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:

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