Friday, July 28, 2017

Henline Falls

Had to sneak in a hike, somehow. Dollie had gone off to visit family in Spokane, leaving me untended for a couple of weeks, what could possibly go wrong? The answer to that question is better left for blogs about crazy glue and cats, not humble little blogs about the wonderful avocation of hiking. At any rate, Dollie was coming home and I had to quickly clean up the smoke stains and return the kangaroo to the game park. She was swinging by Beaverton to visit daughter Aislinn, plus she was bringing Daweson back with her, who had been visiting his father, also a Spokane resident. I went up to visit Aislinn and husband Justin, and to take Daweson off of Dollie's hands. To make a good trip gooder, Daweson and I broke up the long trip to Roseburg with a short hike in the Opal Creek Wilderness.

This little corner of the Opal Creek
Wilderness is beautifully forested

From the trailhead, the path was all about the forest. The shade was as deep and dark as a poet in the midst of a creative spell. It was cool as a bowl of gazpacho too, much appreciated when the weather is as hot as a spoonful of my Tio Jorge's menudo and I think I'm meataphor'd out. At any rate, the day was warm, but definitely cooler under the trees as Daweson scampered through a dirt path in a forest thick and lush. Me, I didn't scamper but did take lots of pictures.

Ha ha sun, you can't touch this!
We did take a little side trip when a less-used trail intersected with the main trail to Henline Falls. We followed it for a bit and the brush and brambles severely encroached the path, which eventually petered out altogether, going nowhere in the process. So, it was a short backtrack to the main trail but we did add some mileage to a short hike.

Henline Creek goes over the edge
Rounding a bend at the mile mark, Henline Creek made an appearance under the maple trees. A slow breeze brought up cool moist air from the creek and both Daweson and I stopped and contentedly sighed "Ahhh...". This little creek had seen mining activity in the past and there were some cement abutments on the trail that we had to scramble over. Higher up on the cliff, the dark and mysterious mining adit (entrance or door, in mining vernacular) of Silver King Mine called out to us. The trees petered out at the base of a tall cliff that was cloven in two. Henline Creek tumbled over the gray cliffs in more than one place and water collected in a tranquil pool at the bottom of the falls.

Daweson tests his barefoot climbing skills
Time for us to play which meant Daweson waded and scaled cliff walls while I took way too many pictures of the falls and splash basin. I did scale the cliff with him to explore the mining adit. You could walk about 10 yards in an increasingly dark tunnel until a gate wisely prevented more exploration.

Splash pool at Henline Falls
After an hour's worth of waterfall-based recreation, we regretfully put shoes back on and headed back down the trail. On the way back, there was a plume of smoke rising up to the sky, it was the Whitewater Fire, the future bane of my Epic Eclipse Backpack Trip of All Time. But for now, this little hike made driving in the hot Willamette Valley more bearable, not that it is really unbearable in the first place, but you get my drift.

The Cave Creature of Silver King Mine
For more pictures, please visit the Flickr album.


  1. A long time ago, I hiked into Henline Falls on a camping trip to the Opal Creek Wilderness area with Alan, Geof and Craig. The thing I remember best about Henline is that I ended up sliding down a very rocky trail, permanently staining a new shirt and pants. Camping with no showers meant I spent the whole time looking (and no doubt smelling) like pigsty.

    Cheers, Lois

  2. Lois, you could never smell like a pigsty unless it was at the end of a 6-day backpack trip!