Salmon River Canyon 4/22/14

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Jerredkaufman
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Joined: December 23rd, 2013, 3:23 pm

Salmon River Canyon 4/22/14

Post by Jerredkaufman » April 24th, 2014, 6:49 pm

A week ago I watched a special on Oregon Field guide about Kayakers going down the giant waterfalls of the Salmon River Canyon. I thought last tuesday would be a perfect slightly rainy day for the trip. I hit the trail to at 9:30 AM where the Salmon River runs along a dense foggy old growth forest loaded with trilliums. Unfortunately while most of them were all downturned in the rain I did manage to catch the obligatory Trillium picture with my Iphone.

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Most of them really looked like this:

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I also caught a couple other cool flowers and plants.

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Moving along the trail I come to the first of a few bridges, near a point where the trail comes parallel to a densely forested old growth island. The only bridges there are fallen trees, and it looks like a lot of fun to explore, however I had limited time and my objective was to get to the three grand viewpoints so I saved it for another time.

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After passing the Island the trail begins to climb up into a cool forest far past any views of the river. Suddenly the sound of running water is lost, the wind stops blowing and everything becomes very still and quiet. The peaceful solitude of this day was relentless. I saw no one.

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Eventually the roaring sound of waterfalls returns as the first of the three viewpoints epically comes into sight along the canyons walls.
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In the photo above can be seen a, "dangerously alluring" path that indeed lured me straight down. The descent was more exiting than the view it provided. All I could see was a clear shot of a waterfall that would only be good if I had a huge zoom. Considering I just use my Iphone I decided to continue from this viewpoint to the second in search of more views.

Looking back:

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After a quick bit of hiking I came to the hardly satisfying second viewpoint, completely obscured by trees. Beyond which I saw a grassy knoll I recalled William Sullivan writing about in his book 100 hikes. In it he says is a, “grassy knoll, where a rugged scramble path descends to a overlook of Vanishing Falls, Frustrations Falls, and Final Falls.” He also notes that it is extreemely dangerous and is not recommended.

I came here to see the canyon and its waterfalls knowing that I would have to go down if I wanted to see them, so I decided to cautiously proceed into the canyon, while closely avoiding anything that could spell certain death. The first part was sketchy, then it became just fine by the time I got out to the Knoll. I took a photo of the descent that makes it look a little more steep than it really was.

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looking to the right during the descent:

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Climbing out to the end of the knoll is a really cool flat clifftop that offers incredible views from inside the canyon.

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From here I took a two photo 360 degree panorama in an attempt to show what I saw there.

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On an adjacent slope tht can be seen on the right hand side of the last picture, I safely continued my expedition further down the canyon to where I found my favorite spot, which can be seen in the photo below. This place was an absolutely a must see destination for me.

Nevertheless it is very dangerous and I would not recomend it to anyone who suffers from vertigo or is inexperienced with hiking in dangerous situations. I took every precaution available to avoid the sides of cliffs that sloped or had loose rocks. They are very slippery. If I were to come back I would definitely bring rope, in order to safely navigate this part of the hike.

After exploring this area for a while I found that waterfall I had seen earlier from the first viewpoint, but this time I was less than a hundred and fifty yards from it. So once again I decided to go further down to get closer look.
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At this point I decided there was nothing else to see nor any safe way to go any farther so I decided to hike back up out of the canyon to the main trail and on to the third and final viewpoint. Needless to say it was both tiring and super fun climbing out of the canyon. I prefer uphill hiking and it was similar to hiking up munra point.

It was not long after I had just climbed back to the top when I saw yet another inticing side trail leading down to a creek in a ravine. I thought, hey that probably goes to a better view of some waterfalls. Still I hadnt caught my breath from climbing out of the canyon but decided why not? So I trotted down yet another side trail and by the time I got to the bottom of this relatively in tact trail compared to what I was doing earlier, I was absolutely stunned. I came to a near perfect up close view of one of the waterfalls with high cliffs shining in sunlight. It was a very cool spot.

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Here there was an awesome campsite with a creek running through it down to a waterfall pouring into the scene of the waterfalls. WOW! From here I saw what looked like a deer path leading farther to somewhere possibly promising and decided I better try it out.


It was pretty sketchy and meandered uphill untill I found myself in a giant mossy/grassy meadow filled with birds that were chirping and singing in the sunlight. I was in total awe at the scene, It was so wild. I however did not get a good picture of this as I sort of allowed myself to exist in the moment of exploring this new area. Above were small cliffs I switch-backed to the top of until I reconnected with the main trail again. It turned out those cliffs where the peak of the third and final viewpoint! What a pleasant surprise.

Views from the meadow

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By this point I was getting tired from all the up and down I had done in the canyon so I decided to lay down and rest on a bed of moss that covered the viewpoint. With virtually no wind and the sun warming everything it touched, I nearly fell asleep on the mossy bed I lay on. it was extraordinarily peaceful. I’m not even the type who sleeps very easily and here I was being lulled by nature, it was amazing. Finally I got up and decided I had seen what I came for and it was time to go home. The rest of the hike was peaceful and still I never met a single person for the duration of the hike.


Oregon Field Guide Link: http://www.opb.org/television/programs/ ... -but-down/

AudreannnaMalia
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Joined: April 24th, 2014, 4:26 pm

Re: Salmon River Canyon 4/22/14

Post by AudreannnaMalia » April 24th, 2014, 6:55 pm

I have always wondered about Salmon River Canyon. Very informative about the dangers of hiking down the canyon. Doing it on a drier day and bringing rope or a few friends sounds like it would be smart. Great pictures! :D

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BrianEdwards
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Re: Salmon River Canyon 4/22/14

Post by BrianEdwards » April 24th, 2014, 7:16 pm

Excellent view of upper Final Falls and Frustration Falls.
Clackamas River Waterfall Project - 95 Documented, 18 to go.

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Double Tree
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Re: Salmon River Canyon 4/22/14

Post by Double Tree » April 25th, 2014, 10:39 am

Done this trail a few times recently. The fawn lilies are in full bloom right now (the upside down white ones). If you look close, you'll see a few fairy slipper orchids too.
Kelly

Jerredkaufman
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Joined: December 23rd, 2013, 3:23 pm

Re: Salmon River Canyon 4/22/14

Post by Jerredkaufman » April 25th, 2014, 11:26 am

Thanks for the correction. Now looking at them they definitely do not look anything like Trilliums. Also I do think I recall seeing the orchids but not too many. Next time I will bring my Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest book it looks like it could use some field time.

payslee

Re: Salmon River Canyon 4/22/14

Post by payslee » April 25th, 2014, 1:27 pm

Welcome to the forum Jerred and thanks for the Gorgeous trip report!

I am super stumble-footed so I appreciate being able to enjoy the beauty of that area vicariously.

Looks like you had a perfect day for that trail with high water, wild sunshine, and lots of peacefulness.

I look forward to more of your TRs to come!

Regards,
payslee

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MariposaMan
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Joined: April 14th, 2014, 10:04 pm
Location: Eugene, OR

Re: Salmon River Canyon 4/22/14

Post by MariposaMan » April 25th, 2014, 3:24 pm

Very nice and informative report. I'll have to add this to my "to do" list.

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Waffle Stomper
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Re: Salmon River Canyon 4/22/14

Post by Waffle Stomper » April 25th, 2014, 6:55 pm

Lovely trip report and photos. Yesterday somebody told me that a section of the trail is washed out. I was wondering if that was the Old Salmon River Trail she was talking about. Did you see a washed out area early on, or one that was repaired?
"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe." - John Muir

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