Showing posts from January, 2013

Alsea Falls and Green Peak Falls

Foggy, cold and dreary days always seem to plague the Willamette Valley during January. Don't get me wrong; I love all four seasons, but days of fog without change wear on me. Thankfully sunshine is only a short drive away. If you're looking for a great low elevation hike close to both Corvallis and Eugene, Alsea Falls and Green Peak Falls is a great place to hike. Nestled in the Oregon Coast Range amid a maze of logging roads, BLM land and private timberland lies this beautiful area. The Alsea Falls Recreation Site includes a seasonal (May11- Sept 30) campground as well as hiking and biking trails. The hiking trails all leave from either the picnic site or the campground. Our plan had been to hike from the campground to Green Peak Falls, but we ran into a little problem.

 After seeing the road closed ahead signs, we figured it would be something minor that we could get around. While staring at this stream we decided to park at a turn out near the equipment and ford the str…

Silver Falls State Park: Trail of Ten Falls

Silver Falls State Park is Oregon's largest state park with over 9,000 acres to explore. The early American history of the area included private ownership of South Falls. The owner pushed old cars over and charged 10 cents to see the falls. Thankfully that insane use of such an incredible area has ended. Early logging removed much of the massive trees that once surrounded the incredible falls in the area. The history of Silver Falls since settlers have been in the area is interesting and some more information can be found here. Silver Falls State Park is a place I often take for granted.

Because Silver Falls is the crown jewel of Oregon State Parks, I always assume anyone living in Oregon has been there. Though I know this is not the case because my girlfriend who has lived in the Willamette Valley her entire life had never been. It's truly an incredible place that everyone in Oregon should visit. The centerpiece of Silver Falls State Park is the Trail of Ten Falls. If one …

Snowy and Cold: Spring Basin Wilderness

Backpacking during winter in Oregon is either going to be wet or on snowshoes, unless you're on the Rogue River trail. Sadly my friend Eddie and I couldn't get anyone to shuttle us for our first of many hikes before our 2013 Pacific Crest Trail thru-hike. After staring at maps for some time I came across a small, new Wilderness Area near the Clarno Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds. The elevation was relatively low, so I guessed that there wouldn't be much snow. It was cold, but the snow was only a few inches deep.

Often new Wilderness Areas are opposed by ranchers and some locals. They normally end grazing of any kind and always end motor vehicle access. This area was different, local ranchers worked with groups such as the Oregon Natural Desert Association and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs to protect this area. I'm a huge proponent of Wilderness Areas, they provide solitude and protect areas from development. Our plan for the first day was to hike from the…

Gear Review: Sierra Designs Zissou 15 DriDown Sleeping Bag

I'm not one to buy new gear until I absolutely have to. My old sleeping bag had served me well on the Pacific Crest Trail in 2011 and on many trips in 2012, but it was getting worn down. After hearing about the DriDown bag from Sierra Designs I figured it would be worth checking it out. I've never had a down bag before, but I was impressed by how comfortable it was. While laying on the floor of REI, the thought of where I would first use this sleeping bag ran through my mind.

Spring Basin Wilderness is where a good friend and I traveled to. The temperature had been dipping to around zero the few days before we headed out there. I wasn't sure if my new 15 degree bag would even come close to keeping me warm over a few chilly nights in the Oregon desert. Oddly enough with lows of 13 and 7, I was still comfortable enough to sleep all night. But I wouldn't suggest going below the temperature rating of a bag unless you a back up plan to keep you alive if it's too cold.