Opal Creek near Mill City Oregon
Just myself (hikin_mike1960)
Distant: 6 miles
16 May, 2010
Directions: From Salem, OR, take Highway 20 toward Mill City. At the second yellow blinking light prior to getting to Mill City turn left on to North Fork Road. Travel about 20 miles to a gate across the road, park and start walking up the gravel road.
It was a great day for pictures and Opal Creek is a great place to do just that. The creek in itself is one of the most beautiful ones around. The color of the water is outstanding, Cristal clear and lots of great places to shoot. Plus it has tons of junk just waiting to have its picture taken. From old logging equipment, mining tools of the trade and personality that will not quite. I have been there several times and came back with lots of memories captured in my camera. Now all I have to do is sort through them all and post them on my website (http://www.takeawalkwithmothernature.com/).
Now for the walk in, 3 miles of gravel road that roll along the creek. About half way there on the right of the road, you will come upon a bunch of old logging gear. There is an old boiler, a couple of winches from the Battleship Oregon, rails and tons of other junk. I recommend bring a tripod due to everything is mostly under trees. I spent about 30 minutes or more shooting away. The story goes that logging was stopped due to an accident where a log truck driver and his rig tumbled down into the creek and died. Also a cute little spotted owl caused all sorts of legal problems and the courts stated the logging was to be shutdown.
Once back on the road there will be a couple of boarded up mine shafts that runs into the mountain. I wonder about the stories they hold. I have read somewhere that the miners never did find gold but was awarded with other treasures of the earth. Upon arriving at Opal Creek Learning Center one finds a dream place for us photographers. There is old junk everywhere, old trucks, woodstoves, mining equipment and a couple of creeks join together. If you happen to go there in the fall the vine maple adds a new twist to the area with all the fall colors. After more pictures captured in my camera and some time for lunch, I head for the trail to Opal Pond. This is a nice chance to walking on gravel roads. I found some Fawn Lillies along the trail and an old trail bridge to add to my collection of pictures to bring home.
About a mile or so you come to a bridge that crosses the creek and gets you back to the gravel road again. I decided to push myself back the my truck. Remember the big five day hike my friends and I are taking at the end of August. Did I ever tell you how much I hate walking on gravel roads. They seem to go on for ever with not much excitment to be had. Plus it never fails as I walk along I roll my ankle over a couple of times. Why it happens I do not know. I did get a nice heart rate going and was glad to get my backpack off when I get back to my truck.
On the way home I reflected on the hike and how at peace I was. I tried calling my daughter, miss erin and could only leace a message. Once home, she returned my call and after the "hello's", she said she had some important news for me. Well to make a long story short, I am going to be a grandpa. She is happy about it and so I am too. I wish her the best and lots of love. One more adventure I get to add into my life. Be safe out there and enjoy Mother Nature and find peace.