Writing About: Opal Creek Wilderness
I am super excited to have the opportunity to lend my writing skills and outdoor adventure fun to write up some personal trail descriptions for an in-the-works guidebook covering the Willamette Valley! Wild in the Willamette is a literary compendium and guidebook to natural areas in the mid-Willamette Valley and is set to be published in 2015.
My favorite instruction from the editor:
Share your enthusiasm and use vivid language. Let your special relationship to the place you’re writing about come through. This book wants to be fun and should be worded accordingly.
I have been assigned to write about the Opal Creek Wilderness and Scenic Recreation Area, including Henline Falls Trail, Little North Santiam Trail, and Opal Creek Trail. I think I’ve created a bubble around planning out a special backpacking trip to Opal Creek with Sylvan, but this writing opportunity has given me a little deadline push and, even though I didn’t have time to plan out the backpacking trip I’ve been dreaming about, it made for a nice little day hike adventure — the first of many!
When we arrived, we thought it would be a lot easier to navigate, as Opal Creek Wilderness is a super popular hiking destination. But since we failed to bring a Opal Wilderness specific map (other than written directions) we were a bit blinded. Plus, none of the trail posts had maps included (which seemed strange…but maybe not?) so it made it even harder for us to figure out where we were suppose to go.
The first spot we visited was the Three Pools Day Use Area. We made it just before the crowd of day trippers arrived with their handfuls of picnic coolers and fold up chairs. So for a short while, we almost had the place to ourselves. Even with the heavy traffic, Three Pools is still an amazingly beautiful area with crystal clear jade-colored pools. I can imagine the quality of the water has declined with so much traffic, but it seems that there are a few environmental groups working towards keeping the area pristine and beautiful.
Once Three Pools started to fill up with families (which happened rather quickly), we decided to move on to the North Santiam trail. After driving along Little North Santiam for a while — a long while — we decided it might be best to come back when we have a map in hand, as there was nothing specifying a trail head or even a hint of a trail for that matter. Instead we went to Henline Falls and had a lovely time along the easy access trail, and enjoyed the anticipation listening to the rushing water as we neared the falls. You can read more about Henline Falls and check out my photos in part 2 of my Opal Creek Wilderness adventure!