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One of the awesome things about being part of a local photography group is that we’re exposed to a lot of obscure locations I would otherwise miss.  Abiqua Falls was one such recent find.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2015

Located near the much more popular (and crowded) Silver Falls, this little spot can be found off of Crooked Finger Rd.  This trail is short, but it is not for the faint of heart.  First, you must traverse about a mile of dirt road that gets very rocky near the end.  Vehicles with low clearance should steer clear; a 4-wheel drive is highly recommended.  Fortunately, we were able to hitch a ride with a friend driving such a vehicle.  Needless to say, my pedometer errantly registered a lot of excess steps on that road; it’s rough.  Our sporty coup would not have survived.

Once you reach the trailhead (which is literally just the end of the road, blocked by a metal gate), pull off to side.  The turnaround is tight, so excessively large trucks are also discouraged.  Someone in our caravan parked their yacht of a truck about a hundred yards from the end of the road at a bend with much more breathing room.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2015

Note that this is an off-the-beaten-trail trek.  Not to say there isn’t a trail, but it isn’t well-marked (or really marked at all).  There are no outhouses, so go before you get there if you aren’t comfortable using nature’s bathroom.  Keep left to descend to the creek.  The trail itself can be a tad slick, especially after any kind of rainfall; hiking boots are a good idea.  Also, don’t wear your good clothes, as you’re likely to get a bit muddy scrambling down the steep incline (there are ropes to assist).

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2015

Once you get down to the creek bed, follow the water along the rocky shore, around the bend and to the falls.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2015

We were pretty late in getting there, so the sun was already shining over the bowl, providing some harsh contrast.  However, it did make for some beautiful reflections.

It also made the wet rocks steam.  It was somewhat eerie.

And, of course, mossy silhouettes.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2015

As for the falls, themselves, sun + mist = god rays 🙂

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2015

And sometimes, when you have harsh sunlight, you just have to go with it.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2015

It was a beautiful trail, but it would have been easier to photograph with a bit of cloud cover.  I would definitely try it again.

We wrapped up the hike with a visit to a local winery, AlexEli Vineyard.

We were treated with some vibrant oak fall colors, and we even got a few patches of clouds to even out the contrast.

I was beside myself in this autumn haven; it’s a photographer’s dream.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2015

After a visit to a pretty authentic taqueria in Woodburn, we called it a night, much later than the originally estimated 2pm, but hey – just another day in the life of a photographer!

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2015

See the full album on Flickr.

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