This past weekend we went hiking in the Opal Creek Wilderness. I had been looking forward to this hike for a long time because I have a fascination with clear water. This hike had lots of clear water with a blue-green tint that looked like gemstones when the sun hit it. After being here and seeing lots of clear, cold, mountain-fed creeks, it's going to be hard to go back to float trips where you can't see anything an inch under the water. Sorry, MO, your water holds way too much mystery hehe. I took a ton of pictures. I couldn't help it. We made a stop at Three Pools before going on to the Opal Creek hike and even though we were exhausted by the end of the day, I'm glad we stopped in to climb around, cross tiny log bridges, and jump from rock to rock.
|I couldn't get enough of this water. I could live on one of these rocks by the water, right?|
Don is in the lower right hand corner of this picture. He had trouble getting me to leave the top of the rocks I climbed because I was having a great time stalking the entire area. See the tall rock pillar in the middle? People climb that and jump off. I should probably revise that sentence and say teenagers climb and jump off of it. Sane people don't do that :).
Here's a video panning around:
There's my head shadow at the bottom of the picture. Even my shadow was happy to be here:
I handed the camera off to Don so I could climb around for a little bit. It reminded me of when I was a kid and we would go to Johnson Shut-Ins... except this place definitely has cooler water (have you caught on about how obsessed I was with this water yet?) .
This little rock in the middle of one of the pools was shaped perfectly for your butt. Could I get a replica of this rock for my living room? It may need to be a tad bit smaller. Maybe I should just get an exact replica for the front yard so a little old lady can't attempt to drive into the living room again. That sounds like a better plan :).
Go, Don, Go!
Here's the gap that Don is jumping over. It's so neat to watch. Don watched it a lot longer than I did because, you know, hydrologic engineer.
I managed to take one picture above and below the water:
So after we left Three Pools we drove down the road to the Opal Creek Trailhead. Into the woods! I love gnarly tree roots and Don so naturally, I love this picture :).
If you take a walk with big trees, you will feel really really tiny.
At about two miles you come across a graveyard of sawmill parts. This is the steel and masonry boiler:
I don't know what this is, but I loved seeing plants creeping up on all of it. Sometimes I wonder if I had Don's brain how much more I would know about things, but then in the next second I think about all the things my brain sees that his doesn't because he is too busy knowing all those other things ;).
Chipmunk!!! I have to say that I spend way too much time on hikes chasing and taking pictures of chipmunks. They are just so damn cute! This one was pretty familiar with all the old equipment and darting in and out of it.
Past the sawmill parts graveyard, you come across this one creepyish building still standing (although by the looks of it not too much longer) and behind it down the hill is Sawmill Falls.
We hung out at Sawmill Falls for awhile and took pictures and video. I could watch the fish all day. They have no where to hide because the water is just too clear for their own good. There was a guy fishing for fun with a pocket pole (teehee) and I couldn't imagine how stressful and neat it would be fishing for fish that you could watch avoid your bait and laugh in your face.
This guy got in the water and he knew I was taking a picture so he was kind enough to look over and smile. I think it was probably part smile/part brave face because his feet were going to fall off from the coldness of the water :)
Here's a video going underwater to show the fish:
The next stop off the trail was a little open area with a natural waterslide. I had worn my swimsuit because I thought maybe I'd be hot but as it turns out, the thick smoke from the forest fires nearby kept the temp in the mid-eighties. I took my shoes off so I could get better pictures of the waterslide and while my feet were in the water, they went numb because that spring water was just too cold for me and I chickened out. The cold water did not stop this little dude and he would get out and run back up to do it again.
All along the trail to jawbone flats there was old mining equipment. I know I'm not the first person to hop in the mine cart, and I won't be the last, but I couldn't help it because all my fond memories of Donkey Kong Country came flooding back to me.
When you get into Jawbone Flats, there are some old cars here and there and lots more rusty metal mining equipment and old house furnaces and just tons of neat stuff to eyeball.
I have a bit of an obsession with Campbell's Soup cans. I love the Cambell's Soup Thermos (I know you've seen it) and the Andy Warhol Campbell's Soup art. It probably comes from the year where I ate nothing but hot dogs and Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup for lunch.
After walking past the information wall, the little shop, and cabins, you reach this sign and you get excited because you are almost there!
The Opal pool area is another place where you can walk around and jump on rocks and enjoy the sound of water flowing and people splashing.
Opal Pool itself is deep and beautiful. It's surrounded by cliffs that you can jump off of into the water. Not too many people were jumping this day but a few did.
This guy jumped in and was trying to get a girl to jump who had been on the fence for about 20 minutes on whether or not to take the plunge. The water here kind of reminded me of the Cool Mint Listerine commercial from the 90's. Yeah, you know the one..the one where the bottle was skimming the blue water and the Tarzan song was playing. It was so pretty that it didn't even look real.
This is Nicole. I know her name is Nicole because she had a fun group with her encouraging her to jump. They tried it all. They played the Rocky theme, they counted her down a lot, they recited the Shia LaBeouf motivational speech, and chanted her name. Nicole said that this was her idea, but it was a lot higher when you're up there and she's not as young as she used to be. I understand Nicole, I totally understand. We left after resting for about a half hour and as we were on the trail on the way out on the other side we got to see Nicole jump. It gave me hope for my old self and made me smile :).
This beautiful regal creature has it all figured out in life:
Don is getting pretty good with the camera and took a couple great pictures of this little guy:
I love everything about this picture... the chipmunk eating who knows what, the log, the whispy moss and the framing in general. Good job, Don :).
We agreed that it was a pretty cool hike as we hobbled back to the car, 7 miles later (more if you count all the Three Pools exploring).