Monday, February 19, 2018

52 Hike Challenge ~ Hike 11: Silver Falls

Silver Falls Snow 1 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Monday: a scheduled CC break, a break in the rain-filled forecast, and a break from parenting.

Russ had been out of town since Friday morning, and he returned this morning.

After hiking on Saturday, Lola declared, “Mom, hiking is not my thing. It is not healthy for me. I will die if I have to hike again.” [Granted, this was said right after a strenuous hike in the rain.]

Luke bailed part way through Saturday’s hike. Levi was icing his knees. Leif is unpredictable in his attitude.

So I decided to leave the kids with Russ, take off by myself today, and appreciate the solitude.

It didn’t occur to me that we had had some flurries of snow at our house on Sunday (didn’t stick) and that Silver Falls is up in the mountains.

Look at what the kids missed.

50 minutes from home.

Almost 4 miles hiked.

7 big waterfalls.

Snow, sunshine, and blue skies.


Silver Falls Snow 2 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

These are the South Falls.

Silver Falls Snow 3 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Silver Falls Snow 6 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Lower South Falls:

Silver Falls Snow 7 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Down Canyon Trail:

Silver Falls Snow 8 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

An unnamed falls:

Silver Falls Snow 9 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Silver Falls Snow 5 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Tiny waterfalls:

Silver Falls Snow 10 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Lower North Falls:

Silver Falls Snow 11 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Double Falls:

Silver Falls Snow 12 @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesSilver Falls Snow 13 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Drake Falls:

Silver Creek Snow 15 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Middle North Falls:

Silver Falls Snow 15 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Winter Trail:

Silver Creek Snow 16 @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesSilver Falls Snow 14 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Winter Falls:

Silver Falls Snow 19 @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesSilver Falls Snow 18 @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesSilver Falls Snow 17 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

And finishing the loop on the Rim Trail.

Silver Falls Snow 20 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Words fail me.

Silver Falls Snow 21 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Saturday, February 17, 2018

52 Hike Challenge ~ Hike 10: Section 36 Loop, Peavy Arboretum

Peavy Hike @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Four miles in the rain and mud with all 4 kids (though Luke bailed early) and Holly and Ivy.

Very few pictures. Because rain.

And then I went home and crawled under my electric blanket.

Now I’m dealing with loads of wet and muddy laundry.

Peavy Arboretum, Section 36 Loop Trail, McDonald Forest.

Peavy @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

52 Hike Challenge ~ Hike 9: William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge

Finley Hike @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

We had some beautiful weather last week, but the week itself was rough and we weren’t able to get out and enjoy it.

Multiple appointments (hair cuts, dentist), events (swim team potluck), outings (Russ took Luke to Portland for a sportsman show), two days of swim districts for Levi (the younger kids and I attended one day for 7 hours, Russ officiated both days), a homeschool conference (I spoke for an hour in the morning, but attended all day), another swim meet for Russ (the boys didn’t swim, but Russ had to coach), Levi working, church, CC, and MRSA (yes, a MRSA infection for Leif, which occupied our attention for a couple days). And I wasn’t feeling well for a couple days on top of it all.

But that’s why we hike more than once some weeks. And it’s also why we hike at all. Because we need sanity breaks.

Even when hiking is hard (like herding grasshoppers and snails with bad attitudes), it feeds our souls.

This right here, friends.

Finley Hike 3 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Tuesday was cool (40-45 degrees), but gorgeously sunny. Luke, Leif, Lola, and I drove about 50 minutes to Finley Wildlife Refuge, where we hiked both the Woodpecker Loop and the Mill Hill Loop.

Finley Hike 4 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

The trails were well-marked, but we tried to take a short-cut that ended up being a long-cut. We ended up hiking over 4 miles, and I carried Lola the last little bit because she thought she was going to die.

The terrain was easy. The trails weren’t too muddy.

We had great veiws of the Three Sisters and Mount Jefferson in the distance. At another section of the trail, I think we could see Washington and then Hood as well.

Finley Hike 2 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Many of the trails we hike meander through evergreen forests. I don’t think I’ve ever hiked through an oak forest before, especially in the winter. The shapes of the bare trees were fascinating, and we walked on a thick bed of oak leaves. I would love to return in the summer to observe the difference.

Finely Hike 6 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Blue skies and bare oak. Stunning.

Finley Hike 8 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Signs of spring on the way.

Finley Hike 5 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

More walking.

Finley Hike 7 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

When we returned home, I recieved news that a friend of ours was in his last hours. He passed away this morning. This next picture is for our dear friend Bob, who will be greatly missed. We were blessed to have him join us for the eclipse this past August, and Russ was able to spend several days and nights with him over the past couple months.

Finley Hike 6 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Sunday, February 4, 2018

52 Hike Challenge ~ Hike 8: Shellburg and Stassel Falls

Shellburg and Stassel Falls HIke @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

[Those of you who are incredibly observant may notice that hike #7 is missing! Friday morning at 10 a.m., Leif said, “Mom, it’s sunny. We should go hiking.” By 11 a.m., we had arrived at McDowell Creek Falls for the third time this year. Levi was gone (visiting the Portland Art Museum with his Challenge class), so the other three kids and I wogged the loop twice. 3+ miles in about an hour. I felt euphoric.]

Saturday, the kids (minus Levi) and I met up with Holly and Ivy to hike a brand new trail for us about 40 minutes of beautiful country drive from our house. Holly and I have since declared Shellburg and Stassel Falls Hike one of our favorites. [Read more about it here.]

The day was misty but not uncomfortably cold (50s), and everything was saturated green with a wet sheen.

A magical rain forest, friends.

From the trailhead, we hiked a little over a mile up a picturesque and well-maintained gated gravel road with private property on either side. Cattle are kept in this area (we saw some on our way back down, picture below), and we crossed at least three cattle guards. The uphill grade was perfect—steep enough to feel like we were really hiking, but not enough to be strenuous.

Shellburg Stassel 1 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

After the one mile mark, we arrived at Shellburg Creek, which runs under the road and then plumets 40 feet. We were able to stand on rocks at the top of the Lower Shellburg Falls and look down to the bottom, but it was difficult to get a good picture of the falls (see top picture). It’s also difficult to see distance in these pictures.

Shellburg Stassel 2 @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesShellburg Stassel 7 @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesShellburg and Stassel 3 @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesShellburg Stassel 8 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

From the lower falls, we left the road and hiked up the creek on a beautifully maintained trail until we came to Shellburg Falls. No pictures do it justice. A trail took the kids to the very base of the 100 foot waterfall, where they proceded to get soaked from the violent spray.

Shellburg Stassel  5 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

The trail winds up and behind the falls, under an incredible overhang of rock.

Shellburg Stassel @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

The trail continues up and around. The stairs were so beautiful. Below is the view when we returned. You can see Shellburg Falls in the background.

Shellburg Stassel 4 @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesShellburg Stassel 13 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

We hiked until we reached Shellburg Falls Campground. We would love to return and stay a few nights!

Shellburg Stassel 6 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

After scouting out the campground and using the restrooms, we headed back down the same way we came. The kids spent a little more time playing at Shellburg Falls.

When we arrived back at the road, we headed further up and took a smaller trail heading off the other direction until we came to the top of Stassel Falls. Pictures really don’t do this one justice. We couldn’t get a great view from the top, but the falls pour down into a 200 foot gorge. When we revisit later this summer, we’ll try the treacherous hike down to the bottom of the falls.

Shellburg Stassel 9 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

After Stassel Falls, we walked back out the small trail and then down the gravel road to the trailhead. Holly’s step-counter said we had hiked 4.9 miles. I don’t think it was quite that far, but it was a solid 3 hour hike!

Shellburg Stassel 10 @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesShellburg Stassel 11 @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesShellburg Stassel 12 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles