Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Here Fishy Fishy

Central Oregon fall trip, day two!  (And yes, I know those critters in the photo below aren't fishies)

I'm very lucky to have not only my daughter, but also one of my brothers living in the outdoor recreation mecca that is Bend, Oregon.

Not fishies

I was ready to explore some "new to me" Central Oregon hiking trails, so the day after hiking in Smith Rock State Park my daughter and I picked up my brother Dale and headed south of Bend.  Pulling out of my brother's driveway, we spied some of the locals taking a nap in a neighbor's front yard.  The deer here are so used to humans, they don't even flinch for a crazy, camera-wielding lady.

Paulina Creek Falls

I really wanted to check out Lava Butte at Newberry National Volcanic Monument, but sadly we found it closed for the season.  So further southward we drove, until Dale spotted a turn out for Paulina Lake.  I'd heard there was a cool waterfall there - so quick change of plans!

Lovely Paulina Creek

An extremely long climb up a narrow Forest Service road finally led us to the parking area.  We followed a short trail to an elegant, stone-walled observation platform perched on a deep canyon's rim.  Paulina Creek Falls trickled over an impressive cliff, dropping 80 feet to the creek below.

Lookin' for salmon

Dale spotted a trail leading away from the viewing area, and we decided to see where it went.  At first, it paralleled the creek above the falls, but soon climbed up a steep bank.  The creek became farther and farther below us.

Red salmon in the water

Then my daughter spied something red in the water.  It was a salmon!  Dale and I craned our necks over the bank and began seeing several of the bright fish, valiantly swimming upstream to spawn.

Spying more fishies

Although I've lived in the Pacific NW for many years, this was my first time witnessing migrating salmon.  And - of all places - in Central Oregon!

Valiantly swimming upstream

Continuing to follow the trail upstream, we saw more and more fish darting through the water.  Finally, we came upon Paulina Lake's outlet.  A road crossed above the outlet structure, and a small cascade gushed out below.  Downstream of this structure floated dozens of salmon bodies, white with decay.

Salmon final resting place

Although I'm quite familiar with the salmon's life cycle, it was still sad to see so many dead fish.  Unable make it through the outlet structure, their journey ended here.

Not many fish could climb the lake's outlet

My daughter, Dale and I hiked down to the river bank for a closer look.  Peering at the lake's outfall, Dale noticed a fish trying to jump up it.  Then we noticed another.  And another.

Capturing this sight was a job for my GoPro!  I held my little camera out, and tried to get as close as I dared.  Of course, once the camera was switched on, the fish decided to take a break, and I stood for quite a few minutes before the salmon got over their shyness.  But I was able to get some footage of the fish action  - and I've shared it in the video above (please excuse my dorky comments!)

Paulina Creek Falls from the canyon's other side

After tiring of the fish jumpers, we followed the trail on the canyon's opposite rim, until emerging from the forest to a view of the falls again.  This time we were across the canyon from the nice observation platform.  Can you see it in the photo above?  (Hint, it's to the right of the waterfall)

Paulina Lake

Returning on the same trail, my brother and I pondered where all the salmon had come from.  They couldn't have swam upstream from very far - Paulina Creek Falls was too tall of a barrier.  Maybe they swam downstream from the lake and lived out their lives in the creek above the falls?  The many mysteries of nature....

Mother-daughter photo op!

Gloomy skies had been threatening rain all morning, and on our way back to our car, the clouds decided to let loose.  Although I'd hoped to explore more of this area, the cold precip made lunch at a one of Bend's warm brewpubs more attractive!

But it was a fun outing, finding a new waterfall, and witnessing the salmon's circle of life. 


  1. Linda, so nice to see lovely smiles in your last photo, and I love the water photos and the deer! The video is wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing, and Merry Christmas to you! :)

  2. Wonderful images. Loved the jumping fish video. I think you have a option with the GoPro do go out of wide mode and into Normal mode where the camera zooms in a bit and you can capture action closer.

  3. Always fun finding a new waterfall.. and spotting deer or elk.
    Great post.
    Have a very merry Christmas, Linda!

  4. Belas fotografias desta magnifica montanha com o seu rio que corre puro e selvagem. Ainda existem maravilhas intocáveis para descobrir.
    Um Santo e Feliz Natal para a minha amiga e sua família.

  5. Hello, the waterfalls is gorgeous. It is neat seeing the salmon jumping. It is great that you were able to go on this hike with your family. Great shot of you and your daughter. Happy Wednesday, enjoy your day! Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  6. Beautiful sights on a rainy day. Merry Christmas.

  7. Hi! I could watch some fish trying to jump from your video. I wonder how many fish succeed. Your photos are very nice. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Enjoyed your wonderful photos and video- thanks for sharing. Mary Lou

  9. Beautiful waterfall! And always exciting to see the salmon migrating. I'm starting to ponder where to go in Washington and Oregon (as well as B.C.) when we're visiting our daughter in Abbotsford. Is there a tourist guide for the great outdoors?

  10. That was exciting to see the salmon leaping. Something you read about but never see. Hearing your voice makes blogging friends so much more real.

  11. Salmon in Paulina Creek???!!! Crazy!

    There's lots more to explore up at Newberry Volcanic Monument on future trips. The Big Obsidian Flow is amazing, the views atop Paulina Peak are expansive and there is an excellent trail that goes all the way around Paulina Lake. There are other hikes as well that I've yet to explore. BTW, there are some nice campgrounds there too if you visit during the summer. Aren't you fortunate to have relatives in Bend!!!!

  12. A perfect change of plan. I can now see how the 'red salmon got its name.
    Fantastic to see them trying to leapt the waterfall.

  13. Very nice trip. Shame about all the dead fish although I know they usually die after spawning anyway. Wouldn't cost much to put a salmon ladder in at that small outlet if that's stopping them getting further. Doesn't look too high a jump though so maybe the water force is too powerful to get past and they run out of energy.

  14. Such a gorgeous place. I can't believe how fearless those deer are. Quite astonishing!

    Love that photo of you and your daughter! You are beaming with pride!

  15. Nice find to see all those fish! Especially the salmon!

  16. It looked like a wonderful outing with your daughter and brother! I am always amazed that salmon can jump up a waterfall like this!

    Thank you, Linda, for all your lovely posts throughout the year, and for coming over to visit my blog and leaving such nicer comments. Have a very Merry and Blessed Christmas!

  17. Another place to add to the list (I've never been!). How lucky to see breeding salmon too! And by the way, if I don't bump into you on the trail again within the next two weeks, may you and yours have a wonderful holiday and here's to another year of hiking, photographing, and silly (my blog, anyway) blog posts.

  18. Fishing watching is an under-rated hobby I think! And watching them jump is even better.

    Hope you have a great Christmas - Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  19. I'd say the fish were too tired from their efforts to be camera shy at least ;)

  20. Wow what a pretty hike. I am with you, I get the salmon cycle but still hard to see the end - for any creature. Looks like you had some great hiking buddies as well!


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