Watson Falls And The North Umpqua Inspire Peace And Tranquility

Although, we are now in fall and water is low, Watson Falls and the North Umpqua continue to be places that inspire peace and tranquility.  Watson Falls is a ribbon-like cascade that plunges over 270 feet, making it one of the highest falls in Southern Oregon.  The trail takes you to the very top where it is in the upper 40s and you are the recipient of drops of cold spray.  The trail meanders among boulders, which are sometimes covered with moss, depending on the heat.  But the vision of Watson Falls is well worth the climb.  It is located about 21 miles NW of Diamond Lake on the Roseburg Hwy.

Just beyond Watson Falls is the better-known Toketee Falls that you can walk around without any difficulty.  A few miles ahead is a power station which subsumes the flow of the North Umpqua.  Just above is a fish hatchery and Soda Springs Dam. It is the only dam on the North Umpqua.  In the high water of spring, rafting companies sometimes put their boats in below the dam to give their passengers a few extra rapids before reaching Boulder Springs Campground, the usual starting point.

Between Boulder Springs and Gravel Bin, there are a number of Class 2 and 3 rapids with one Class 4-, Pinball.  But the North Umpqua offers more than turbulent water, it also offers deep, quiet pools where one can sit by the riverside and just relax and reflect.  Shades of green and blue intermingle in the river currents, looking like oil colors on a painter’s canvas.  I especially enjoy looking at the solemn boulders, surrounded by swirling colors.  Indeed, it is a special place that inspires peace and tranquility.

Location of Watson Falls

Location of Watson Falls

Watson Falls trail

Watson Falls trail

Watson Falls

Watson Falls

Another view of Watson Falls

Another view of Watson Falls

A boulder surrounded by the calm of the North Umpqua

A boulder surrounded by the calm of the North Umpqua

The beauty and tranquility of the North Umpqua

The beauty and tranquility of the North Umpqua

A Visit To Placerita Canyon State Park

Last Friday, Glenn Malapit and I took a trip to lower Placerita Canyon State Park.  This is the area of the nature center that offers a series of short hikes around the canyon.  Placerita Canyon was the site of the first California Gold Rush in 1842 when a hired hand, Francisco Lopez of the Rancho San Francisco, discovered flakes of gold.  But today, that memory has faded, and the canyon is known for its branching trees, boulder formations and creek beds.  Scrub oak, and huge sprawling oak trees abound, with sycamore and willow where the shade is plentiful.  What struck me were the magnificent patterns of dark branches against a blue sky.  The rocks, mostly quartz, feldspar, and gneiss, with gleaming biotite mica, provided their own wondrous forms.  The area is quite dry and exposed, so a coolish day is recommended for extensive walking.

When Glenn and I arrived, there were bus loads of children with teachers ready to introduce the kids to the natural world.  Most of the children walked around in the nature center to view samples of natural phenomena and to hear talks on the special features of the park.  It was not quiet, but children add their own qualities to the park experience.  The photos below reveal some aspects of Placerita Canyon, but one needs to go there to appreciate its bounties.IMG_6252IMG_6257IMG_6258IMG_6261IMG_6264IMG_6267 IMG_6272IMG_6280 IMG_6283IMG_6291IMG_6300

Remembering Jackson Falls On The Upper Rogue River

Jackson Falls posed a considerable problem for boaters before it was erased by the 1964 flood.  Below Dodge Bridge the river went straight for about 3/4 mi. before making a sharp right angle turn, which created the falls(The river now turns right much earlier.)  The river flowed over a bar and moved slowly along some reeds. The mood was almost idyllic in its serenity.  Then the river was quite still as it flowed along a rock island.  It was here that Dad used to stop to pump up our rubber boat.  Towards the end of the island you could hear the roar of the river announcing the approaching falls.  At that point the river divided into different channels, which flowed over bars.  One of the channels flowed into a group of bushes.  All channels dropped over sharp ledges, which formed falls.  My Dad took the center channel, which was the largest one.  We navigated a rocky drop Dad called First Falls before pulling to the right bank to avoid Jackson Falls, a 5-6 ft. drop.  There was another small drop further on when the river made a quick left turn.  Although small, it was full of jagged rocks, which meant another portage.  When the river made its left turn it was one rapid above what is called Horseshoe Falls.

I remember walking along the bank with Grandpa Johnny, and being glad to be out of the water, especially when I looked back, and saw the falls we had avoided!  It is sad that there appears to be no pictures of this splendid falls, but, hopefully, some will be found in the not distant future.