Today we backtrack 20 miles on the Rogue Umpqua Scenic Byway to find waterfalls.
The trail beside the Clearwater Falls takes us to the top
where the water is perfectly still.
Clearwater River, a drainage of the Umpqua River, is springfed, so the water bubbles up from the mossy moist soil intertwined with roots and log jams. (waterfallsnorthwest.com)
Whitehorse Falls is the second and more spectacular falls along the Clearwater River. It’s bedrock consists of rhyolite, rock formed by the solidification of molten rock materials. Granitic magma erupted and cooled quickly hardening into crystals on the surface as opposed to below the Earth’s surface. (geology.com)
Watson Falls is well worth the mile trek one way to get to the observation deck of the 272 foot drop of misty waters. The hike up through shady forest and rocky switchbacks offers some spectacular views as well.
The last falls we visit are the Toketee Falls. The trail leading to the viewing platform is beautiful as well.
The pool of thundering waters captured below is estimated to be between 25,000 and 125,000 years-old. Geologists map its origin from Mount Bailey, the volcano flanking the west shore of Diamond Lake. Over time, swirling sediment from the swift flowing Umpqua River ground out a cavity in the bedrock and formed a huge pothole with an 80 foot drop. (forest plaque)
After climbing up 97 steps and descending another 125, my reward is a graceful waterfall descending into a pretty pool of turquoise water.
I choose my words well, as “toketee” means pretty or graceful in the Chinook Jargon. This language was developed by the Nortwest Native Americans so that many different tribes could communicate for trading purposes. (forest plaque)
As we turn in to the Toketee Falls trailhead, we see this, a 12-foot diameter redwood stave flowline, according to the forest plaque.
Reading further, I find out that it is part of a hydroelectric project completed in 1949. Water from a nearby dam runs through this conduit for 1,500 feet before it transitions into a concrete pipeline supplying enough electricity for 22,500 households via 3 generator turbines.
Finally, we end up at Lemolo Lake, Chinook for “wild or untamed.”
in search of Warm Springs Falls, which we never do find. Oh well, that’s what going with the flow is all about!