hikes

Falls Creek Falls

On our last day in the Gorge we got up early again and had breakfast out on the deck one more time before packing up and heading home.

We stopped at the North Shore Cafe again so I could get coffee and then we started the drive toward home–with one stop first: Falls Creek Falls hike in Gifford Pinchot wilderness. It was sort of on the way to the Bridge of the Gods just by Carson. It was a really beautiful drive through the forest and then you go off the main road and drive about 2 miles–VERY SLOW miles–on a dirt road with humongous potholes. It was slow going and very bumpy. We got to the parking lot and it was about half full (when we left it was all full).

The hike started out in the trees immediately and we hiked alongside a creek that was sometimes pretty fast. There was a suspension bridge we had to cross that was pretty cool. Usually Bella is super freaked out by bridges and won’t cross without a lot of coaxing and help but she did GREAT! Maybe she is getting over her fears.

It was nice that this hike was in the forest and shaded. The day was warming up nicely. Logan loved the hike. He babbled and high-fived Michael and talked to people and dogs that we passed on the trail. 🙂

The hike was deceptively uphill. It gave us some nice breaks and leveled off here and there (unlike Weldon Wagon trail hike that was constantly uphill) and we got to a fork in the trail and saw this sign:

We were almost to the waterfall! Apparently this hike is a 6-ish mile loop but we didn’t plan on doing the whole thing. And talking to some hikers that were coming down the trail, apparently the other part of the hike is a lot of scrambling on rocks. Not ideal with a dog and baby.

We got to a few parts of the trail where there were washouts but for the most part it was a well-maintained hike.

There was another little bridge near some mini waterfalls. It was cute!

Then we were finally to the waterfalls! It was about 10 degrees cooler by the falls. They were gorgeous! So much prettier than Multnomah Falls, in my opinion.

The falls would have been a perfect place to have a picnic lunch but we didn’t have one. 🙂 So we headed back down the trail. Logan was on borrowed time and would need food and out of the hiking backpack soon. We are good if we have 2-ish hours to hike with him. He’s getting better, though, each time we go.

I posted a video on my Instagram if you’d like to see it. 🙂

Pretty good stats for a hike! Afterward we drove to Cascade Locks, crossing the Bridge of the Gods back into Oregon, and stopped at the East Wind Drive in for lunch. FABULOUS burgers and curly fries! The place is always crowded. I’ve only been there for ice cream cones after hikes, so it was nice to get food there. We’ll definitely be back!

We went to the Cascade Locks marina and park for lunch –devoured our burgers–SO HUNGRY! And then let Logan run around a bit for the drive back to Portland.

It was a pretty fabulous little vacation for us!

Diamond Lake

Last post of our anniversary trip! On the last full day in the area the plan had been to go for a hike and then go for another half day of exploring Crater Lake. We’d planned on packing a lunch and checking out the East Rim (since it was closed the day we went). Unfortunately that plan didn’t quite work.

Where we were staying had no cell service and no internet. Michael had to take care of a few things that couldn’t wait a day so we ended up driving a little bit to somewhere that had service. We went to the Rogue River Lodge that was right on the river.

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The restaurant had huge windows overlooking the grounds and river. We got a nice table right at the window. One night when we’d been driving back to the cabins I saw that they had outdoor seating right next to the river with twinkling lights! How romantic.

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Food was good. I ordered the French toast because it sounded too decadent NOT to get. The whole menu looked good, honestly. The French toast was stuffed with cream cheese (holy cow) and topped with Oregon berries! SO GOOD!

Michael got the buckwheat pancakes and bacon. Breakfast was great. Then we drove back to the cabins to get ready for a hike. We drove about 45 minutes to the Diamond Lake area to go for a hike. I’d written down a few hikes to check out but once we got there, we couldn’t find them. And since there was no cell service I couldn’t look them up. 🙁

We stopped at the Diamond Lake Lodge and I got some maps and pamphlets that had hikes, nordic trails and mountain biking trails on it and then we just kind of drove around until we could find something that looked like a hike. (The maps and list didn’t have directions, of course.)

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We ended up doing the North Crater Trail. The trailhead was at a rest area right next to the corrals. You could do horse tours (which sounded fun to me!). Bella met the horse. 🙂

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Both were very curious of each other. Bella was slightly freaked out. The horse wasn’t bothered at all. LOL We set out on the hike and it went through interesting terrain. The trees were thinned out, we were hiking by areas that had been hit by fires–probably a few years ago. It was wide open and the sun was really hot and bright.

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Then the trail went into the trees and the forest and the temperature dropped a little bit. The trail was slightly downhill but you didn’t notice it too much (until the hike back!!!). We did I think 2 miles and then all of a sudden the trail ended:

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Okay, I guess we were turning around! The hike back was uphill. There were a few parts that were a little strenuous but I did okay. We did around 4 miles.

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After the hike we drove down to Diamond Lake to have a snack (hummus and veggies). We sat on a bench next to the lake and just basked in the sunshine. It was heavenly. The water was relaxing. There were tons of ducks and some people out on the lake doing SUP and paddle boats. It made me sleepy sitting next to the water, it was so relaxing.

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We realized it was too late in the day to try and go to Crater Lake. 🙁 It was going to be over an hour and a half drive to get up to the Rim. So we decided not to go. I was bummed but it was okay. Instead we drove around Diamond Lake and took in the gorgeous views:

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After that we drove back to the cabins and fixed dinner for our anniversary. We had bison burgers and salad and sat outside in the nice evening.

The next morning we packed up the car and headed home. Since there was no cell service our GPS didn’t work and we ended up taking a wrong turn and going a different way home than the way we came. We drove through Roseburg, got to I-5 and then stopped in Eugene again for lunch. We went to La Perla this time.

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We shared a Caesar salad (it was really good) and then we each got mini pizzas for lunch. Michael got the meat pizza and I got the margerita pizza. The pizza was wood burning stove cooked and the smokey flavor was nice. The ingredients were fresh and tasty. The pizza was decent, not the best, but ok.

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After lunch we were back on the road. I think Bella was over the road trip. 🙂