This is an isolated photo in this day's folder, and at first I wasn't certain what it's a photo of. But in terms of sequence, and comparing it to Dana's photos at the same location, it has to be Ollalie Creek. The Ollalie Campground is just off Route 126, where we pulled off to have a look at this entirely spring-sourced tributary to the McKenzie. The thing that threw me off is that I had forgotten what a large and voluminous stream it was. I remembered it looked awfully energetic, and that I wouldn't want to wade it- that it looked as if, without precautions, it could be quite dangerous. And like (nearly) all the other water in this area, it's only a bit above freezing, which makes it even more treacherous. But when I looked at this shot earlier, my first reaction was "Is that just a narrow spot on the McKenzie I've forgotten about?" Nope. It's a tributary stream.
I think this is the best view I've seen of Koosah Falls. There's a direct trail from the parking area to the eastern lip of the falls, and there's a longer trail that heads downstream a bit before heading back up and rejoining the shorter bit, making a brief loop. I'm pretty sure this spot was just below where the longer trail rejoins the shorter segment. A spur off the longer path provides a more distant, but less obscured, view.
It appears, from this post by Walter Sullivan (If Oregon had a Hiker Laureate, he would be it.), that there is a loop trail between Koosah and Sahalie, with the other portion on the far side of the river. The views would certainly be different, and possibly better, from the other side. However, the hike that I've have gotten myself all hyped-up about, in the course of doing this McKenzie segment, can be seen on the map on page 3 of this PDF: a 7.5 mile downhill hike from Clear Lake to Trail Bridge Reservoir, which would include as a highlight Tamolitch Falls and Blue Pool. From Carmen Reservoir to Tamolitch, the McKenzie goes underground again, to re-emerge full blown at Blue Pool, except during heaviest flow periods. So for several miles below Carmen, the river is present only as a dry bed, and Tamolitch isn't so much a "falls" as a precipice. Logistically, this would require two or more cars, but I've got a lot of Interzone People excited about it, several of whom have vehicles. So I'm just waiting for Dana to start thinking about geogalavanting for the season.
The forest canopy around Koosah falls is heavy, and there are relatively few spots with a more or less unobstructed view. In fact, there's only one spot I've found where one can see almost the entire cascade without some kind of foliage in the way, and it's well back from the plunge. This is a pretty good shot for this waterfall: you can get a good sense of its form, even with the obscuring conifers. However, I think my best shot is the one I'm planning for tomorrow.
In addition to the "parking lot spring" east of the road, there are numerous springs emerging into the gorge below Koosah Falls. As I mentioned way back near the beginning of the Geo series, "I spent more time gazing at these than looking at the falls themselves." We're looking over the eastern lip of the falls here; as you can tell, this isn't the best spot to view the falls themselves. There are a few spots downstream (south) with better views, but the thick forest foliage makes these falls fairly elusive.
The previous entry in this set was looking more closely at the spring emerging in the bottom middle of this photo. But looking up and generally south, it's a very pretty forest pool. While not exactly hidden, it's not exactly obvious either. It's easy to spot if you look for it, but there is a narrow line of trees and brush between the parking area and the spring. Furthermore, the attraction here is Koosah Falls, which lies in the opposite direction, to the west. So the natural inclination is to get out of your car and walk away from this feature. It's not something I would have known about if Anne hadn't pointed it out, but it's well worth taking a few minutes to enjoy.
I'm not finding a whole lot of information on Ice Cap Spring/Creek, but on our July 2013 trip, Anne pointed out this spring just east of the Koosah Falls parking area. Ice Cap Campground and Day Use Area are just a hundred yards or so south. The turnout for both the falls and camp, off of highway 126. are the same; you branch north to the falls, south for the campground. At any rate, I'm guessing this is the headwaters of Ice Cap Creek. I'm standing on dry ground here, and the spring emerges from under my feet, and into another one of those preternaturally clear pools and streams that are so common on the Upper McKenzie.
On this trip, we walked down along the gorge below Sahalie Falls, maybe a bit less than half a mile. However, I was leery about earning too much of a return hike back uphill, so I called a halt fairly quickly. The river is beautiful in both sight and sound, and it's impressive to realize just how rapidly it can incise into these recent lava flows. On the other hand, looking at its intense energy here, maybe it's not too surprising.
While the title is a riff on my discovery yesterday of what "Sahalie" means, there is a stairway, or at least a trail, up to the top of the falls here. I've never walked up there, and I think that's something I should change. That trail segment is a minor portion of a trail system that extends from above Clear Lake down to the lower McKenzie Valley. The next major trip I make up here, my goal is the two-mile hike from Carmen Reservoir to Tamolich, or Blue Pool. From Carmen to Tamolich, the river is once again completely underground for most of the year. It then re-emerges at the Blue Pool. This is something I want to see.
Next time I tour this area, I need to scribble down mileages. But something like two to three miles south of the entrance to the Clear Lake Recreation Area, and maybe a mile or so past the end of the lake and the campground at the southeast end, is a pullout on the west to Sahalie Falls. I'm pretty sure Anne said there is no substantive water that enters the McKenzie River between the lake and this waterfall, so what we're seeing here basically represents the total amount of spring flow into Clear Lake. I don't have enough experience with seeing known flow rates to judge the amount of water flowing here. However, it's pretty obvious to me that the flow rate here is a great deal larger than at "The Spring Who Shall Not Be Named," where it's on the order of a few cubic meters per second.
On another note, while attempting to track down distances, I came across a nice bit of trivia: "Sahalie (or "Heaven") and Koosah (or "Sky") are Chinook Jargon words - part of a rudimentary trade language that allowed people to exchange news and goods in the area." Heaven is certainly an apt descriptor for this spot.
An important aspect of being a geologist, or an outdoors person of any type, is noting landmarks for navigating. For example, I know the turn-off for Hole-in-the-Ground is right near milepost 31 outside of La Pine. No sign indicates that turn until you reach the gravel road itself, so if you're zooming down the highway, and see milepost 29, you know it's time to slow down a bit and watch the east berm more carefully. In this case, the relevant sign is more prominent, and placed, helpfully, both on the nearer side of the road, and near a hill crest. I spent years thinking Clear Lake was farther south, but it's closer to McKenzie Junction than I'd thought. The road down to the lake is narrow, one-way, and winding, and loops back to exit north of the entrance. So if you're driving south along 126, and stop here (VERY highly recommended!), you'll see this sign twice, once before your visit, and once again as you leave.
I think what Anne was communicating here was "NO!" As in "say next to nothing about this spot!" I prefer to see a head-and-cross-bones, as in "I will walk you off off the plank if you reveal this location." See Saturday's post, if you missed it, for as much information as I'm going to give about this spring.