My wife and I took a hiking vacation up the McKenzie River and we found some good stuff.

Here’s a little timber tiger peeking out.


We hit Tamolitch Falls/Blue Pool first.  The trail was pretty boring and none of the pictures were that great, so the the ones above are all you get from that section of the trip.  We weren’t all that impressed with Blue Pool.  I understand that everyone loves the place but I found it fairly “meh.”  Neither one of us took a single picture there.

The theme of this post is going to be “low water levels”.  Tamolitch Falls was completely dry and the larger waterfalls were suffering from a(nother) drought-like summer.  (As dry as it was, winter has brought a lot of snow and water and it’s still not enough.)  Next stop was Proxy Falls, which is actually Lower Proxy and Upper Proxy and they are a ways apart.


From up on the trail before dropping down, you see a very tall waterfall.  There wasn’t a lot of water flowing over it, but it was still nice.


Lower Proxy was good.  I imagine it would be better under higher water.  Back on the trail and up to…


…Upper Proxy Falls.  Yikes.  Not a lot of water, though.  However, I climbed in close to try and salvage some pictures.  I know a guy who used to hike this area decades ago and he said there used to be a trail that literally crisscrossed through this waterfall on the way down to the floor.  Incredible.


Sport setting to see if I can get some water droplets to freeze.  When we pulled in to park at the Proxy Loop Trailhead, there was one other car.  When we left, there were 5 cars and we saw one person.  When we drove past after visiting Linton Falls, there were 15-20.  (On the entire trip to the much larger Linton Area, we saw one guy at the falls and a couple wandering around the dry portion of the lake on the way back.)

We trekked back to the car to head up the road to one of the trails to Linton Lake.


I’ve tried to take pictures of this spot on the trail before but none turned out.  This one isn’t much, but it shows the interesting rock formation.  In-person, it’s really fascinating.  Another spot close by has a decaying volcanic formation where the rock either cooled too soon or too late to become obsidian.  It’s pretty close, however.

This was the 6th time in the last 4 years that I have been to Linton Lake and while every time has been interesting and special, this time was truly unique.


Linton Lake was partially dry.  This was totally unexpected and very cool.  We wandered around the dry lake for a while, seeing if there was anything interesting.  While this does happen periodically at Linton Lake and is nothing drastically unusual, it was the first time I had been here for it.  Oddly enough, we visited almost to the day of a prior trip 4 years earlier when the lake had much more water.


We saw these odd human footprints here and there.  As we slogged through the muck, we realized their oddity.  Our prints, no matter how we stepped, were messy and had signs of locomotion.  These were all just flat.  Even if made before the water dried up, there would still be signs of locomotion.  At one spot, I noticed these post-holed down at least 2.5 feet in the mud, probably about knee-high.  Yet, the footprint was still nice and tidy.  Any conditions which allowed for a footprint to be visible like this would also cause it to smear when pressure is applied.  My guess is someone had a wooden foot they were making prints with for whatever reason.  Or it could be Bigfoot.  The most logical explanation is always:

Moving on to slightly less nonsense…


I remember this as the first time I stopped to gaze up at that mountain to the west of the lake, though I know I did before.  But back then, it was covered in fog.  Almost every time, it has been covered in fog.  Later at home, I looked these rocks up on Google Earth and realized this point was the only spot where you can possibly see most, if not all of the 500+ feet of Linton Falls at once.  Though that also seems like it is perpetually enveloped in fog.


We started to head over to the creek in a light rain.  Normally, this is about where the trail through the forest gets a bit snarly.  Instead, we stayed on the dry lake bed and made some time.

Along the way, however, some of the sights were cause for pause.

This small, stinky inlet was gross.  But it looked good through the camera.  The smell along the dry ground wasn’t the best and it bothered Brittney more than me.  This was the one spot where the smell from the water even got to me.


A small delta is formed as Linton Creek meets Linton Lake and it’s a very cool thing to see at pretty much any water level.  Today, it was almost like a walk on a beach, the way coastal creeks come into the ocean through the sand.  It is also fairly impossible to capture with a traditional picture.


A couple panoramas of the delta area.

We made our way back into the trees and quickly found something odd:

There is a pretty good campsite at the base of Linton Creek.  There are log seats, a huge fire ring, some nice stuff.  However, we found a make-shift bed and fire ring off to the side about 30 yards.  It is a mystery why someone chose to hunker down 20 yards from the real campsite.  Maybe it was raining and the tree canopy above this spot provided better shelter than the more open campsite.  As we surveyed the scene, neither one of us were expecting to make a bed and spend the night right here either.  I’m guessing the person who slept here had the same plans.  It is a good reminder that strange things happen in the woods and that some of my trips up this same creek could have went this way as well, if not worse.


The trail sort of blows up a bit at Lower Linton Falls.  It hits some brush and blowdowns and looks like it only goes to the right, which brings it to the precipice of this waterfall.  On the way back, the portion of the trail that goes away from the precipice is more obvious.


This was a nice scene somewhere between Lower Linton Falls and Linton Falls.


Linton Falls was less than its typically-majestic self due to the water shortage.  However, Linton Falls still gives off some of that magic regardless of flow.


The creek leading away was thin as well.  The portion nearest the bank was completely dry, which was bizarre.  Usually, to get to the center island, you have to do an easy-ish log crossing.

Instead, there was this:

(Note – I’m looking back at this 5.5 years later and I’m still at a loss for the water being so much lower than it typically is at this time.)


Down under the log, was this rock, which has been ravaged by water and small sediments over the years.  This is a huge rock, so it’s pretty interesting to see it in this condition.


This is the rock I whined about 2 years prior on a trip with Jeremiah Osborne-Gowey.  I was worried about it falling on my head, as it appears to be just dangling there.  I guess I’ll have to keep worrying.  And he can keep laughing.


Nearby, there was a huge folded-up toadstool.

How huge?

Very huge. Wish we could have seen this while it was fully open.


I blame the slug.