Trail Journal: Oregon Umpqua

I had not known the color green until today. Every millimeter of the Umpqua is clothed in a luxurious coat of true emerald in every shade. Deep, bright, neon and muted all blend together in captivating harmony.

Near the spray of waterfalls, the rocks boast soft moss like a favorite blanket or warm bathrobe. Some of their stony shoulders are draped, as if they are trying to keep warm in the shady chill. Others slumber placidly beneath green patchwork comforters. I imagine for a moment that they stir once every few years, only to groggily fall back into the fog of sleep.

I did not know that trees could be noble and wise. This is an old growth forest, steeped in silence and age. It is magical and humbling. I believe, from my spot beneath the misty treetops, that this place has a personality so different from the massive Coloradan mountainlands I am used to. Those mountains surge with youth and recklessness, their temperamental side revealing itself in jagged ridges and sudden storms.

Not here. This silence and peace that has aged so resiliently echoes into me.

I think I am beginning to understand the forest, and sense its heartbeat. It is at once the most calming and the most alive place I have ever been.


Written from the Toketee Falls Trail. By Erin Rain Gautier. 

Photo by Erin Rain Gautier.