I have traveled up this drainage in the past – when I was working as a hydrologist for the Willamette NF – but I had never gone up it with camera in hand.  There are little houses and old abandoned buildings all the way along until you reach the National Forest – it is at that point that you enter the Opal Creek scenic area and the road turns to gravel.  The road Y’s just before that area and I took the fork that lead me across the river and ultimately up and over the mountains and down French Creek on the south side.  I had heard a comment about the road not being for the faint of heart but to me it was fine – little rough in spots and you could tell where a fill had been lost during storms but overall it was nice dusty drive.  The view of Mt. Jefferson down the French Creek drainage would be beautiful as a sunrise shot but yesterday it was just clear blue sky and sunshine. Not very interesting.

My first stop was at a little BLM recreation site named Canyon Creek on the banks of the Little North Santiam.  Since it was still pretty early the sun had not completely blown out the scenes and it was a quiet gentle morning along the banks.  This first image is a small panorama of 3 images stitched to get in the full width of the stream and you can see the wonderful reflected colors from the riparian vegetation.

River_light_panoI spent quite a bit of time just looking and found this simple reflection of bank rocks – there is something almost oriental about image – at least to me.

Bank_reflectionBy 0930 the sun was up and I found myself looking for shaded subjects.  I took some back roads under the timber that did not seem to be traveled all that much yet there were signs of dispersed camping all along.  I did stop at a recreation site named 3-Pools but there was just too much light for good shots but it looks interesting.  The parking area was a mess – trash every where.

On one of the side roads I found some well developed Foxglove – love the color in this wild version

Digitalis_combo Digitalis_combo_2Giving up on photography for the day I decided to drive Forest Road 2307 over the mountains and down the other side.  The basic idea was to scout for future outings and I found 1 or 2.   Coming down French Creek I noticed a small step falls and stopped and dug out the camera to see what I could capture.  For the most part it was in dappled shade.  There was a couple camped beside it – lovely spot for them.

French_Cr_stepfallsIt was a nice outing and I was almost sad to return to the heat of the Valley.