Falls Creek Falls Trail
Living in beautiful, gorgeous, green Oregon, (with its self-proclaimed, “7 wonders”) it’s easy to forget about our neighbor to the north- Washington, and all of the amazing natural spaces it has, too.
This was how I felt as I stood at the bottom of Falls Creek Falls, up near Carson, Washignton, watching feathery wisps of cold creek water pour over the ledges of not just one, but two falls, before it culminated in a brisk cascading pool of white-water.
We started the day out as most good PNW weekend days do- mildly hungover at brunch. My friend’s cousin from Ukraine was visiting her and we wanted to make sure he got out on some gorgeous hikes in the states before heading back home. After scarfing down a mouthwateringly-great late breakfast, we loaded our Osprey packs with snacks, filled our water bottles and set off for the leisurely day hike.
Now, it seems almost unfair that a place this cool was so easy to hike to. The trail was only 1.7 miles in to the falls and 1.7 miles back. We had originally been looking to take the longer 6.4 mile “balloon” route, but we ran into some issues that made us forget that plan and begin booking it back down the trail as fast as possible. But I’ll get to that later.
The hike started in a dirt parking lot which boasted no cell phone service. That was our first sign that this hike was going to be a beautiful one. Anastasia, Damien, Elvin, Totem (the tiny anxious and adorable terrier that belongs to Anastasia and Damien) and myself started off chatting along the dusty path. We were quickly quieted, however, by the woods around us. A creek followed the path for at least half of the trail, and its burbling combined with the cool shade of the trees set the serene mood for the walk in.
Meandering through the forest we saw trees that must have been hundreds of years old. Before too long, we came to a small bridge that crossed over a long-dry creek bed that we all imagined must host a raging current or water during the spring time.
The woods were open and calm. We passed some other hikers, but nothing in the amount we thought we would be seeing for a summer Saturday in Oregon. But wait- we weren’t in Oregon. We were north of our home state in Washington. We should come here more often…
As the path made another turn from left to right, we saw through the trees the impressively gorgeous falls we had come to find. Falls Creek Falls- It was awesome!
We couldn’t stop staring. Elvin, the cousin from Ukraine, immediately went down to the lowest pool for a quick skinny dip. I mean hey, why not?
Damien had disappeared after a few moments but we thought nothing of it. Then, we heard some shouting from near the falls. It was Damien! He was safe- don’t worry. He’d just found a path out to the middle of the falls. We quickly found the path he’d taken and began making our way to him.
It was a slightly trickier path than what we’d been traveling across earlier (read: not so good for kids) but we got to an amazing picnic spot pretty soon and quickly broke out our snacks. Our surroundings were blissful. More photos were snapped, cheese was shared and everyone was content.
TOTEM… vs. The Bee
Someone noticed the little dog had been itching a lot. It looked like his stomach might be red, though that wasn’t unusual for him- he sometimes got heat rash from running too much. Anastasia picked him up. It wasn’t heat rash.
This poor pup had angry red boils all along his stomach and running up his front legs. We froze. Then we remembered that Elvin had told us he’d taken a bee out of Totem’s mouth about 30 minutes ago. Allergic reaction. To a bee. That’s what was happening.
And none of us had any Benadryl.
We quickly wrapped up our picnic spot and began passing the pup up a train along the path because he couldn’t climb it himself and we didn’t want him rubbing his legs together and irritating the rash further. Thank god my friends didn’t have a husky.
We got up the trickier trail and back onto the main path. We were jogging. Totem was being carried until he whined too much, then we would put him down and continuously called his name so he never had a moment to sit and itch more.
As we were hurrying along the trail, I was running our current situation over and over in my mind. We were about 40 minutes from the car, maybe 30 minutes from the closest store where we could buy Benadryl and then another hour and a half from home. Anastasia began asking everyone we passed if they had any Benadryl. We debated aloud for a while if maybe it was actually poison oak, but eventually refuted that idea. We moved quicker. We all watched Totem.
Then, finally- we came across someone who had the drugs on them.
There is probably no worse feeling than the feeling of wondering if your friends’ dog is about to go into anaphylactic shock while you’re 30 minutes from help. Maybe if you were said dog’s owner. That’s the only way you could be feeling worse.
We thanked the woman profusely (who was allergic to walnuts and so always carried benadryl on her) and fed Totem his doggie-sized dose as quickly as we could. We waited and continued to hike back to the car, nervously keeping an eye on the tiny guy. After about 10-15 minutes we picked him up to check again- and the boils had gone down! His skin was red and agitated, but the angry fluidy bumps had receded and he’s noticeably stopped scratching himself so often.
Everyone breathed a collective sigh of relief. The dog was out of trouble!
We slowed our pace to a walk and began to enjoy the woods around us again. We even stopped off at a lower part of the creek to hang our feet in the water and dip totem in it to cool him off more.
As we wound our way back to the parking lot, we all felt happier than when we’d left. Although we’d missed the longer hiking route due to a dog-emergency, we’d had a beautiful, scary and exciting Saturday in Washington.
We’ll probably be back again soon.
And yes, Totem slept for the entire drive back home.