The Aufderheide Forest Drive

Forest Service Road 19, between Rainbow and Oakridge

- 22 June 2002 -

The day after the summer solstice, and it was 60° and cloudy outside. Perfect weather for a road trip. Plus, my allergy medicine had been working well for some time. It was time to get out of the house, and get out on the road! So I did. :)

On my wall, next to my computer, is a huge (probably 6' x 5') USGS topographic map of Oregon. On that map, they have inked a red line between the towns of Rainbow (along OR 126) and Oakridge (along OR 58). All this last winter, every time I looked at my map, my eyes alighted upon that red line, and I wondered what a person would stumble across in that neck of the woods. Now I know. And now you will know, too.

This page is dedicated to Morgan; she is too cool. :) And she let me know that "Aufderheide" means "on the heather" in German. :)

The first few miles of the Aufderheide Forest Drive go past the Cougar Reservoir, which, at this time of year, was rather low. It was not a pretty sight. It looked like a cheap version of the Grand Canyon that had been created from putty-beige foam rubber by third-graders. Nevertheless, there was a small parking area at the reservoir's viewpoint that was filled to the brim with people in swimming attire. (This parking area was at a spot with a name that involved springs; I'd mention it, but I can't find it on my map.) 

A few hundred yards before I got to the parking area, there were three hippies standing out in the road, staring up at a hillside. And at the parking lot, there was a guy playing his guitar and singing folk songs. As you can tell, said springy-named parking area is definitely within easy driving distance of Eugene. ;)

I got a serious case of shyness at that spot, and so I didn't get any pictures of the near-empty Cougar Reservoir. That's a good thing. The pictures were best saved for what was to come. :)


The South Fork of the McKenzie River, as seen at Clear Creek Campground. 

Same river, different view. 

More of the same. Facing northish.

There were a couple of folks here when I first got here -- a hippie girl and her boyfriend, both Washingtonians in their early 20s, standing on the rock where I took this picture.

I arm-wrestled the hippie girl and lost, and so the pair won my GPS, $15 from my wallet, and two pieces of cinnamon chewing gum. NO! I am fabricating some modern-day mythology! Actually, they left, and then I took this picture.

This is a view of the South Fork, as seen from that bridge, facing southish.

South Fork of the McKenzie River. Facing westish. 

Yansa headbangin' at the Hard Rock Group Site! ROCK ON! ;)

I have no idea why this place is called the "Hard Rock Group Site". I have no idea what its purpose is. (And, for the record, I did not see any hard rock groups that had sited themselves here.) 

I drove past this place at first, but a second later it finally sank in: I simply could not pass up the chance to take this picture. ;)

The sign was in a rather nondescript spot along the Aufderheide Forest Drive. The only thing noticeable about this locale -- other than that inexplicably-placed sign -- was the fact that there was actually room here to pull off the road. (And, presumably, room to rock 'n' roll all night. :b )

The nice thing about infrequently-traveled back roads is that you can put your car in reverse and back up, if you happen to see something you want to photograph. I did that a couple of times today.

Yansa again, at the Hard Rock Group Site.

This is one of the three (or so) pictures that I took from inside my car that actually turned out sort of okay. Snarl.

This is FS 19, aka the Aufderheide Forest Drive. I like to say "Aufderheide", dammit! It's fun and educational! :b

(Y'know, Rammstein should make a song about this road! It'd be all wacky and German and industrial and angry-sounding, and therefore it'd probably crack me up just like "Du Hast" does. ;) And, hey -- people could headbang to it at the Hard Rock Group Site! :b )



See that shrub with the pink flowers on it? That shrub is a rhododendron

Yes, as in the garden plant. This one was growing in the wild. :o There were tons of wild rhododendrons growing out here. I just couldn't get over that, for some reason. 

Being here was an odd feeling -- there were tons of rhodies and other garden-looking plants around, and I couldn't shake the feeling that someone other than the Good Lord had been gardening here. ;)     

Yes, I *am* a sheltered suburban boy,  now that you ask... ;)

The road ahead, as viewed from behind.

Note the Yansamobile in the distance. Also note the plants across the road, below the trees. Those were the gardenesque shrubs that so filled me with wonder. ;)

To be 100% honest, though, this area was probably the most incredibly scenic and cool spot that I saw along the way. I fell in love with it.

There's a hiking trail over by where the Yansamobile is parked; aptly enough for a Yansa sort of place, it's called "Roaring Ridge". ;) I walked down said trail for a few yards, and I was absolutely in awe. I don't know how long it is, or what level of outdoors expertise it requires, but one day, I will hike that trail. :)

The rapids of the Roaring River, as viewed through some leafy green coolness. :)

More of the same.

This was a bit further back down the road from where the last road picture was taken.

Trees -- and yet another wild rhododendron.

Ooooo, I'm hiding... Aufderheiding, to be precise!

*the audience pelts Yansa with rotten fruit*

Looking up through the trees, at an unnamed parking area beside Aufderheide and the river.

This is a river.

Its name? Prepare yourselves... it's the North Fork of the Middle Fork of the Willamette River.

Yes, folks -- seriously: The North Fork of the Middle Fork of the Willamette River.

They should just rename this the Yansa River, and get it over with! The public would thank them profusely, with buckets of flowers and offers of marriage -- for the nomenclature attached to this lovely river would henceforth be ten simple letters long! Writing home to Mother about the glory of this noble stream would become a far less Herculean task! ;)

The Yansa River, ladies and gentlemen. ;)

(... only ten letters; how could you possibly go wrong? ;) )

An uphill view, across the road from the site where I took the last few pictures.

More of the North Fork of the Middle Fork of the East Fork of the Left Fork of the Next-To-The-Last Fork of the Downstream Fork of the South Fork of the Tuning Fork of the Salad Fork of the Runcible Fork of the Spork of the Willamette River. 

(Folks, as I have mentioned, there could be a far simpler and less confusing way to refer to this stream... ;) )

Picture taken a few miles down the road from the last set of pictures (on a riverbank that was about 50 feet above the river itself!)

The Aufderheide Forest Drive, near the place where I took the last picture.   

The Aufderheide Forest Drive, facing back the way I came from.

ONE LANE BRIDGE!!!!!!!!! and some scenery.

The road is FS 1912, near its junction with the Aufderheide Forest Drive.

Rapids in the North Fork of the Middle Fork of the Forklift Fork of the [34 fork names, snipped] of the Willamette River, as seen from the aforementioned ONE LANE BRIDGE.

That's one forking beautiful river. 

Same river, with the camera pointed a bit further downward.

Rapids in our favorite forkèd river.

Road sign! :) (Okay, so I admit to being a bit of a "road geek".)

This sign is across the road from the ONE LANE BRIDGE. 

It's not quite this blurry in person.

(Apparently you can take FS 1912 to Lowell... that's probably not something *I'd* do, since it's a one-lane gravel road (!) )

And, before I knew it, I was in the Oakridge area.

This is the entrance to Westfir, Oregon, which is sort of a suburb of Oakridge.

I like this picture, even though it seemingly has few redeeming qualities. But it's got a green steel bridge! That makes it all worthwhile. :)

The Middle Fork of the Willamette, at Lookout Point Reservoir, near Dexter, Oregon.

Lookout Point Dam, near Dexter, Oregon.

"Witness post: Please do not remove the NEARBY SURVEY MARKER." Or we'll kick your sorry heinie off of a ONE LANE BRIDGE.

Picture taken at the Lookout Point Reservoir viewpoint, along OR 58.

Text written 22 June 2002.
Last updated 19 January 2006.

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