|Cedar Creek Historic Grist Mill|
Located just outside of Woodland, Washington, the mill is a short jaunt up I-5 from Portland. One late October Friday afternoon, I decided to pay this historic structure a visit.
|Hard to get a clear photo with all the trees|
Fall is a wonderful time to photograph the grist mill. Situated at the bottom of a narrow canyon, the adjacent slopes are ablaze with trees in full autumn finery. Large, mossy branches surround the creek, draping over it's banks.
|The mill, framed by mossy branches|
The Cedar Creek Mill was originally built in 1876. Throughout the years it was used for grinding grain, and as a blacksmith and machine shop. After falling into disrepair, in the 1980s a group of local residents banded together to save the historic structure. Through numerous bazaars and raffles, the group raised money to pay for badly-needed repairs. Fully restored in 1989, the mill again ground wheat - just in time for Washington state's centennial celebration.
|Still lots of fall leaves|
Nowadays, the mill is on the National Register of Historic Places. It functions as a working museum, demonstrating operation of a grist mill from a long-ago era. Open most weekends, it grinds grains for visitors, and depending upon time of year, also presses apples into cider.
|Covered bridge adjacent to the mill|
I got lucky with a perfect fall day for my first visit to the mill. Although the afternoon sun made photography a bit tricky, I was able to get a few shots I liked.
|Mill viewed from the covered bridge|
The best place to capture the entire structure without trees blocking the view was on an adjacent covered bridge.
|The bridge hidden by leaves|
Of course, the covered bridge was a photo subject all by itself!
|Covered bridge entrance|
Although the mill wasn't open to the public that Friday, there were quite a bit of people inside, no doubt gearing up for the weekend ahead.
|The Mill sign|
Photographers comprised most of the visitors that day. We all politely jockeyed for positions on the bridge and through tree openings along the opposite creek bank. I struck up a conversation with one friendly man, and he pointed out a camera crew from the local PBS show "Oregon Field Guide" being led through the mill building.
|Upriver fall color|
Funny coincidence, the Oregon Field Guide story about this grist mill showed up on the OPB website just as was getting ready to write my blog post. Check it out here. The footage is from the very same day I happened to be there.
Although the fall colors were a tad past prime, the Cedar Creek Mill was a worthy autumn destination. It most certainly will see some return visits from me!
|Lewis River Falls|
With still a few hours left in the afternoon, I decided since I was in the area to drive the extra 60-some miles and see Lewis River Falls. However, I sorely underestimated my driving time. Winding narrow Forest Service roads take much longer to travel! A full hour and 45 minutes later, I pulled into the day use parking lot at the very late hour of 4 pm. Not wishing to drive the rough entrance road back out in the dusk, I had at most a mere hour to spend here.
|Full view of Lewis River Falls|
After driving for so long to reach these beautiful cascades, I was sorely disappointed to discover my subject in terrible light. Mostly in deep shade, with the surrounding landscape in bright sunlight, capturing any halfway decent images was going to be tricky.
A few other photographers had set up tripods at an overlook and appeared to be pondering the same dilemma. One guy in a group of three men recognized me from the Cedar Creek Mill. Apparently they'd also stopped there first.
|Golden leaves and falling water|
Despite the challenging lighting conditions, Lower Lewis River Falls was gorgeous. A wide, multi-tiered cascade, it fanned beautifully over a drop in the river. The last of the fall leaves accented the surrounding area. And the bright sunlight wasn't all bad - it did produce a brilliant rainbow!
One hour passes by much too quickly when you're shooting waterfalls. Before I knew it, it was time to pack up and get out before darkness cloaked the area. I was kind of disappointed not to be able to visit the other waterfalls in the area. Guess that just means I'll have to come back!
Wanting to make a giant loop, I chose to return through Carson, WA with a stop at my favorite pizza and brewpub. Although that meant a late arrival back home, despite spending most of the day driving, I felt I'd had a very productive afternoon.
To learn more about the Cedar Creek Grist Mill, you can visit their website.