Proxy Falls & Dispersed Camping

 Austin & Kaite at Lower Proxy Falls

Austin & Kaite at Lower Proxy Falls

After a two night stay at Silver Falls State Park, it was time to move on to more waterfalls. We headed southeast to Proxy Falls, just south of the very popular Sahalie & Koosah Falls. The drive in through winding, canopied mountain roads, sharp curves, and moss forest poked our excitement. Just getting out of the truck, we realized we didn’t have change for a $20 bill and the day use fee was $5 for the trailhead (to keep up with maintenance and the bathroom facility). Luckily, two dads and their sons pulled in at that exact time and they gave us $5 to cover the fee and we happened to be able to give them proper directions to the place they were looking for in return. It’s a neat thing when coincidence throws you a bone.


Hiking the Proxy Falls Trail to Lower Proxy Falls

 Proxy Falls Trail in Autumn

Proxy Falls Trail in Autumn

The hike starts out as a dirt path sloping through trees, brush, and fern. As we continue, the space opens to lava rock, ash & dust. Sparse fire red trees sit nestled among giant charcoal boulders. Looking back, mountain tops, trees, and rock fold over each other, creating converging lines and beautiful shadowed layers. A few more turns on our short trot, and we are back into the woods. This time we are greeted by the distant roar of Proxy Falls. After getting a few photos, we descend down into the riverbed and climb our way up to the mouth of the falls. The thundering water pounds every rock in the area, spilling, splashing, and gushing over each smoothed crevice.

 Upper Ridge View of Proxy Falls

Upper Ridge View of Proxy Falls

Kaite and I separate and continue to do our thing. Me, running around, leaping over stones, crossing streams, scrambling up to the base completely overtaken by the energy of the fierce flow. In the meantime, Kaite is slipping across soggy logs, tip toeing her way to a nice composition and settling only after countless small fidgets... 2 degrees to the left, tripod up 1 inch, left leg needs to extend a little to level the head… Almost got it. No wait, that stick in the foreground is jutting into the frame. Slight zoom… Click.

We eventually come together, laugh, play, and embrace as we sit and watch the beautiful power of water and nature. We try our hardest to inhale all of the sensory stimuli that we can. Once fully ingested, we carefully craft them into feelings and memories to take back home with us. These will be our souvenirs.

 Austin at Lower Proxy Falls

Austin at Lower Proxy Falls

Wonderland Expeditions at Mckenzie Pass

That night, we disperse camped for the first time.  What an ominous experience to park and sleep in the woods of wild public land! It may have just been that particular site tucked underneath the mountains, in a small open space surrounded by thick brush and tree or the fact that it was our first experience surrendering our vulnerability to both man and nature simultaneously. Either way, we now enjoy a quality dispersed camping site. We’ll tell you more about the time we camped right on a short bluff overlooking the beach and an iconic lighthouse later!

Austin at the Dee Wright Overlook

On our way out, we followed the Oregon Scenic byway out to Mckenzie Pass and the Dee Wright Observatory. Wow! The views of broken top and Three Sisters Mountains were unreal. Interestingly enough, we even found cell phone reception for the first time in multiple days in the middle of the path to the top of the lookout tower!


The hikes, the drives, the people and the adventures out here Oregon are just incredible. Our next stop is Crater Lake National Park! We spent a day taking pictures, scurrying across cliff sides, enjoying the views, and talking with a new travel buddy!


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