Avenue of Falls: Umpqua National Forest
After watching and learning from friends, I wanted to give camping a try on my own. I picked Umpqua National Forest in Oregon, just south of Eugene, for its locale, the access to numerous campsites, and many waterfalls and hot springs along the main highway.
I started the night by finding an open campsite. With many camp grounds open, there were a ton to choose from. However, Diamond Lake Campground had the most amount of sites. Setting up camp for the first time by myself was easy with the many other people around to help in case I needed it.
After I got my camp set up, I walked down to the boat dock to catch sunset over the lake. I reheated some food with my trusty Jet Boil and had dinner on the lake with the sunset. The weather was warm and clear and made for a perfect end to the day.
I woke up early, packed up camp and headed to Umpqua Hot Springs, which was about 20 miles down the road from Diamond Lake. At 5 am, I thought I’d be the only one here. But other people had the same great idea and there were 2 other couples who had come to enjoy a relaxing soak in the hot springs before the day started. I was able to quickly snap this shot before the 3rd set of couples showed up. Then, it was time to move on to the next site.
By the time it was 7 am, there was enough light in the sky to make the shadows dance on the trail to Toketee Falls. This was a quick easy hike with a bunch of stairs that took you to a look out over the fall. The intrepid can continue on to the base of the falls via a steep rope section and a bit of scrambling. Having the falls all to myself that morning was pretty special.
While it was a quick overnight trip, there was so much more to see. The proximity of everything made it easy to do a lot in a short amount of time. I would definitely go back with friends to explore more and spend more time in this rich forest.