The Persona Behind The Lens, With A Glimpse Into Our World.
Photographer: Anita Cross
Photographer Anita Cross & husband "Llama"
Amusing stories of travels throughout Oregon's beautiful–and sometimes not-so-accessible–scenic areas, from the perspective of a not-so-athletic photographer.
"Sometimes I do get to places just when God's ready to have somebody click the shutter"

~Dorothea Lange

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Our weekend at Fairview Peak did not result in the spectacular sunset or sunrise pictures I had been hoping for. My husband and I had been up on the tower twice before, but neither of us remembered just how windy it is up there. Taking pictures from the tower was limited by the lighting conditions, although I did get some interesting shots.

As it was late October, the sun set around 6:30 or so, and it was completely dark a short time later. The tower cabin came equipped with propane appliances including two overhead lamps, which didn’t give off much light. We were glad we had brought along our own propane lamp, as the better lighting made it possible to look over the Visitor’s Guest Book. There was a lot of information about local areas of interest, including camping facilities and hiking trails.

There were many trails listed that go way beyond my limited endurance for physical punishment. I can push myself to a six or seven mile hike, if I think the visual rewards will be worth the pain. However, in most cases, I’d really rather not. Needless to say, I found the short trails with waterfalls more interesting than, say, the Pacific Crest Trail.

At that point, we really didn’t know what we’d be doing the next day. The original plan was to hike up neighboring Bohemia Mountain. A short but fairly difficult climb, with absolutely amazing views from the summit. At an elevation of 5,987 feet, it is the highest mountain for many miles. (Fairview Peak is only 5,933 feet, although the cabin sits a bit higher at 5,990.) We decided one or two short hikes, at much lower elevations, made a reasonable alternative if the weather was uncooperative. We spent the rest of the evening with hot cocoa and backgammon.

The next morning it was quite obvious hiking Bohemia was out of the question. (Have you read “Windy Weekend on Fairview Peak”? 11-13-2003) We set our sights instead on two of the shorter hikes we had read about the night before. Moonfalls Trail (#1423) and Spirit Falls Trail (#1413) at elevations of 3,100 feet and 2,000 feet, respectively.

As we drove down the mountain, it was clear that we had made the right choice. While it remained mostly cloudy throughout the day, it was dry and pleasantly cool at the lower elevations. We found Moonfalls Trail first, as it is much better marked.

Now, October is hunting season around here, so I was wearing a bright red sweatshirt. Armed only with my camera and film, (I had foolishly left my tripod in the cabin,) we headed up the trail. This trail was quite easy to follow, and it didn’t take long to get to the falls.

The area around the waterfall is old growth, so most of the light was filtered. The water volume was low, so the falls had a delicate, lacy look about it. Besides the main pool at the base of the 125-foot falls, there were many smaller pools nestled in the rocks higher up, and the moss was thick and green almost everywhere close to the water. It was really peaceful.

We spent quite some time exploring, with me taking pictures when I thought they would turn out. Then we headed back. After all, we had another waterfall to find. By this time, my husband is carrying just about everything: camera case, two water bottles, film case (a converted insulated lunch pail), and so on. It is because of these trips, where he ends up carrying all of my paraphernalia, while I have only the camera, that he has earned the nickname “Llama”.

Back in the car, it took a while to find the trailhead to Spirit Falls. There’s just a wide spot on the road with a small, almost hidden, sign. The information about this trail said it is fairly level at the beginning, but gets rather steep further on. The information was accurate, at least about the grade. I tend to think the trail was longer than they listed, especially on the return.

Still, the trip was well worth it. The various shades of green and gold were vibrant around the water as it tumbled over the edge, cascading lightly down the fairly smooth rounded face of the rock wall. I kicked myself about the tripod, again, and took what pictures I could.

The hike back to the car was a vivid reminder that I need to spend less time with my computer, and more time walking the dog. My knees were close to wobbly by the time I reached the car. Fortunately, the drive back to the tower, over rough back roads, takes quite a bit of time. I wasn’t looking forward to the climb back up the tower.

If you are interested, here are some links to directions and specific information about the trails mentioned above.

Moonfalls Trail

Spirit Falls Trail

Bohemia Mountain Trail

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