Showing posts from January, 2015

A Short Trek into Opal Creek Wilderness: Henline Falls

Gold was first found in the Opal Creek Watershed in 1859. The legacy of the ensuing gold rush left many hillsides up and down the narrow valleys dotted with mine shafts.There is little left of the Silver King mining complex. With the exception of a 1,700 foot long shaft right next to the falls. Over the years silver, lead, zinc, and gold were pulled out of the mines near Henline Falls. Thankfully nearly all of the signs of mining have long been washed away.

The trailhead for Henline Falls is near the boundary of the Opal Creek Scenic Recreation Area, which was established in 1998. Despite 20 years of legal battles and direct action, some areas in what would later become the Opal Creek Wilderness had already been cut. Much of the trail to Henline Falls follows an old logging road and passes through relatively young patches of Douglas-fir. Though there some very old western hemlock and Douglas-fir that can be found along the way. As you make your way up the road that is being quickly …

Three Days on the North Umpqua: Miller Lake to Umpqua Hot Springs

Late fall probably isn't the best time of the year to hike the upper section of the North Umpqua Trail, but it was when my friend and I had the time. Our plan was to start at the Digit Point Campground on Miller Lake. Unfortunately we only made it within 4 miles of the campground and with snow falling we wanted our ride to get back onto Highway 97. So we started off the evening with a 4 mile walk up Forest Road 9772. Thankfully the snow wasn't all that deep on the road, so we made decent time. Our goal for the next day was to hike the nearly 14 miles to the Kelsay Valley Horse Campground.

Backpacking during late fall is always a challenge because snow makes travel slow and there is only about 9 hours of day light. So we tried to set out shortly after first light which was definitely a good idea. Approximately 4 of the 14 miles was knee deep snow, which made for incredibly slow progress. Thankfully not long after Maidu Lake we started to descend which resulted in less snow.