pretty hike with good fall color. It didn’t turn out quite like I remembered (I think I must have been thinking of another lake hike?) but it was very nice anyway. (Note: Read to the end for a surprise!)

First, I drove this time and since it’s usually Marnie who drives that was unusual. The Old McKenzie Highway, where the hike is located, is many miles of very narrow road with hairpin turns. Marnie is always a good navigator and driving helper, in that she helps me see when it is safe to change lanes or to turn. This time she warned me about each hairpin turn coming up, which was helpful.

After 15 miles of slow and careful driving, we made it to the trailhead. There is a large gravel pit at the trailhead and I decided not to park near it since there were a lot of big rocks that looked like they might fall down any minute. There is a pit toilet there as well, and while it wasn’t very pleasant-smelling, it was nice not to have to “go” in the woods.

We started up the trail and realized that we hadn’t remembered so much uphill. When we got to Benson Lake, there was a couple there with an old doggo who barked as we came up. The lady hollered, “Barking friendly dog! He’s friendly!” so we promptly made friends with him and started in admiring the lake.

First look at Benson Lake.
Benson Lake with Marnie in the background, looking for a place to get a good photo.

It was a different color depending on where you were standing.

Another view of Benson Lake, and Sweet Pea.

We hung out at Benson Lake for a little while, and then headed up to Tenas Lake. There are a few ponds (or what’s left of them) along the way, I assume they would all be full in the spring when the snow is thawing.

We got up to the largest Tenas Lake, and it was just lovely. The lady we had met at Benson Lake had struck out on her own to hike up further, leaving her significant other and the doggo to relax, since the dog had gone his limit for the day.

Tenas Lake and the lady from Benson Lake.

Tenas Lake. This lady was sort of in all the spots where I wanted to take photos.
You can see a little fall color in the huckleberry and Oregon Grape plants.
Kangaroo and Sweet Pea, admiring Tenas Lake during snack time.

Snack time selfie. I was eating some leftover pizza. I have been informed by The Hubs that with my hairstyle and sunglasses, I look like a “lady hit man”.

While we were having our snack, we noticed a lady and dog on the other side of the lake, so when we were ready to hike on we decided to see if we could get over there. We hiked on the Tenas Lake trail and saw some other nice views of the lake, but got to a point where the trail ran out and we didn’t want to bushwhack. We’re not sure if we just missed the continuation of the trail or if the other person bushwhacked, but at that point we just decided to turn around and go back to the car.

Another view of Tenas Lake.

Here are some other photos of the hike:

A fungus.

Huckleberry bush.
The trail.
Kangaroo gets the shot.
People and Doggo at Benson Lake.
The trail.

And last but certainly nowhere near least, guess what we saw? You’ll never guess!! We saw a PORCUPINE for the very first time in the wild!! Some hikers told us they had seen it and that someone’s dog had chased it up a tree. We happened to come along when the lady from Benson Lake was looking up at it, and she showed us where it was. Can you believe it? Look how cute it is!! I mean, the face, not so much the quills. Poor guy/girl was still all fluffed up and I suppose our attention didn’t help, but we assured it that we loved it and thanked it for letting us get a photo. Well, Linda and Marnie got photos, these are Marnie’s.

Sweet forest friend.

Closer look at the porcupine in the tree. Look at that lil’ face!!

Weather was super nice, we had a great hike, and seeing the porcupine was just the icing on the cake!!

(After we got down the mountain on the narrow road I noticed it was getting late and so we didn’t stop for lunch after the hike. When I was dropping Linda off she brought to my attention that we hadn’t talked about whether we would stop for food or not and I had taken her home hungry! We will definitely be discussing our lunch plans in future!)

If you want to see some cute videos of a porcupine, here is the best of Teddy Bear: