I wanted to photograph the fall leaves along the McKenzie trail from Carmen Reservoir to Blue Pool Tamolitch fall. Things did not go as I had hoped but I had a fantastic time and got some great photographs.  We left a couple hours later than I wanted hitting the trail at 11ish instead of 9. The color was fantastic and everywhere.

Breath deep and smell the forest. Listen to the birds calling (Jays don’t sing) See the leaves falling slowly though the foliage. Watch for the squirrels  running up and down the trees collecting seeds.
Bright yellow big leave maples, dark green ferns and evergreen trees and the red orange yellow and light greens of the vine maples. the temps were in the lower 50’s and it was hiking heaven. There were photographs at every turn.
I had some problems photographing these bright red vine maple leaves against the large Cedar tree trunk. Too much shadow too much light. I remember saying that the light would be much better on the return trip.
The McKenzie river trail is used by hikers and mountain bikers so the bridges are pretty sturdy and one sided. There were 5 of them on this trail and my hiking partner and I crossed 4 of them.  This was the first bridge a photo from both sides.

After the second bridge we started meeting other trail users. There were groups of bicyclists and 3 hunters.  After meeting these trail users Aurora became more sensitive to other users on the trail and was constantly alerting us to them before they got to us.  Truly making the hike more enjoyable for all as we were able to step out of the way.
Last spring this stand of alders was standing in the middle of the river. This fall the river has gone back underground. It was so amazing to see the difference.
I was pretty sure we were about half way to our final destination.
I couldn’t help myself these bridges were surrounded by so much color that I kept photographing them 
At this bridge I realized that I was losing the light, my hiking partner’s knee was keeping her from going any further. It was just 3:00 However the sun now goes down a bit before 6 and we had at least a 3 hour hike back to the car. So we headed back. The late afternoon light was incredible  but it would not last long.
Aurora liked this little spot between two lava rocks.it make a pretty good hiding place.
   but when another hiker came upon us she was in the leaves. Nothing like mother nature for camo.
The same trail looked so much different when heading back and the light is now dropping behind the trees but not setting.

  by the time we were at the first  bridge the sun was below the ridge line.
         And those vine maple leaves I had trouble photographing because of the light. Well they were entirely different after sunset. I was right the light was less contrasty on the return trip. because there was almost none.
We did finish the hike in the dark but it was only the last quarter mile and I knew where we were. We finished the hike at a little after 7.
So while we didn’t make our destination and we did finish in the dark it was still an enjoyable trip. Next year we will make it to Blue Pool, with the fall leaves still on the trees.