Friday, November 13, 2015

Fit Friday: Hiking Drift Creek Falls

Yesterday, I met some friends at the beach near Lincoln City. The rain swept in around noon, so after grabbing some lunch at a cute little cafe (with the most delicious chanterelle mushroom soup I've ever had), my friends took off to head back to Portland. I took Koira for a short run down on the beach, and decided to stop by Drift Creek Falls on the way home. I've been meaning to make a trip out there to hike down to the falls for ages, and I wasn't going to miss it when I was less than 10 miles away.

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Just below the trailhead, and we had the perfect Oregon fall mix of ferns, fir, and some color changing vine maple

In Oregon, when you go hiking in the fall, you expect it to be muddy and wet, even if it isn't currently raining. On the coast, chances are good it will be raining, or so foggy it may as well be raining.

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Another burst of color in the background

Drift Creek Falls is no exception to this. The trailhead is near the top of Cougar Mountain in a National Park. Koira hiked on leash and was only off leash when I was actively taking her picture, hence the harness she is wearing in all of them.

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Lots of turns in the trail as it hugs the sides of the gullies in the mountain- you can see the trail continue on the other side of the gully behind Koira

It was raining when I got to the trailhead, and only rained harder the longer we were there. I tucked my camera into the front of my zipped up rain jacket and only took it out for really quick snaps a handful of times on the hike down to the falls.

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This is just so typical of Oregon in the fall

Koira was happy to be out and moving after spending most of the morning in the car while I played on the beach with my friends and their dogs. She is getting over kennel cough, so isn't allowed to interact with other dogs. But she has been done coughing for about a week, so thankfully is finally able to get out and do stuff without hacking the entire time. We're just going to keep avoiding dogs for a while longer so we don't risk spreading the KC.

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A rare no-dog photo. These bright leaves were too high up for me to get the dog in the picture!

The entire hike down to Drift Creek Falls is only three miles round trip, so it doesn't seem like it would be a hard hike. And the trail is really well maintained. But since you go down for 1.5 miles, then turn around and walk back uphill at the end, the trail always seems harder than it really is. And it didn't help that I'd already been running around on the beach all morning.

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Nicely positioned stump, perfect for posing a dog for pictures

This trail is just so beautiful every time I go, I am not sure why it always takes me so long to get back there again. It has been years since my last visit, and we were certainly overdue for one. Probably part of it is that it takes me a while to forget how terrifying the long, narrow suspension bridge over the falls is. I actually had to go back after starting across it the first time, because I looked down and started getting vertigo. We tried again though and made it across, which means, of course, that I had to cross it on the way back to get back to the car.

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I love the colors out there this fall

Koira wasn't a big fan of the bridge either, though I think she didn't like the sound of the falls more than the bridge itself. The falls are partly hidden when you first start across the bridge, making them pretty quiet, then all of a sudden they come into view and get really loud.

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Koira in front of the falls.

I didn't take any pictures on the bridge, because that would have required that we stop on the bridge, which just wasn't going to happen. I was busy talking myself into keeping going and reminding myself to not look down and to not think about bridges breaking, or earthquakes, or anything like that.

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You can see the falls off to the side, and the suspension bridge is above and behind Koira. It is a narrow little bridge, so not super visible in the picture. 

Ultimately though the bridge is worth it to get to go down and see the falls, and it has nice sturdy railings on either side to give you something to hold onto. We were running kind of late in the day by the time we started our hike, so we just went quickly down to the falls, grabbed a few pictures, and then headed back up to the car to drive home.

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Hiking in Oregon

I had to grab a couple pictures of my hiking gear, because it is so typical of what many Oregonians wear. Lightweight rain jacket (not visible) with matching waterproof pants (because not having waterproof pants isn't really an option), and a pair of Vibrams, which aren't waterproof, but you are never going to keep your feet dry anyway, so why bother trying.

Oh, and of course, the essential hiking companion, a loyal dog.

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She thought laying down on the wet trail was pretty stupid, but did eventually agree to pose for this picture.

Overall my day ended up being almost 24,000 steps, and the equivalent of 83 flights of stairs, according to my FitBit. And my legs are telling me about it! Probably a little over half of the steps were with Koira, and most of the stairs. I'm hoping she isn't as sore as I am. We do lots of walking, but not too many hills on a regular basis.

My FitBit stats when I got home at 7 pm after our hike

Overall, I know I had a great day, and I am pretty sure Koira would agree. She wasn't a huge fan of the rain, especially as it got worse toward the end of our hike, but I think she enjoyed herself anyway.


  1. I really love your photography style. I have to admit recently I have been pretty lazy and leaving the nice camera at home and just taking phone pictures of the pups. Any tips or tricks you want to share I would love to hear them. :)

  2. What a nice hike - I can almost feel the dampness from the photos too. Love the last pic.

  3. Looks like an enchanting place to loose yourself mentally and enjoy some "me" time. That's a much needed thing right now in my life!

  4. What a beautiful hike! That's a lot of steps, too! Love your photos.

  5. I love Drift Creek Falls! And I really love that bridge. The views are simply spectacular. But, yes. When I went with pug Liam, I had to carry him across. He was NOT going to walk that high over the water, thank you very much. That made the hike even more strenuous. At 26 pounds, he's heavy!

    Jean from Welcome to the Menagerie

  6. Oh wow! It looks like a beautiful hike!

  7. Looks wonderful. As long as your mind is ready for rain, walking in rain and mud can be a blast. We would love to go there!

  8. Looks like such a great place to hike! I know what you mean about trails like that--I hate trails that start going downhill because that means the only way back to the car is uphill and that will be when I'm tired! It looks like the soreness was worth it, though :)