Beaver Creek Falls

My blogger friend LB takes a lot of B&W photos. So when I saw this fence along the highway, I instantly thought of her.
My blogger friend LB at Life on the Bike and Other Fab Things takes a lot of B&W photos. So when I saw this fence along the highway, I instantly thought of her.

I was told that there was a falls on Beaver Creek. That’s MY creek! Of course, I am only one property owner living along this pretty creek, but that hasn’t stopped my claiming ownership of the whole darn thing.

My friend G is living in Seattle, so pretty close. He wanted to come by for a visit and see my new place. G and I used to work together, forecasting the weather for the National Weather Service in Eureka, California. G has the actual atmospheric sciences degree, I came about that career from the Air Force, and thus can’t flaunt the same impressive qualifications. Still, that work put me into the path of some fun, interesting, and super smart people, and my friend G is one of them.

I thought that finding the trail to the falls would be a good plan for us. G has hiked a lot of trails, and in fact, recommended a trail to Red Cap Lake in northern California that was my very first solo hike of my life, back in the 1990s when I got bit by the backpacking bug. I knew he would be game, so when I suggested it, I was already going for my boots and jacket in the few seconds it took him to say, “Yes!”

The town of Rainier is on Highway 30 in Oregon, which follows the Columbia River Gorge east to west. It’s the road I took recently to celebrate my birthday in Astoria. This time we just went a couple of miles toward the coast, and turned off. We followed Beaver Creek Road several more miles, and Beaver Creek kept curving around, back and forth, beneath the road. It was big, and deep, and it was so exciting to think that this rushing body of water was the same creek that flows past the henhouse.

Before we got to the creek, there was a pull out on the road, where we pulled out and went to the water’s edge to watch the water roaring over a couple of short falls. The sun had broken through the morning fog and lit up a white fence along the highway, and I took the shot at the top of this post. Then I went over the bank and stood there soaking it up. A rainbow lit up the spray to my right. Huge basalt columns formed the banks of the river to my left. We climbed around and guessed at the height of the water during the December floods, as thick mosses on the tree branches above us caught fire in the sunlight.

You can sort of make out the geometric shapes of the basalt columns that poke through the earth here.
You can sort of make out the hexagonal tops of basalt columns that poke through the earth here.
Trees form a natural cathedral over the water above the falls.
Trees form a natural cathedral over the water above the falls.

Farther down the road we pulled out again and parked near the trailhead sign for Beaver Creek Falls. It is 9 miles from my house.

This time of year, it’s best to plan on mud, and we got some. It wasn’t too bad though. The trail was rocky, so we didn’t sink in, but the smallish rocks weren’t held together well in the wet soil and we had to take care not to slide down the steep hill.

G leads the way through the trees.
G leads the way through the trees, watching for washed out trail.
Beaver Falls from the road, through a protective chain link fence.
Beaver Falls from the road, through a protective chain link fence.

It was fun chatting with my friend as we walked, who has been working for the National Weather Service for 26 years, I think he said. Wow, has it been that long since we were young and new at that game? He caught me up on the latest intel he had on people I used to work with. Who moved, who got a promotion, who is still there, doing the same work for the great little community in Humboldt County.

After not too long, we heard the roar, and knew we were close.

The falls is surprisingly huge and beautiful. “It’s symmetrical,” G said, obviously the scientist.

Approaching the falls.
Approaching the falls.
 A small but dizzyingly high falls squirts out from beneath the road we came in on.
It’s hard to see this small but dizzyingly high falls that squirts out from beneath the road we came in on.
Beaver Creek scours out a bowl to fill.
Beaver Creek scours out a bowl to fill.
It is rather symmetrical. Practically square.
It is rather symmetrical. Practically square.
This last photo is for laughs. The sign, drenched in a waterfall and nailed to a tree with its roots in the water, warns NO CAMPFIRES! Darn it, I was just looking for my matches...
This last photo is for laughs. The sign, drenched in a waterfall and nailed to a tree with its roots in the water, warns NO CAMPFIRES! Darn it, I was just looking for my matches…

The trail is totally washed out near the bottom. It’s possible the flood waters came that high, and ground the trail to nothing. I’m surprised we didn’t think to investigate that while we were there. Feet from other winter hikers had eeked out a bit of a passage beyond the washed out part, and I took the chance and went about 20 feet beyond where there was clearly no more trail. But even I had to stop without getting to the bottom.

The falls has ground out a big bowl there, making the steep cliffs more than vertical, but undercut. It must be a fabulous place too cool off on hot days. I’ll bet the water’s edges are packed in the summer. Maybe I wouldn’t want to be here then. But a January hike into the bowl and having this view all to ourselves was pretty sweet.

 

22 thoughts on “Beaver Creek Falls

  1. I would imagine that in the summer months, it’s a bit dryer and lower water level. We were lucky to get so much rain this year to fill the creek again. It really is beautiful to see and I imagine to hike. I did like the B&W fence. Adds another dimension to the photo.

    1. Thanks for your comments on the B&W. I thought of including a color version too, and asking for a vote on what looks better, but I really did like the black and white.

      You have a creek? Or do you mean this one? Yes, I am grateful that Beaver Creek is full again. In the worst of the summer heat and dryness, it was almost a trickle. I’ll guess it was 3 inches deep at the deepest, in September. Now it’s probably 3 feet deep, and has the power to gouge out the soft banks. I’ve talked to a couple of local people who swear it’s more rain than usual. With my weather background, I learned that people will say that every year about something, so I’m not sure whether I can count on their experience or not. But in any case, this was a lot of water so far this winter, and I’m glad I know how bad it can get in a heavy water year.

      1. It has been a few years since we’ve had enough rain in winter. Most people like it dry but we need the water and snow in the mountains. And then we need to be prepared for what good rain can do.

  2. A lovely escape Crystal. And old friends are always special. The falls look like you could get around behind them and find a wonderful hide-a-way, filled with treasure, of course. Always been a fantasy of mine… 🙂 –Curt

    1. In fact, Curt, I was told that very thing. When it’s warmer and the water level is lower, I will see about going behind the falls. Now that I know to look for it, I will seek the treasure!

      You are right about old friends. It’s a different kind of relationship, when you’ve been friends with someone for twenty or so years or more. I think maybe both G and I are relaxed around each other, knowing that if we were going to do or say something to cause offense, it certainly would have happened by now. So we don’t worry about silences, or whether the other person is going to protest about an idea, these things will obviously work themselves out. It is special.

  3. Well, how fun to open up this post, and see that wonderful fence line in B&W. Nice shot! Glad to have inspired you to stop and shoot. 🙂
    That waterfall is so beautiful, and as you wrote about being able to hear it before you saw it, made me almost hear it!

    1. Laurie, I don’t know how I missed your comment for nearly a month. I’m glad you inspired me to take a photo too. It’s something to feel good about: inspiring creativity.

      Hearing a waterfall roar is something like the music in a movie that’s getting you ready for the rest of the scene. The sound prepares you for what you’re about to experience. I think when I’m hiking a mountain trail beside a creek, my brain is always listening for a roar. I’ve frequently gone off a trail, looking for the source. Waterfalls never cease to delight me.

  4. I liked the way you told the story of your trip… thought I would probably enjoy tagging along… and if not now, certainly a few years back. I visited your country about a half a century ago, and it was there I met a few beavers whom I liked and admired. Used to make up stories about them, and told them to my children… but unfortunately we have no beavers here. Years later, I visited again for a short while… wanted a last look at the high Sierras. But I was taken aback by all the fences and no trespassing signs… I figured it was good luck I was born so long ago… this world is changing ever faster.

    1. Shimon thank you so much for your lovely comment. Where do you live now?

      I have not made the acquaintance of any beavers, but I have often seen their industry. My teenager is a freshman at Oregon State University right now, and the mascot is The Beavers! ha ha. It is also the mascot at MIT in Boston, which made me curious until someone explained: because they are engineers. Ah, of course.

      The advantage to living out here in the wild west is that after awhile, you learn the places to go to avoid the fences and signs. And that is definitely what I do, so we share that preference. 🙂 My mother always said that she was born 100 years too late, and always sought out the older ways of doing things. I got an amazing education from her, because she paid so much attention to how to do things the way they used to be done, and why. It’s a good foundation upon which to build my forays into modern technology now.

      1. I have lived all my life in Jerusalem, Israel, where I live now. As a young man, I spent some time studying in your country, and afterwards went traveling around in the western world for a while… trying to understand what life and the world was all about.

      2. I would love to visit there some day. Jerusalem is one of those cities that’s practically mythical because we all learned about it as we grew up. One day, I will make it.

        Tell me what you learned about the world as a result of your travels.

    1. HI Robin! I’m so glad you liked the teepee of trees. I wish I could take you there, because it’s really special to stand there in front of the rumbling waterfall and to see the sunlight hitting the moss in the trees.

      1. It would be fantastic, Crystal. Thank you for such a lovely thought to go for a walk in nature with you. Waterfalls are so magical. I have seen tall ones that are brown from the tannin in the trees in the U.P. I like frozen waterfalls, too. 🙂

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