I believe I am not the only person who woke up this morning with a plan to “do something.” Last night I Googled some ideas for hikes in the area (still new to me) and decided to experiment with driving up Highway 22 to see the Opal Creek Wilderness Area.

Finn is no longer capable of the extended hike I had in mind, so I loaded up Key, gave Finn a treat, and got on the road about 8am. In the spirit of exploring, we stopped at a small park labeled the North Santiam Recreation Area.

Almost immediately we spotted a young pileated woodpecker.

If you look closely you can see the little gray fuzz on the top of his crest.

Key got his feet wet, but confirmed my impression that he is not a water dog.


So we proceeded to head toward Opal Creek.

Being a rather out of shape hiker, it is always my goal to find a trail that is neither up or down, shaded and cool, with good scenery and bird watching. Opal Creek hits a lot of those points. And thus, it was VERY busy (the website said it was “lightly used.” Liar.) After some wandering, I parked at the 79th car. When we left there were 136 cars.

While we only hiked less than a mile in and out, to Sawmill Falls, it was a stunning trip. We saw a variety of little flowers still in bloom and saw and heard a very determined little Pacific Wren.

Sawmill Falls, however, was the real stunner. The color of the water almost looks unreal. These photos don’t do it justice.

I wish I was brave enough, like a few people, to dive in. But while I was hot, I knew the water was snow melt and VERY cold. Also, I didn’t bring a swimsuit and didn’t want to walk back in wet clothes. Yes, I know there was another option. I didn’t want to do that either.

We arrived back home about 2 and all of us have spent the day sort of vegging out. I’m trying to get through my normal Sunday tasks so I can take advantage of my extra day tomorrow.