We followed up the Tam McArthur Rim trail with the Metolius River trail on Sunday. A couple years ago we had a hiking adventure from trailhead following the river downstream to the hatchery at Wizard Falls and then back to the car. This time we drove to Wizard Falls at the Hatchery with the thought of getting a photo of the blue water that flows under the bridge and then go see the fish at the hatchery. Such a beautiful drive through Camp Sherman down to the hatchery. The area was empty and so there was no traffic to distract me as I drove us to our destination.
The weather was having some fun with us. Sprinkling on and off with the sun and blue skies poking through every now and then. The question became do we bring the rain jackets or not. Ultimately being from the Pacific Northwest, we erred on the side of caution and brought our coats. Seemed like we would put them on and then the sprinkling would stop. Take them off and then it would start sprinkling again.
Our hike took us upstream a mile or so in search of some fly fisherman. I really wanted to photograph fly fisherman out in the river. I was rewarded on this trip with 4 fishermen on various parts of the river. Although I was happy to exercise my 24-70mm 2.8, in some instances I wish I brought my other heavyweight the 70-200mm 2.8. I needed a little reach through some of the tree branches. Regardless I was not disappointed by what I put into the can.
Hiking off season has some benefits – no crowds. We probably saw a total of 10 people on the trail system. There were a few more visiting the hatchery, but that was it. Once we returned to the hatchery, we decided to keep hiking and exploring down the river. Neither of us had done the whole trail and the weather was looking promising enough. I believe it is 6mi roundtrip from Wizard Falls. You hike down one side of the river and then cross the bridge to travel upstream on the other side. Downstream we found a couple fisherman that I could get a good angle on and photograph. I was in photographer heaven because of the fall colors still hanging around, the peaceful nature of the Metolius river and catching people out doing what they love – fishing!
Once back in the car we saw the large dark cloud that was hanging over Hwy20 and our route home. Although I was grateful it held off on dumping on us on the trail, I knew we were in for a long ride home. Sure, enough the heavens opened up and the wipers were on full speed. Thankfully we had to slow our pace due to a severe accident near the junction of Hwy20 and 22 involving 4-5 vehicles. Honestly, I wasn’t looking forward to driving down the curves in the pouring rain. A lifted truck with knobby tires doesn’t instill confidence around wet corners. Thankfully we made it home in good time and in one piece.
I really am glad we took the time to explore down stream and enjoy the fall colors. We were thinking of hitting a trail on the way home instead. But we would have missed having the river to ourselves and being able to enjoy those lasting fall colors. If you go bring a few quarters to feed the fish in the pond. It is fun to see all those fish swarm to the food.