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.
"In wisdom gathered over time I have found that every experience is a form of exploration"

~Dorothea Lange

Sunday, April 4, 2004

Weekends always seem too short, and our weekend in the watch tower at Fairview Peak was no exception. In spite of the wind, it was a cozy weekend away from the our regular routine.

We cleaned the cabin and packed out our things well before the noon deadline. As I mentioned before, the wind was exceptionally strong that morning, and it was difficult navigating the stairs with camera gear, sleeping bags, cooler and the other “necessities” we had brought up to the cabin.

 
Upper Parker Falls

If you’re new to “Exploring Oregon“, the cabin is 53 feet above the summit of Fairview Peak. You can read more about the weekend in the November 13 2003 Archive listing. (Listed on the left.)

Even with several miles of unpaved road, and taking the longer “scenic” route down off the mountain, we would have been home by early afternoon. Not in any hurry to end our weekend, we decided to stop and hike up Parker Falls Trail (#1415). Having read about it in the Visitors Guest Book, we knew it was only a mile or so to the upper falls.

The information mentioned the trail is rated “More Difficult” and has an average grade of 15%. It also mentioned that there were sections with grades of 30-40%. The Forest Service information was accurate as far as it went. However, they didn’t mention the trail is mostly uphill as you hike in. This is a good thing, though, as it is mostly downhill on the hike out!

 
Assorted Mushrooms.

The trail took us through a densely forested area to the North of the creek. While it followed the general path of the water, the creek was not visible most of the way. There are two spur trails that go back to the water. The first spur is unmarked. As my legs were already protesting the uphill trek, I was hoping this would be the trail to the lower falls. Instead, it brought us to a beautiful area of moss covered rocks and trees, rushing water and small quiet pools. We took some time to enjoy the ambiance, then we walked back and continued up the main trail.

When we found the second spur to the lower falls, it was well marked. The spur actually continued fairly straight. Here the main trail took a distinct left and continued up one of those 40% grades mentioned earlier.

We walked down to the lower falls, which was quite impressive, but had so many trees and limbs obscuring the view that it was difficult to take pictures. After attempting to get a few shots, we went back to the main trail, where we rested a few minutes before tackling the steeper grades.

It was only another eighth of a mile or so to the upper falls, but seemed much longer due to the steep grade. Once we arrived, however, we were glad we had gone the full length of the trail. Perhaps not as impressive in volume as the lower falls, the upper was more accessible. Once I had finished taking pictures, we headed back to the car, thankful that most of the way would be downhill.

All the way up the trail, I had noticed a wide variety of mushrooms, many growing right in the middle of the trail. As we came back down the trail, I took pictures of these beautiful and unusual looking fungi. As much as we enjoyed the waterfalls, I think the mushrooms resulted in the best pictures for the day.

This trail provided us with a good workout, and I was very thankful for the trip out being mostly downhill. It took over three hours to complete the 2-1/2 mile round trip hike, stopping to take pictures all along the way. We headed home then, stopping only at the Ranger Station to return the keys to the lookout tower.

The Forest Service has posted trail information online at:

Parker Falls Trail (#1415)

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