Tuesday, November 18, 2014

hikes with kids: september trip to opal creek

    (the rock slides)

For the weekend after my birthday, we headed south to Opal Creek. It is a tradition to go there for my birthday every year (although next year, I am hoping to head east to Smith Rock). We spent my birthday camping there with friends a few years ago, and decided to head back that way with two kids in tow this time. We headed up there late on Friday, and the campsite we were expecting to camp at was closed. So we drove through the forest in the dark, trying to find a good spot to pitch our tent. We found an awesome primitive campground on the river, filled with twinkling lantern lights, but all the sites were filled. It was quite the adventure and we ended up finding an interesting spot deep in the forest to quickly pitch our tent and sleep.

The next day we drove to find another campground. We found a nice spot on the river, set up our tent and got a fire going. We tend to eat the same things while camping, and they are all treats that we all look forward to every camping trip. We made coffee and hot cocoa, and grilled cheese sandwiches with aged cheddar, basil and rhubarb jam. Some sausages too, all cooked on the fire. Then we headed out to Opal Creek to begin our hiking adventure.

The hike is a bit over 6 miles round trip, but Uzi did the whole thing with no complaints- it was awesome! There were red huckleberries along the whole trail, which was some great motivation. I also packed some chocolate covered sunflower seeds too, which was a yummy treat. The trail is gravel and is pretty flat the whole way. The hike is not particularly picturesque, mostly due to the gravel and it is pretty popular so there are a good amount of people around, but the water makes it all worth it. The water is so cold and so gorgeous. It is this astonishing green blue color, I have never seen water quite like it. We stopped at the rock water slides for lunch and the boys slid down the natural water slides into the cold pools. I swam out in the cold water and floated. We hiked a little more to the big Opal pool where I quickly stripped down to my swimsuit and jumped in. The family watched from the bridge as I took my final swim for the day. It was lovely and gorgeous. We wandered through Jawbone Flats and checked out all the old cars and mining equipment. One day, I would love to stay at the cabins there.

We hiked back out and then headed to our campsite for some supper and s'mores. We often bring a baguette and make chocolate sandwiches with olive oil and sea salt, cooked over the fire. They are delicious. We explored and played in the Santiam River the next day before packing up and heading to Silver Falls state park to meet up with Uzi's scout group. We did a little more hiking (including behind a waterfall) and creek playing before we headed home. It was a very nice birthday, indeed.

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