Weekend Trip: Southern Oregon
Having a regular 9-to-5 necessitates taking full advantage of my weekends to go explore as much as I can in as little time as I can. These trips are fulfilling to me but I typically end up cramming in so much that I'm completely wiped out by the time I get back home on Sunday night. This weekend, we took things at a bit more of a leisurely pace and it was everything I needed to unwind from my typically tech-filled work week. We headed down to southern Oregon on Friday evening and pulled into the Boulder Flats campground in Umpquah National Forest, bleary-eyed at 1am - having the good fortune of snagging the very last campsite in the most perfect location right beside the river.
We took things a little bit more slowly the next morning and spent some time relaxing and hanging out at the campsite, enjoying the views, before meeting up with a couple joining us later in the morning.
We went for a drive and headed out to Toketee Falls to meet up and do the short hike in to see the view. The hike to the viewpoint is an easy 0.8 miles roundtrip. While the view from there was gorgeous, we decided to hop the fence to the right of the viewpoint and scramble down to the bottom of the falls by grabbing onto some rope that is tied there and the exposed tree roots. The climb down is steep but definitely worth the trouble. We ended up exploring and lounging around at the bottom of the falls, soaking up some of the early summer sun for a few hours before making our way to Watson Falls.
Watson Falls was a very short drive away from Toketee Falls. It's the third tallest waterfall in Oregon and an easy 1/3 mile trek to reach the falls. There's a great view from the base by a giant pile of rocks but there's a viewpoint just up a bit higher as well. The mist sprays pretty far so we spent the hike down being a little cold and damp - rain jackets are definitely recommended.
We left Toketee Falls to make our way towards Crater Lake to find a place to spend the night as close to Crater Lake as possible to make our early morning drive a little easier. On our way we stopped by Diamond Lake and had a fantastic, sunny view of the snow-capped Mount Bailey. We stumbled on a fantastic little clearing next to a river, tucked away in a forested backroad, with enough space to set up all our tents and hammocks.
The next morning we woke up to our 4am alarms and packed up as quickly as possible and raced towards Crater Lake to beat the sunrise. We arrived just as the sky started to light up, snapped some photos, walked around for a little bit and headed out to the nearest breakfast spot we could find.
After breakfast our group split up and those of us remaining stopped by Umpqua Hot Springs on our way back up towards Portland to conclude our weekend trip. The springs have 7 pools, the top ones feeding into the bottom ones, getting progressively cooler the lower the pool. We didn't stay around for too long as it started getting a bit crowded and warm so we packed up and headed back towards Portland to get back to the 9-to-5 grind. Until next weekend!