Saturday, July 16, 2011

Camping in Oregon...and Dealing With Past Memories!

My daughter is currently between jobs and was down for a visit last week. So she, my youngest son and I decided to head down to Oregon and do a little camping. Hubby and oldest son had to work, so we left them behind. I gave Harley specific instructions to watch over them well! LOL!
We decided to camp down at the Corvallis-Albany KOA. Among other things, three things I love visiting are waterfalls, covered bridges and lighthouses. And this campground was situated smack dab in the middle for us to visit all!

I've always been a camper and love to rough it. I love the campfires and the weeny roasts....
And I especially love the s'mores! YUM!! This is Justin and Katie enjoying them as well!

On Saturday we drove to Silver Falls State Park. This park boasts 10 beautiful waterfalls in about a 7-mile hike. The hike involved quite a bit of climbing and descending, but I must say that I held my own with my kids! Here are a few of the falls we saw on the trail.
For the past 5 years this park has only been a bad memory for me, and this trip helped me to deal with that awful day. My oldest son and I came down here fives years ago, almost to the day. We had spent a few days over on the Olympic Peninsula here in Washington, hiking up in Olympic National Park. Then we drove down to Oregon for a few days, camping in the very same KOA we did this past weekend. On our last day there we decided to go to Silver Falls State Park to hike the waterfalls. On the very first falls, we had hiked down to the falls and behind them. As we were continuing on the other side of the falls we came upon a wet area. I remember telling Sean to be careful. As soon as we got off the wet area and onto the dry part, Sean suddenly went down, yelling in pain. I kept telling him to get up...he'd be okay! He tried but couldn't. People who had been right there when he fell said they had heard a loud "snap" when he went down. A group of people who were from Korea visiting family in Portland stayed with us while one of them ran for help. This was no short run! If you look at the photo below, we were over on the opposite side just as the trail starts to sharply go downward. Look behind the falls...those tiny dots are people, so this gives you an indication of how far away we were from the entrance to the trail. And if you click on the photo to enlarge it you can actually see two tiny people walking in the very place where Sean went down. Well, after what seemed an eternity, the guy returned and said the park rangers would be coming down with an ATV. As they sat him on the back of the ATV, the first thing I noticed was his left foot, flopped over to the side. I knew then it was broken! And here I was trying to make him get up and "walk it off"! He STILL reminds me about that! LOL! Getting him back up was no easy task as it was all uphill and there were quite a few sharp switchbacks. The ATV was large and heavy as it had a little cab on the back. At each one of the switchbacks, they would have to help Sean off the ATV, and then pick the back of the heavy ATV up and swing the back around around as it couldn't make the sharp turns. Then they would get Sean back on the back. At the time, Sean was 100 pounds heavier than he is today! The trail was very steep, so they were having to help the ATV by pushing it most of the way up. The entire time this Korean family stayed with me, the men helping push the ATV and getting Sean on and off. The women were there for much needed moral support. I was so thankful for all of them!
Once we got to the top, the rangers instructed me where I needed to drive to pick Sean up...they had taken him to a building in an area off limits to park guests. I thanked the Korean family with all my heart and then drove to the restricted area to pick up Sean. After filling out some paperwork they told me how to get to the town of Silver Falls, where there was a hospital. During all this time I kept trying to call my husband. Well, he had taken my youngest son to a movie that afternoon and he had no cell phone with him. I tried calling my daughter and couldn't get her either. So I was all alone dealing with this. Our campsite was an hour back in the opposite direction. I knew I would have to drive back, tear down camp and then drive back over four hours that night to get home. In the meantime we were now dealing with everything at the hospital and I STILL couldn't get in touch with my husband. They set Sean's foot and said he would need surgery. I told them I would take him home and deal with that there. After several hours in the emergency room and one of the most stressful days in my life, we started heading back to the campground, driving the two lane country roads. It was already 6 o'clock and I knew I had at least an hour back to the campground and then would have to tear everything down and pack up the car. But that wasn't the last of my stress. As I was driving the two lane country road I came upon a couple of stopped cars as the people were quickly hopping out. As I drove by, I saw a motorcycle in a ditch smoking. Next to it I saw a guy lying face down. The accident had just happened! It didn't look good and it was a terrible ending to an already terrible day. I learned later that the man had not survived. Sean was in the back seat with his eyes closed. I didn't say a word as I continued to drive. Any other day I would have stopped to help, but today I had my own issues to deal with. It was weeks later that I even told Sean about that accident.

So, this trip last weekend helped me to deal with those memories in that I was able to relive it in a sense by showing others what had happened and where it had happened. Over the years that stressful day eventually made way for some lighthearted stories. We can look back at it now with even a few laughs. And Katie decided to add a few more laughs to our stories by recreating that day!
Silly girl! I knew exactly where it had happened as the water still runs over this section! Fortunately, we had no mishaps on this trip! It was a wonderful day and a wonderful weekend. Beautiful blue skies the entire three days and very pleasant temperatures for the hike! Not quite how he went down, but I'll have to say, Sean got a chuckle from the recreation!

We then drove to view the various covered bridges in the area. They are so interesting, many dating back to the early 1900's.
It was fun driving the country roads searching for them. Fortunately, we had a little map we'd gotten at the campground.
And on the last day there we decided to drive over to the Oregon coast. There are so many lighthouses along the Highway 101 drive. This is the Heceta Lighthouse.
And finally, I had to get a picture of this guy. This is a huge sea lion basking in the sun on a huge rock below. From our viewpoint...and from this photo, he looked like a little slug down there!
We had a great time camping and got back on Monday. Katie will be moving out of her apartment in a couple of weeks and then staying with us for a couple of weeks. In mid August I will be traveling with her to help her move to Grand Rapids, Michigan. She will be working for the newspaper there for a nine month internship. While I'm looking forward to the trip to Michigan with her, I am not looking forward to her being so far away from home for the next nine months! I only hope she will head back this way afterward.

I will be back next week after another camping trip. This time it will be with my older son, Sean. We haven't decided where we're going yet, but pray for no broken bones this time!! :)) See 'ya then!~~Annie


  1. Wow, some beautiful scenery. Love the falls and the covered bridges. Glad everything turned out ok for Sean. A very stressful day for you!!!!


  2. So glad for you Annie that this trip was much, much better. You certainly had quite the trip the first time. Strong woman! The pictures of your trip are beautiful and I love the covered bridges too. I hope the move for your daughter goes well and you have safe travels.
    Bless you.

  3. Wow Annie,
    I would have been a basketcase at that time too. Amazing how time can make it less horrible. Love your daughters reinactment!
    Beautiful photos.
    Enjoy your day,

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