Thursday, September 20, 2012

DAY 30 -Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway…

I planned on a scenic drive through central southern Oregon for the day.  Grant, Kimmie’s partner, had mentioned a nice route to drive but that it would take a whole day.  So I started out early; skipping breakfast and heading north out of Klamath Falls.  I passed by the Upper Klamath Lake and all of the pelicans.  I took Hwy 140 west after Rocky Point and went past Lake of the Woods and Fish Lake off into new Oregon territory for me.

Photo- Pelicans on the Upper Klamath Lake.

Shortly after passing Fish Lake, I took a right turn on to County Rd #821 on my way to Butte Falls.  I was driving through wonderful scenic forestland.  The road got rather curvy and I started to slow for the turns.  Before I knew it I was coming around a corner and BOOM!  There are cows in the middle of the road! COWS?!?!  Yes, I was in the middle of an open range area which happens quite a bit in Oregon but this was the first time I had actually seen cows on the road.  There were 7 large Black Angus cows in the middle of the road.  I slowed to a stop. 
Photo- HOLY COW!  They're in the road!

The cows just stood in the middle of the road.  HELLO! Move you big animals!  The car that was behind me started to honk and I followed suit; me being a City Girl had no idea what to do with cows in the middle of the road.  Low and behold; they started to move off the road.  Yeah!  As I drove by the cows just stared blankly at me.  I never realized how dumb cows could be.

I drove through the town of Butte Falls and after that the forestland was set back and fenced farms with green fields took up the foreground.  It was very pretty with horses and cows in the fields; with the periodic red barn or unpainted barn here and there. 
Photo- Farms with forest land in the background. Wonderful scenery!

I continued on; thinking that I was still on County Rd #821 but turns out I wasn’t.  I ended up coming out to Hwy 62 about 5 miles south of a cute small town called Shady Cove.  It was 15 miles south west of where I should have come out on Hwy 62.  But that was okay.  I went through Shady Cove where the cop sat right by the quickly reduced speed limit for the town.  I practically slammed on my brakes; to go from 55mph to 30mph.  I even managed a quick smile and way to the cop as I slowly went by.  But I HAD to stop for a quick picture of the pink Phil’s Frosty.  I later found out that it’s the place in Shady Cove to stop and eat ice cream or burgers.  There did seem to be a great deal of cars out front and it wasn’t even 11AM.
Photo- A hot spot and VERY pink place in Shady Cove!
Photo- The Rogue River as seen from a city park just north of Shady Cove.

I went along Hwy 62 where off to the right I could see the Rogue River.  It was a very scenic area with trees starting to change along the river and exposed rocks next to the road.  I drove past the small town of Prospect and on to Union Creek where I was told to definitely stop at Beckie’s Restaurant.  It was either their cinnamon roll or a piece of one of their pies that came highly recommended.  I stopped and I still had about 15 minutes of breakfast being served. 
Photo- A bird just taking off I saw on the Rogue River.
Photo- A MUST stop for thier cinnamon rolls or pie!
Photo- The inside of Beckie's Restaurant.

I opted for the yummy cinnamon French toast and hot coffee.  OMG!  It was dessert for breakfast!  It was as I was enjoying my breakfast that I over heard what sounded like Germans trying to learn to pronounce English words.  It was rather interesting listening.  As I was finishing my breakfast and looking at a map that I discovered I was close to a couple of sightseeing view sights.  I figured I could definitely use a bit of hiking to work off breakfast. 
Photo- Natural Bridge- where Rogue River runs under these lava rocks for 200ft. and then comes out.
Photo- Water comes out of Natural Bridge and there are side lava caves.

I did a bit of back tracking and went to the Natural Bridge parking lot.  The Natural Bridge is along the Rogue River and it’s where the river runs in lava tubes for about 200ft.  I grabbed my camera and off I went for the ¾ mile hike where there are viewpoints all along to see the Natural Bridge.  I read about the temperature of the water and how many gallons per minute that went through the Natural Bridge.  It was amazing and you could just hear the roar of the water as it went through the area.
Photo- Rogue River Gorge.

Next, I went by Beckie’s and discovered that while having breakfast I was about ½ block from a view overlook of the Rogue River Gorge.  I grabbed my camera again and off I went down the path.  This path however was packed with senior citizens.  It was a tour bus.  So I tried to slowly work my way through the group to where I could overlook the gorge area too. 

While trying to do that, the tour guide started talking to me.  He talked about how Oregon’s sportsmen’s, being so sports challenging orientated, used to canoe through this gorge area until about 2 years ago the state had to outlaw it.  He never heard of anyone dying doing it but he pointed out that it was seriously dangerous and he could imagine that some of they did die attempting it.  Why he shared that with me?  I’m unsure why he chose to share that information with me and he kept his voice down when he told me about it; so that none of the seniors could hear about it.  Strange.

Rather than turning east when Hwy 62 turned, I decided to continue on Hwy 230 up to Diamond Lake; a lake that I could see when I was on the trolley tour up at Crater Lake.  Yes, I was just west of Crater Lake and heading north.  I thought I want to see that lake from the shoreline.

I was about 6 miles north of there when I saw a sign that said—National Creek Falls with an arrow.  On the spur of the moment, I thought why not.  I turned the car.  I went down the road 3 miles to a sign with another arrow.  It said 2.5 miles on a one lane road with turn outs.  Okay, I thought I came this far.  I drove on the one lane road and only had a pickup truck that I had to wait for in a turnout.  I got to the next sign that pointed me off to the right to a parking area and another sign that had an arrow and said ½ mile hike.  I came this far and hoped it was really an actual waterfall but I continued on. 

Down the dirt path I went.  It hairpin turned down the side of a hill quickly and seemed to go back and forth again, and again, and again down the hill.  Wait a minute; this has got to be more than ½ mile by now.  BUT I continued on the path.  I got to the bottom and saw a couple with three dogs.    I went over a couple of logs and off to my left I heard and saw an amazing waterfall.  I could even feel the mist off of the fall. 
Photo- National Creek Falls a secret hidden off the road a ways.

I petted the dogs, of course, and talked with the couple.  They were from Grants Pass and came here to get away from the heat for the day.  It was as I was leaving that the guy mentioned that he saw a black bear about ¼ mile down on the road when they came in.  Oh, great I thought and here I am walking alone in black bear territory!  Go figure!  Note- It is recommended that you never go alone in black bear territory.  They are more likely to attack lone hikers.  Well, I decided to just book it back to my car, but I figured that if I talked to myself in two different voices that I could trick a black bear into thinking that there was more than just me in the area.  Yes, I really can be that silly and naïve at the same time!

Photo- The view of Mt Bailey on my way to Diamond Lake. 
I’m glad to say I made it back to my car safely and was not a headliner on a local TV news show.  Off I went back to Hwy 230 and continued north to Diamond Lake.  Diamond Lake is a wonderful lake to see from its shoreline.  It also is a very popular area.  There were quite a few boats full of fisherman out on the lake.  I also drove through quite a resort area with restaurant, cabins, and hotel. 
Photo- Diamond Lake a popular fishing place.

I swung by the gas station there to get a bit before I headed back to Klamath Falls.  It was funny because the attendant said that he had waited on a Jeep earlier in the day that was from Utah too.  He asked if it was Utah day and he didn’t get the memo.  I just shrugged my shoulders and smiled.  Then, off south I went back to Klamath Falls.

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