Hiking Abiqua Falls

June 22, 2016

 

Every hike is an adventure… and some days, no matter how much planning you do there will be times where perhaps you bite off a little more than you can chew. This is exactly what I think of when I explain and reminisce on my long awaited Abiqua Falls visit. I had decided while on this recent trip, visiting my family and friends in Oregon that I would finally make the drive and visit this epic and much photographed waterfall. I have long used All Trails when recording my track while hiking to make sure I take the right trail in order to end up at my desired end goal. So, I set off last week on a Tuesday morning where the skies filled with storm clouds and just as I started my hike down to the falls, it started DUMPING rain. I got about 2 miles down the trail and then realized there was no way the track I was following could be right. I considered turning around once the claps of thunder and lightning in the sky began, but I was there to meet a goal, so I pushed on despite my cautious nature. 
I kept following the supposed track in order to find the correct trail, but time and time again I failed. I decided that after many missteps along tree lined and overgrown ‘false trails’ that hiking along these old growth trees that this was nowhere to be during a thunder and lightning storm, so 3.5 miles in, I turned around. As an experienced hiker, I do believe turning around no matter what the circumstance, is never a bad or wrong idea. 
I got in my car with the intent to still see waterfalls, at nearby Silver Falls State Park. But… just as I was getting back into town and cell phone range, the skies opened up to a clear blue and sunshine. Abiqua was calling me back… 
So, this time, I reached out to a friend who gave me much better ‘girl’ directions and I sped back to the trail in my thankfully, high profile vehicle. I decided I would drive down as far as I could and then start the downhill trail to the falls. On my way back, I came across a couple who was stuck in their late 90’s Toyota Corrola and helped drive them back up to less treacherous ground so they could escape the rain storm. (In writing this, I hope we are able to connect) After that, I kept on and arrived at a locked gate marked private property. My friend, Jo’s directions were exactly what I needed all along! The directions were now to find the trail located about 10 yards going back the other way up the trail, so of course, I took the first thing I saw down. 
This trail was perhaps the most steep trail I had ever been on and the slick mud, pouring rain and rope needed to climb down were not part of the most ideal conditions. But, I was determined. After getting down this wall of mud, I looked up and wasn’t quite sure how I was going to make it back up, but I went on to hunt the falls. I even saw a snake as I was wiping the caked mud off my hands after self rappelling this trail down, and I merely rolled my eyes at it, having just accomplished something more scary than some coiled snake. As I made my way to the falls, I noticed another much more mild trail down with yellow ropes and apparently this is a much, much easier way down. Noted… This is the way I will return back to my car. 
You continue down an overgrown and tree fallen trail along a flowing creek and this is where you can have a sigh of relief and realize you are just around the corner of something incredible. An epic sight… perhaps the most incredible waterfall I have ever seen. The misadventure was worth every misstep, every bit of drama I put up with to get down here. I would gladly do it again. 
The aftermath of this trip included the following: poison oak around both ankles (from going down so many ‘false trails’, two tick bites (non lyme carrying, thankfully), and a water logged phone that shut off later that evening (despite life proof case and was saved thanks to a late night bath in a ziplock with rice a roni). Not to mention, a full day of being cold, wet and mud ridden clothes. And… I would do it all again and perhaps not change any of the circumstances that got me there. 

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