Wintertime in the Northwest is a great time to enjoy the outdoors. I recently went on a snowshoeing day trip with my fiance, Nathan, and his best friend Keith to celebrate Keith's birthday. It was the end of January, and in Eugene we had gone through series of what we consider really cold temperatures--highs in the low 20s. I know, it's worse in other parts of the country, but to me that's really cold. But snowshoeing is one of those activities that I did once at Gold Lake last year, and I enjoyed it so much, I knew it was worth it to get out in the cold and do it again.
After stopping for coffee--the boys only, of course, because I don't like to drink it--we set out for Highway 126 East, also called McKenzie Highway. I like this drive, especially in the fall when the leaves turn vibrant colors. This is the highway I like to take if I go to Bend or farther, like when I went to Boise one time. But that Saturday we didn't go that far, only about an hour to get to our first stop, the beginning of Tamolitch Trail to go to Blue Pool, also called Tamolitch Pool. This turquoise pool is one of the clearest, most beautiful bodies of water I've ever seen. The trail to it isn't that far either. It's only a few miles, according to one website. We made plenty of photo op stops along the way to take pictures of the McKenzie River, snow and a bird that kept diving into the middle of the river. The three of us were the only ones on the trail for a while. We only saw about four other people and one or two dogs the entire time we were there. It's peaceful, almost like it's your own backyard, especially when you get to Blue Pool. The water is so clear, you can see almost all of the rocks covered in a shade of turquoise. The only experience I can compare it to is when I first saw Crater Lake. It's so picturesque, it almost doesn't even look real. The is definitely a place I'd like to see once each season to see how it changes throughout the year.
After getting back to the car, we ate lunch and headed to our next destination not too far off: Sahalie Falls. I've been there in the summer, but not the winter, let alone with snowshoes. This was a little more tricky to do with snowshoes because the trail is a little more steep and winds back and forth a little bit. I'm glad I rented poles. This is a great place to take pictures of the falls and the river, especially with slow shutter speeds which make the water blur. Nathan and Keith, of course, always want to get a better angle for their pictures, so they carefully make their way off the trail to take some great shots. I also recommend this hike in the summer.
Our last stop was Koosah Falls, but I kind of wimped out and stayed in the car. They guys were only gone for about 15 minutes, but I had been in a jazz performance at the Hult Center the night before so I was pretty tired, and I didn't know I was going on this trip until the day before we left. It's kind of fun planning last-minute trips though. I'll have to check out Koosah next time.
I recommend showshoeing to anyone who hasn't tried it. It's basically walking on snow. You can take your time, and there are plenty of trails available for all skill levels. If there's a trail that you enjoy during the warmer seasons, check to see if it's a good place to snowshoe on because it will give you a different perspective that you might find more interesting.
Let me know what your favorite place to snowshoe is! I'd like to check it out.