Last year at this time I photographed this bridge crossing the McKenzie River at Carmen Reservoir. I also photographed some of the white water rapids above this bridge. My plan last Wednesday was to go photograph the area again and to allow my German Shepherds a chance to play in the water. Since I wasn’t planning on any real hiking to a destination we left late. I knew it would take about an hour or less to get to the reservoir. What I wasn’t ready for was that the dam and parking / trailhead was closed. Sigh… Plan B.
Since we were already on the west side of the Cascades, I decided that Plan B would be driving the Aufderheide Scenic Drive from highway 126 and Cougar Reservoir to the town of Westfir and Highway 58. A 60 + mile drive that I had not ever completed. I had been to cougar reservoir before but there had been two fires in the area in 2017 and again 2018. So the drive became exploratory with new territory to check out. The reservoir was not filled which was surprising but then again I figure the Eugene Water and Electric board may be working on this dam as well as Carman and Trailbridge. There was much damage done to the road as a result of the fires and mudslides. Everything was different than I remembered but not unexpected. Once we got past the damage from the 2017 Rebel fire everything became green and the South Fork of the McKenzie was beautiful. Green and quiet. We found a little unnamed camp area that was unoccupied, we parked the car in the shade and turned the Germies loose.

 Nova was in playing slapping the water wading out to where she had to swim and then coming back. Aurora was having none of that and would not go in past her ankles.

I suspect that this is the McKenzie River Muppet.

It was the perfect place to be on a hot summer day.
I photographed alder leaves floating in the river or caught on the mossy covered rocks.

and I got my bridge crossing the McKenzie river, shot. Just not the main river but the south fork.

we went up stream a bit and I got this nice shot looking down river, the bridge was around the corner.

Looking upriver the water was this beautiful blue green color where the water flowed into a deeper pool.

Which Nova proceeded to swim out in. I admit I was tempted to go in with her.
The rest of the trip was just as beautiful but since I didn’t know how long it was going to take I didn’t stop along the way. we crossed over the pass and went from the South fork of the McKenzie to the North fork of the Willamette river. I found several places I would like to go back and photograph and I am thinking in the fall when the maple leaves start turning color will be a perfect time.
After we hit Highway 58 we headed back east towards home and along Salt Creek. Our last stop was Salt Creek Falls which is the second highest falls in Oregon at 286 feet in a single drop.

It was already 5ish and the day had been long so we didn’t explore the trail better. Another day. We headed on to hwy 97 and back north home.
All in all it was a bit over 7 hours and about 300 miles round trip. I am already planning our next trip back to Aufderheide scenic road. We will leave earlier and take the trip from the Willamette side back over to the McKenzie. Most likely will take longer than 7 hours though.