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Proxy Falls in the Willamette National Forest, Oregon
Aurora Photos, USA
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Travel writer and self-described Oregon explorer Kim Cooper Findling, who calls writing about her home state “my specialty,” turns her attention to Proxy Falls.

Dispatching from nearby Bend, Oregon, Cooper Findling considers her home state a natural subject to write about and Proxy Falls an iconic image of this picturesque state that borders the Pacific Ocean. Her passion for Oregon’s native beauty and its people shines through in her work.

A True Waterfall Wonder

If there’s anyone who knows about waterfalls, it’s Kim Cooper Findling. “There are a lot of waterfalls in Oregon,” she says. In fact, there are nearly 240. What makes this one special? “It’s on a historic, winding highway. You can’t be in a hurry when you set off to explore Proxy Falls. It’s a leisurely trip, not a beeline. Plan to take your time here.” It isn’t a busy destination either. “It’s still removed,” Cooper Findling says, which is what makes coming upon it feel so special.

Kim Cooper Findling, writer and travel editor from Bend, Oregon

Kim Cooper Findling, writer and travel editor from Bend, Oregon
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The Look of Iconic Oregon

Located in the Willamette National Forest’s Cascade Mountains between the cities of Eugene and Bend, which Cooper Findling calls home, Proxy Falls is the very picture of Oregon. “It has those two tiers and these wide, diffuse falls,” she notes. She’s quick to point out the dark, glossy rocks covered in verdant moss surrounding the falls, which contribute to the enchanted forest effect. 

A Trail for All

Cooper Findling grew up on the Oregon coast and then in the valley, which led her to appreciate the diversity of her home state. “My kids love the Willamette National Forest,” she says. “They grew up following me around for my travel writing, so they’re used to new adventures in Oregon. Proxy Falls is a great trail for kids.” She says the hike to Proxy – just over two kilometers – is family-friendly and offers lots to explore along the way.

Urban and Rural Appeal

As it turns out, Cooper Findling isn’t the only one enamored of places like Proxy Falls. As a Bend Film Fest board member, she says filmmakers who come from Los Angeles, California, and New York City are always blown away by the environment. “It’s definitely the natural beauty,” says Cooper Findling, on what draws people to the area. “But it’s also that you can be in a city with a lot of culture and good food, and then get away to some outdoor destination. Bend is a lot more sophisticated than it used to be, but things also get rural in a hurry.” 

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More than Meets the Eye

Although she loves the mystique of Proxy Falls, Cooper Findling is just as enthralled with the surrounding area. “I like to get out to the desert, too,” she says. “It’s a landscape that grows on people. It sinks into your bones and becomes a very peaceful place to go.”