Tuesday, May 31, 2011

kentucky falls

After a failed earlier attempt to access the trail to Kentucky Falls in March (due to a late snow season), I finally made the haul back on the long, motion-sickness inducing logging road to see the falls at high flow. The forest was a green and soggy state of gorgeous, combining pillars of new and old growth doug firs/red cedars with a floor of perfectly placed ferns and pillowy mosses.

However, the real gem of the trail was the waterfalls. Framed by a vibrant green matting, this roaring white water created a scenery that could only have been more enchanting and fantastical if a unicorn came trotting across the trail.

view of some of the forest along the trail

trail to the falls

tree tops of some of the old (and new) growth forest in the area

greg reaches the upper kentucky falls

 upper kentucky falls

 this needs no caption

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mulkey Creek

farmland before the start of the Mulkey Creek trailhead
Being somewhat car-less lately has forced me to get out and explore the trails and bike-able country roads in and around the Corvallis area.  Forced may actually be an overstatement as the area is lovely to the extreme, particularly in the springtime. 

male violet-green swallow

common camas

pacific northwest bleeding heart

 forest canopy of oak and big leaf maple

bark and moss


fairy slipper (Calypso bulbosa)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

heart of the valley

At long last, the elusive sun is making its comeback to the valley.  Today I could not resist getting out on a local trail that I have not yet explored to soak it up. I was thrilled to find that this trail also happens to have the most impressive views of the local landscape that I have seen! Leaving Corvallis is truly going to break my heart.

panorama of the cascades to the left (corvallis is the city) and the coastal range to the right

mary's peak

mary & me

fitton green natural area, corvallis oregon

Below I have added several other springtime shots from around the valley...

sheep field near tangent, oregon

old growth

fairyslipper (calypso bulbosa)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

crater rock, mt hood

Yes, I am still alive. Finishing my thesis and a dying car put a bit of a dent into my adventures for several months, but alas, I have finished and am getting back out there! Most recently, I hit up Mt. Hood with my friend, Greg, on a snowshoeing trip to the Crater Rock/Hogsback area. The trip was 3 miles (one way) with a 4,000 foot elevation gain ending at 10,000ft. Therefore, although it's not long in distance, it's straight up the whole way at high altitudes. I have to admit, I was amazed at the effect of the altitude and vertical gain...climb 10 steps, stop to catch my breath, get pumped and ready to go, climb 10 steps, stop to catch my breath, get pumped and ready to go, repeat... This is the last stop before the ~11, 200ft summit...a.k.a. as far as we could go without rope skills and gear. 

We couldn't have asked for better weather! After getting above the clouds and wind, it was very sunny with nothing but pure blue skies, white terrain, and puffy clouds below.  We are both sporting pretty awesome sunburns, but the incredible views were totally worth it.

I really, really wanted to bring my DSLR on this trip, but decided that it wasn't worth the effort or weight.  Therefore, these pictures were supposed to be from my point and shoot, but I forgot to put my memory card back in!!! Thankfully, I remembered my trusty smart phone and snapped a few shots along the way...
beautiful wind-blown ice formations on the way up

worried about having blown out pictures (I couldn't see the screen because of the blinding sun), i tried putting my polarized sun glasses in front of the camera--made for a nice 70's feel...

looking up toward the destination. crater rock is on the left.

another climbing group with the ski lift in the background 

sulfur dioxide gases seeping from a fumarole at crater rock...mmmm

view looking down from crater rock. ski lift line is below.

greg on the journey back down

me sporting my new trekking poles (thanks, mom!). the hogsback is the ridge behind me to the right.

much larger fumarole behind crater rock....stinky, stinky...    
this sight was also a bit unnerving because as you rounded the corner of crater rock, the ice and snow were broken up and melting from this guy.  

illumination rock...how i love thee.

greg and illumination rock