Alsea Falls, revisited
February 14, 2015

Keely and I last visited Alsea Falls in January of 2001 - 14 years and 3 dogs ago. On this, the 156th anniversary of Oregon's statehood, we decided to go again.

Alsea Falls is a real pain in the patootie to get to - very twisty roads, and even a one lane road at the end. It's worth it.

Darling hadn't been on a 'real' hike yet - for the past few years Keely has been busy running marathons and I have been occupied with the Toledo Community Boathouse. We decided we needed to get back into the woods, and the 3.5 mile hike at Alsea Falls would be an excellent starting point.

This year has been warm and wet - it was actually in the high 50s on our walk. Those conditions are perfect for fungi growing in the damp and rotting wood. I don't know what this is called, but it was on a cedar log and bigger than my hand. Keely refused to see it if was poisonous.

The gates to the campground were locked - of course, it is February, after all, but it was no problem to walk around them and over the steel bridge over the South Fork of the Alsea river.

Right away, you are into the rain forest - the air is literally saturated and moss covers everything. That has to be a Vine Maple (Acer circinatum) under there, but we just called it a Spider Tree.

Water, water, everywhere - and bridges, too. Darling, sweet little house dog she is, wanted nothing to do with bridges. Aurora just don't care - she turns going on walks into a career.

Nursery tree - dead stump giving life.

Moss everywhere - soft as feathers and choking the life out of everything it touches.

We'd hit the trail a little after 10am, the sun was slanting through the trees.

Oregonians feel sad for the Irish - they only have 46 shades of green.

These are most likely Bird's Nest Fungus, probably of the GenusCrucibulum of the Family Nidulariaceae (I don't really know - and as I'm not eating any of it, it's close enough.)

Lichens are all over - littering the ground like newspapers in big cities. This is most likely one of the Lobaria pulmonaria. Back in the day, learned people thought God had provided us with everything we needed for happiness and left us clues. Because this lichen sort of looked like a lung, it was used to treat lung ailments. Since most of the time, people don't die when they are sick, it was deemed effective. Until science. Damn science.

I dunno what this is, but the leaves (maybe 3" long by 1" wide) are very pretty.

This is a Conk - a Bracket Fungus. Our best guess was the droplets were water - they weren't very viscous - but again, Keely refused to determine if they were poisonous or not.

These little blue flowers were the only things that weren't white or green. No idea as to what they are, as Google is useless when you enter "Little blue flower" as a search term.

Oh, man. Fungi terrify me as there is little difference between tasty and deadly, but this little bugger is in a class of its own. I wish I had more information for you, but doing a Google Image Search on Clear White Fungus yields horrifying results.

To cleanse the pallet, an old favorite: Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum)


Here's a pile of moss - about as tall as my thigh, complete with a fairy house. I've read enough that - no matter how tempting - don't hit a fairy house with a stick.

By now, Darling had adjusted to her circumstance - she plowed over this little bridge without even thinking.

Green Peak Falls - it's been raining a lot this winter, so the falls are really flowing.

Time for a self timer. Nice family photo.

I wanted a shot to update my FaceBook profile, so I walked out on the rocks. Keely took 3, but I liked this one the best, because I am trying to grow a bread and it is damn itchy.

On the return trip, we got a nice shot of the rushing, rain swollen, South Fork of the Alsea River

At the Day Use area, we were able to cross over to the other side and get some pics of Alsea Falls itself. There was a shocking number of people out and about - including the young couple who took this picture for us.

Up closer to the falls, Keely and Darling.

This is a shot down the falls. That river be ragin' yo.

We finished the day with a visit to Deb's Diner in Alsea. Nice place. If you get out that way, stop in, they could probably use the business.