Thursday, June 14, 2012

Oregon Road Trip

Nature is not for everyone, but the North Umpqua Highway, Route 138 in Oregon could quite possibly change some minds.  I love this place.  This is the place that made me not sleep while I was working in Oregon years ago.  I had to work nights while on a business trip in Roseburg at the Ingram Book Warehouse, so during the days, I had no obligations.  I went out and saw the sights, and the best of them was this road.
There are around 25 massively beautiful waterfalls along this road, and it ends only a few miles from Crater Lake National Park on the high end.  As you go along the road, which twists and winds it way through the gorges and forests along the way, you see trailhead after trailhead with barely any markings identifying them.  All of these lead to waterfalls. Toketee, pictured above is one of the best known along the way and one of the most unusual.  There are many others worth seeing though.  Deadline Falls, Susan Creek Falls, Fall Creek Falls, Watson Falls, Whitehorse Falls, Clearwater Falls, Lemolo Falls, Steamboat Falls, shadow Falls, Wolf Creek Falls, Cathedral Falls, Grotto Falls, Warm Spring Falls, Yakso Falls, Hemlock Falls, Campbell Falls, South Umpqua Falls, Deer lick Falls, Brice Creek, Trestle Creek Falls, Parker Falls, Spirit Falls, and Moon Falls are all along the way.
When I was running around the area, I bought a book called "A Waterfall Lover's Guide to the Pacific Northwest" by Gregory A. Plumb to help me along the way.  It comes with maps and tells the distances to the waterfalls.  None of the distances are long, by the way.  It even tells you which waterfalls and which trips in general are worth the trouble.  I had this book for the one week I spent in Oregon, and I wore it out.  I had to tape the pages back in.
Most of Oregon is littered with areas that are more rainforest than regular forest, and the North Umpqua area is a great example.  The trails that lead to the wonderful waterfalls are full of moss covered trees and giant ferns.  It's green and beautiful.  By the time you get all the way up to Crater Lake, however, don't be surprised if you find snow, and lots of it.  I was up there in the middle of July, and there were still parts of the lake road that were blocked with snow.  In some places it was still over five feet deep.  That didn't mean it wasn't 80 plus degrees outside, sunny and wonderful.  How many places can you really build a snowman in shorts and a tank top in July?

The sights are fabulous as you can see.  The people along the way are wonderful as well.  It was one of the most relaxing and peaceful days I every spent as an explorer.  The whole trip only took me about six hours.  I didn't spend much time at Crater Lake, and believe me, I could have spent a massive amount of time up there, but I had to go to work.
At any rate, this day trip in Oregon from Roseburg to Crater Lake National Park is worth it.  I hope that everyone gets the chance to spend a day as wonderful as mine in the Cascades along the North Umpqua Highway, route 138 in Oregon. 
Enjoy the sights!

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