A huge storm hit Oregon.  Massive amounts of snow, rain, and wind.  So…we decided to head up into the mountains.

East of Cottage Grove sits a treasure trove of cool places to go.  Jeremiah Osborne-Gowey and I headed up Layng Creek (or thereabouts), which is a ways northeast of Disston.  We visited 4 waterfalls, all of which had actual trailheads, actual nice trails, and actual road signs leading to them.  3 of the 4 even had picnic tables by the falls.  And I started breaking in a new camera.  It’s waterproof, shockproof, but not foolproof.

First stop was Wildwood Falls, which sits right along a road in the town of Culp Creek.


This is a very wide waterfall.


Above the falls, there were very tall standing rapids.

Next stop was Moon Falls (though the trailhead sign says “Moonfalls”, which is grammaticallystupid).  This is a nice waterfall with a very nice surrounding area.


Not only is the waterfall nice, but the creek just below it is as well.

And the new camera has some new features:

It has a setting that lets you turn everything black and white except the color of your choice.  I found out later that you can apply this filter after the shot has been taken, but all the ones you see here were done prior to shooting.  Doing it afterwards kinda takes the fun and randomness out of it, on top of taking about 1,000 clicks on the camera.  This will certainly be a gimmicky thing for me to abuse.

We headed back up the trail, did some trail repairs, then drove to Spirit Falls.  Along the path, I spotted a salamander (specifically, a rough-skinned newt).  Jeremiah spotted lunch.


This is why Godzilla attacks.

Actually, rough-skinned newts are toxic to eat.  In 1979, an Oregon man died from eating one.  They carry the same neurotoxin as pufferfish.

We then messed around for a few minutes trying to get a good shot of it. I had never messed with macro settings much, but with this camera, I’m going to.














And we have a winner.

This began a bloodlust for closeups.  BRING ON THE MACRO ONSLAUGHT!!!


I’m not going to tell you what this looks like because…well…I think you already know…


This mushroom is about the size of a fingernail.


Same one, different angle.  If you look really, really closely, you can see something just to the right of the top of the mushroom.


I didn’t see it until a few days later, but it’s an incredibly tiny spider probably no more than a millimeter in length.


All colors turned off except orangeish and the flash still on.


The first spiderweb shot is a better picture, but there was a water droplet on the lens that I didn’t notice.  Grrr.


If an abandoned warehouse turned into a mushroom like this boy turns into a sports car, this is what it would look like.

We were supposed to be hiking to another large waterfall, weren’t we?  Yes.  Yes we were.


This is another very nice location.  The last one gives off a feel like there should be a dinosaur plodding through the scene.  Spirit Falls is one of my favorite waterfalls.


The area immediately downstream is also nice.

The plan was to head to Upper Trestle Creek Falls, but it was quite a ways away and we weren’t going to have enough time to make it worthwhile.  Earlier, we came across a sign for nearby Pinard Falls, so that became the new destination.  Before we set out, I took a picture of Jeremiah’s dog, Quinn staring into my soul with his glowing eyes:

The flash was on by accident and it picked up the raindrops.  And Quinn is no demon dog, he’s amazing. If Jeremiah and I are too far apart, Quinn will come and check on me.  One of the things about hiking with him is I’ll be taking pictures or looking at something, then I glance over and Quinn is just staring at me.  One of the few dogs who I feel like psychoanalyzes people.

On to Pinard!


Pinard Falls is pretty small…oh wait, this is just a creek on the way in.


These were at a creek that flows over the trail to Pinard Falls.  I’d guess that most of the time, it’s just a mucky trickle.  Jeremiah was worrying about his camera getting wet from the rain and the waterfalls, so I made him jealous and took some underwater pics.  This one didn’t turn out as good as the one with the camera strap in the frame, but the water effect is really cool.  If you crop it,…


…the water looks like clouds.

Bring on Plan B!  Pinard Falls sit at the bottom of a canyon.  Where they hit is right where the creek makes a 90-degree turn, so much of the spray shoots up into the forest instead of all down the creek like most waterfalls do.  As we winded down the trail, we saw white mist flashing by and blistering the trees.  Funny enough, we were still a few hundred yards away from the falls.  Any type of picture was nearly out of the question because there was no way to view the falls unless directly in front of it.  This meant getting swamped by the heavy windspray coming off the base of the falls, even from a pretty fair distance.

We took turns down at the base of the falls.  There is a little cove, but it offered no protection.  Even before getting to the bottom, we were drenched.  By the time we got there, it really didn’t matter.  I managed to get one decent photo of the falls.


The water all pours down this narrow tube carved into the rocks.  Every once in a while, water would spout up 75 feet in a pocket on the right side, directly next to the falls.  It is listed at 150′ and the shoots were hitting up to the halfway part, where the notch juts out on the right-hand side.  The new camera takes 1080p HD video and it sort of turned out, though I apologize for the vertical movie.

By this point, the calm, mostly rain-free weather had turned into a steady downpour and steady winds with 30mph gusts.  Our guess is the spray was also about 30mph faster than the regular wind.  While down at the bottom, the wind started hitting huge gusts and the two winds compounded to gale-force power.  It felt like I was one of those news reporters standing on a beach as a hurricane blew in.  The wind was blowing so hard it was difficult to stand up and it would nearly pull the wind out of your lungs.  The water from the spray soaked us instantly.  It took about 10 minutes for my face to unthaw so my lips would actually move while I talked.  I also learned the valuable lesson of not eating pretzels while walking uphill.


On our way back to civilization, we stopped at this swimming hole that was being overrun by high water.  We decided not to take a swing on the rope.