When I saw that the weather forecast showed sunshine through the end of this week - with temps around 60 degrees, I asked Julie and Kaela if they'd like to join me for a hike to Kentucky Falls. Unfortunately, Kaela had other plans, but Julie was game.
It had been about 10 years since I'd done this particular hike, but the route to get there had hung pretty strong in my memory. The cut-off for the BLM road is only about 45 minutes from where we live, but then it's about 16 miles of traversing through the coast range to get to the trailhead. No worries, Julie (and Syd) don't get car sick - and since I had an avid audience, I played a cassette tape of one of my all-time favorite speakers, Lori Salierno, when she spoke at Jesus Northwest back in 1995....that woman is amazing - and her message kicked off a very fun, positive day. =)
This is a picture of the vista as we climbed, climbed, climbed up into the coastal mountains. No, that's not snow....it's just the fog settling into the valleys.
After winding through the mountains, we finally arrived at the parking area by the trailhead - only to smell and discover smoke pouring out of both sides of the hood. Uh oh..... Julie and I figured we weren't going to lift the hood to demonstrate our vast skills of mechanics until it cooled down - so, hey, if it starts or not, we might as well go for a hike. (However, the entire time it loomed in my mind that "what if it's my fault? - did I go too long before getting the oil changed? - quick end-to-the-story answer to that - no, it wasn't my fault, we're pretty certain it was from the transmission failing)
So, Kentucky Falls is only a half mile into the hike - and hey, if you are going to drive that far (and overheat your car) - you might as well proceed past these falls and go all the way down to the twin falls at the end of two miles.....
It really is spectacular to be at the base of these two falls. One of them is very obscured by the shade, where the other was shining in the sunshine - you can see them both at the edges of this image:
The falls to the right - more in the shade:
The falls to the left - in the sunshine:
On the return trip (which was all uphill) - we stopped and played a bit to capture more pics of Kentucky Falls at its base
Upon returning to our vehicle, we were pleased to see that none of the dipsticks showed low fluid levels, and it was no longer stinking or smoking. It started right off, which was also a good sign. So, it would have been smart to not press our luck and return directly home, but oh no - we had different plans in mind. Somehow, we took a wrong turn - and by the time we'd realized it, we'd found our way down the mountain along a different path. We were not at all excited by the idea of turning back to the previous intersection and having to push the engine back up an incline, so we figured we'd find a main route soon enough. No such luck. And no map. And no cell service. Fortunately, we did start with a full tank of gas. Eventually, we encountered a woman walking along the road (exercising) - and asked her how to get to a main road. She told us we'd hit up with Reedsport in about 6 miles. REEDSPORT? Are you kidding? We were so far off from our original route...
I snapped a picture of a map of the route we took - if you look closely you can see Kentucky Falls in red - part way between Florence and Eugene. Somehow, we took a wrong turn and found our way considerably south.No worries, after a good laugh, we found that Reedsport had a Dairy Queen that served delicious blizzards - and were able to take Highway 38 on home - showing Julie the highlights of the elk reserve and the cute and quaint town of Elkton along the way.
While there were a few wrong turns and breakdowns along the way, I think both Julie and I would both say it just added to the fun we had. For sure, another great memory day....