Saturday, August 24, 2013

Sabbath Sites: North Umpqua Trail

I’ve been going through old blog posts, trying to rectify the havoc of unlinked photos caused by MySpace – and remembering the good old days when a trip to the grocery store was worthy of a blog post!

And I’m also realizing how, in spite of the best of intentions, this summer has whizzed by without us doing much.  Sure, we started with a bang – we took off two weeks before school was out for a trip to San Francisco and then southern California.  But then life got extremely busy – and subsequently boring?

So now we have a six-year-old who lives on the gateway to Crater Lake but has never been there.  Ridiculous how that works. I got a “101 Things To Do” guide, and we’re setting out on local adventures… :)


First stop was the Swiftwater (aka Tioga) Trailhead, the most western point of the 79-mile North Umpqua Trail, about 2 miles from our house.  The trail runs on the south side of the North Umpqua River, with Hwy 138 running along the north.  Bridges across the river allow for breaks every so often so you don’t have to do the whole trail all at once…  The trail isn’t right on the river, but close enough that vistas like this abound along the way.


The Tioga segment is the longest section (15.7 miles) – and used to require overnight camping, but it is now nicely split with the new Tioga bridge roughly in the middle.  We didn’t have time for even this 8-mile hike, so just did 2 miles upriver from the trailhead and 2 miles back.  It’s a nice moderate hike, not quite a walk in the park with lots of the ups and downs.


The trail is well-maintained, with a number of bridges traversing otherwise mucky spots.  Most are manmade, with a few fallen tree bridges for the adventurous.


Just about a quarter of a mile from the trailhead is a great viewing spot; if you’re lucky (and there between May and October), you’ll see salmon and steelhead jumping up Deadline Falls on their way upriver.


Fern Falls is another 1.5 miles beyond, and a good spot to take a splash in the water to cool down.


Overall, it is just the epitome of Pacific Northwest forestland, with lots of tall trees and lush undergrowth.


Did I mention it’s blackberry season right now?  These weren’t readily found on the trail, but we drove on a road where you could just open the car window and literally have the berries drop onto you…


I think Miss Esmé slept well that night…