This trip goes to a few different spots, all up the North Umpqua, and with some ideas regarding the history of Watson Falls.

As I was cruising up the highway, I glanced over as I went around a corner and saw in interesting little waterfall.  I turned around and went to investigate.  As I made my way to what looked like a 10-15 foot tiny fall, I looked further up the creek and saw a huge drop.  But I figured I’d wait for another time to investigate that larger waterfall and instead focus on my goals for the day.


The first goal was Watson Falls.  I had never been there for one reason or another.  Nice location, okay waterfall.  This one gets visited because of the closeness to Hwy 138, the short trail, and the cool amphitheater the falls drops into.  The tall height also helps.  Yes, it’s very tall, but my first impression was that Flat Rock Falls dwarfs it in height.


There are parts of the trail that go up a ways.  Really, if you want, you can scramble all the way under the falls.  It is a nice waterfall, but wouldn’t make my Top 10 that I’ve visited.  Good spot for the tourists, though.


On a more recent trip to Watson Falls, I noticed a section near the falls which looks like water has gone over it.  My initial theory was that it comes over during high water as an overflow.  After a little research, it appears that Watson Creek, while stretching back for miles, doesn’t really have much in the way of high water events.  Looking at the weathering of the rocks, water regularly comes over the rock.  Or it did.  Since there are exactly zero photos of this second falls, it’s safe to assume that is not the case.  Another possibility is that this is where Watson Falls used to be and a change in the creek above caused it to come over where it is now.  And probably for longer than Watson Creek has flowed over its current waterfall location, since the pour spot is much deeper.  This spot is also a noticeably lower drop, which had the creek not changed, would greatly affect Watson’s claim to being the tallest waterfall in Southern Oregon.  (It’s not, and probably not by a ways.)  We often think of natural formations as fairly stagnant, especially waterfalls.  But they do change, even the ones everyone loves.  At some point, I’ll wander around above the falls and see if my creek theory carries water.

Oh, you like dry jokes?


A young dobsonfly on the wooden bridge.  One cool thing about this trail is the bridge crosses in a funky manner and the creek blasts down right on top of you.  I got soaked trying to photograph the water and this fly.


A bit of jelly fungus.  Fun fact: I spent more time trying to photograph this jelly fungus than any other object on the entire trip.


Heading back down river, these ash “caves” are visible from the road.  Two are good-sized, the one on the far right is big enough to drive a car in.  That one had a stream of water running out of it.  If you ever visit or see photos of Crater Lake, this is where the rest of Mt. Mazama went.  (And an update a few years later, two of those ash caves collapsed, including the large one on the right.)  [And an update from a few years past that, these caves continually close up and reopen.)  I would strongly advise every going inside or even approaching them, as they can collapse at any time and they’re not all that interesting to look at inside.  It’s not like there’s something hiding in there, waiting to be discovered.  There’s not.

The leading theory on their formation is due to a fire on the land above.  With vegetation and trees thinned out, there was less water being consumed.  That water went into the ground, then out the ash roadside.  It took the ash with it, creating the caves.  These probably formed about 20 years ago.

I stopped in and headed up Castle Creek again to poach some easy photos.  Problem was that the water was way too high.  Not only does it cut down on some photo opportunities, it makes travelling in there a real pain.  A fun pain, but still a pain.


I gave up here and headed back.  Where else could I burn some extra time?  That little waterfall I found earlier.


Turns out that there are multiple tiers/sections and while the first section is only about 15′, the upper section is in the 100′-range.  There is a 20′ fall in the middle.  Funny enough, I realized that this was Jack Falls, which my wife and I tried to find years ago in the early years of my outdoors explorations.  We ended up bushwhacking in the wrong spot.  Totally her fault.  For listening to me.  I still don’t know exactly where we were, but it wasn’t anywhere near this.  I made it up to the larger section, but the pictures didn’t really turn out.  It’s one of those really tall waterfalls that really isn’t interesting to look at.

Along the way, I found a nice trillium.  These were posted in this other entry, but this is the spot I found the flower in.


My favorite flower now.  Love these things.

One aspect of those pictures I like is that some of them don’t look like photographs, but computer-generated images.  As soon as you get someone to question something being real or not, you foster imagination.  After a few seconds, you’re not thinking about the picture anymore, but of things in your mind which your brain relates to the image.  When you return back to consciously looking at the picture, you bring some of that imagination back with you.

There were some good opportunities for some underwater shots of bubbles.  Here is some experimenting using different settings on the camera.  Black and white, flash, filters, etc.  Whatever I could come up with the get something sort of interesting.  I really wish Nikon would allow consumers to mix and match all settings instead of limiting their firmware so much.  Let us be idiots.

You may or may not like bubble pictures, but when you think about it, this is one of the few types of nature photos which cannot be seen by the human eye, since the individual aspects move so fast.


This one looks interesting if you look at the larger file and zoom in.  These bubble pictures are similar to staring at clouds.  We see one thing initially, but it always morphs into other possibilities.