Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Opal Creek Ancient Forest

Another thing off my squeeze-summer-into-a-few-days list: a hike at Opal Creek! My sister Emily is in town for just a few days, and since she's usually here at Christmas and only ever sees Oregon in the gloom, my parents and I took her out to the woods. (Poor Jim stayed home to draw some role-playing game cards he's working on for White Wolf).

I've been wanting to go to Opal Creek ever since I read about it in Audubon Magazine at the doctor's office (and stole the magazine, I confess). It's a tract of 35,000 acres of old-growth forest that was narrowly preserved from loggers over a long battle that spanned the 1960s to the 1990s. Remember the whole spotted owl controversy? Well, this is spotted owl habitat, and now -- thanks to decades of fighting by a few remarkable people, this forest still stands. (Thanks, remarkable people!)

This is "Jawbone Flats" -- the old gold-mining camp that has been turned into an education center and cabins:

It's all powered by the force of the creek (cool!) and you can't get there by car -- it's 3-1/2 miles from the trailhead, with sights like this along the way:
I am not the sort of skilled photographer who can convey scenes in the forest with much majesty, but trust me that it is spectacular.
It was hot, and all that green water looked so enticing, but it is so cold -- the kind of cold that makes your feet ache within seconds of putting them in the water. (Quite different from the bathwater-warm waterfall Jim and I went to in Chiapas!)

We just went for the day and didn't get a chance to hike any of the side trails from Jawbone Flats or really look for critters (Opal Creek is a "phib" paradise -- ie, amphibians -- home to some 3 kinds of frogs and 11 species of salamanders, including the Pacific Giant Salamander, which can live up to 40 years!!!) but it was still lovely. Another time I'd like to go and stay. I had a thought while sitting beside a creek that it would be so fabulous to have a "fairy tale writing retreat" there -- a group of writers for three or four days, all working on writing fairy tales? Find a different place by the creek or falls to sit and write each day, get together in the evenings to share? Sounds great, doesn't it? Maybe some day!

Speaking of faeries I want to hugely thank Stephanie for officially being the first person to read Silksinger in one day! Perhaps only other writers can understand how much this means -- to have someone read your book in a day is the biggest compliment there is, and of course, often someone might want to, but just not be able, so I'm not saying I don't love other people who took a few days to read it. I love anyone who reads my book! (But special thanks to Steph!)

And thanks also to Steph for introducing me to Mr. Thornton North and South, the BBC drama which I also thought was that old Civil War thing with Patrick Swayze, but which is way, way, way better. Imagine if you will, that when Mr. Darcy proposed to Elizabeth (and she turned him down with cold disdain), he had passionately declared his love for her. Twice. And, imagine: kissing. Misunderstandings. Riots. Girl throwing herself in front of an angry mob to save brooding hero. And there's smoldering. Really, really good smoldering:
And remember: kissing! Rent it, ladies. Meet Mr. Thornton for yourselves.


Anonymous said...

Crazy coincidence: I just watched North and South last Thursday! I stumbled onto it on Netflix. It was amazing. And you are so right about the smoldering!

Anonymous said...

By any chance, did you read Opal's diaries about her life there at Opal Creek??? So good! ) :How could you not write about Eagle Creek and the unbelievable company that accompanied you on that fiesta of a hike? I had horrible company on that hike, but not you, not you at all. You had the best company c/o God himself.

Alexandra Tickytock Battleriggy

Wendell said...

Oooh, Richard Armitage is totally my boyfriend from the dubiously historical BBC Robin Hood. Very entertaining; I recommend it for some Netflix fun.

Love the nature photos!

Jone said...

Fabulous!!! I am sooo glad you got to go there. How far did you hike?Going now to Netflix to add to my queue.

Debbie Barr said...

Pretty! Also, I need to watch North And South. My old roommate was a big fan.

Also wanted to say I got Silksinger in the mail yesterday! But I haven't started it because I had to go to bed. Will be reading shortly. :)

Stephanie Perkins said...

It is easy to read a book in one day when it is FREAKING AMAZING :)

Even better than Blackbringer. Exciting and thrilling and FUNNY and the kind of book you want to burrow into and kick your feet around in.

I predict a serious rise in Laini-blog readership next year. (Try not to forget us when you are schmoozing with J.K. and Philip at all of those fancy pants cocktail parties.)

Mr. Thornton! Bosom-heaving sigh. I am sooo in love.

And a Fairy Tale Writing Retreat? Oh. My. Cupcakes. Best idea EVER! Seriously -- a group of lovely ladies sitting around the woods in butterfly wings and drinking jasmine tea and eating scones and scribbling in journals. HOW CAN WE MAKE THIS HAPPEN???

(Ooo, and the pictures made me think of Opal Whiteley too!)

R.J. Anderson said...

North and South totally OWNS. I watched it for the first time last year and adored it. My husband enjoyed it too.

Anonymous said...

I love reading about all of your Portland-area excursions! I'm in California for the summer, but I spend most of my time in Oregon. I get more Oregon-sick (in the best way possible) with every post.

The nature pictures are particularly inspiring. I'm writing my first novel (based on a fairy tale) right now, and I'd much rather being doing it there than here. :-)

Also, Richard Armitage? Mad hot, even in pleather pants.

Heather said...

I'm all over that fairy tale writing retreat! All over it.

And are we still going to do the Emily of New Moon thing? 'Cuz I really enjoyed the books and love this idea of the lost book. I have so many dreams I could write! Good and bad.

exes and ohs

holly cupala said...

Oooh, beautiful! (Er, the Creek...not Mr. Thornton.)

Amber Lough said...

Haven't finished yet, but I could not put it down last night (until Jim made me b/c it was late). This is what I said to him as we turned off the light: It's what Lord of the Rings SHOULD be. (There's more to that statement, but if that trilogy was really as good as people make it sound, it'd be like the Dreamdark books.)

My book, in contrast, is so SLOW and painful. Ugh.

Anonymous said...

WAIT! you have a SISTER?! wow! gosh, i guess i would know that if she ever called me. :poorme: ;)

cool to hear of "christmas in july" taylor shenanigans. :)
i'm sure it was a blast. opal creek looks heavenly. i'm *SO* longing for something green.
best to you and jim!
hubby heads to comic-con soon!

Anonymous said...

Ooo - I LOVE those waterfalls!
Your pictures look perfect to me. I'm glad those remarkable people were able to save that bit of paradise from being paved, and that you shared it with us - thanks!

Anonymous said...

Ah! So jealous! Opal Creak reminds me of what it was like in Elora with a stunning river cutting through the entire town. I promised myself I would LIVE there one day if I could!
Anyway,I know Silksinger will be as FREAKIN' AMAZING as Steph said. Can't wait for it!

Anonymous said...

i watched pride and prejudice (keira knightly and matthew macfayden, judy dench, donald sutherland version) last night for the first time. OMG!
scenes and images are stuck in my brain this morning. AHHH! now i feel like i get these references. so i'm a late bloomer. eh.

Anonymous said...

Your readership is not interested in this sort of stuff. Why won't you learn? Your readers are only interested in what the the latest vampires are eating for breakfast and what church Magpie belongs to and for that matter, what church you belong to. You never write about gOd and satan and intergallactical battles. What gives?

andalucy said...

What gives indeed.

Anyhoo, I'm also a huge fan of North and South! I keep recommending it to people and I have to tell them NO, it's not the Civil War one.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE north and south. Richard Armitage is aawwww...
I'd take Mr.Thornton over Mr.Darcy any day.
I cannot wait for Silksinger! i am out of my mind excited!!!!