Opal Creek Wilderness – No Hike Hike! Sullivan Falls


Sullivan Falls

June 23, 2012

Info: (http://www.portlandhikersfieldguide.org/wiki/Sullivan_Creek_Falls)

There are no trailheads here nor any trails within two miles of this falls, but what makes Sullivan Creek Falls a worthy destination is its proximity to a road. The falls is literally next to FR2207, the road that connects the Little North Fork of the Santiam canyon with Detroit. There is a small parking area on the other side of the road from the falls with a messageboard, both of which are new additions since the Opal Creek Area gained wilderness status. There is room for 4-5 cars.

The falls is a fantastic place to visit if you are in the area, as it requires no effort beyond a bit of driving, and the reward is a chance to relax at a gorgeous 100+ foot waterfall. You can find the falls by driving to the upper trailhead of the Little North Fork of the Santiam trail on FR2207 and continuing up the road for two miles until you see the falls by the side of the road.


  • On I-5 exit onto Hwy 22 and head east towards Stayton
  • In 22 miles – at second yellow light just east of Mehama – turn left onto North Fork Road SE
  • After 15.1 miles road turns to gravel. Another 1.2 miles you will reach a fork in the road.
  • Bear right at the fork where the sign says “Three Pools”. This will be Forest Road 2207.
  • 3.8 miles from the fork will be a wide spot off to the left of the road for parking.
  • Sullivan Creek Falls is on the right side of the road.
  • No facilities.

Jenn’s View: I was actually looking for the Three Pools. I wanted to see if there really are 3 pools. Why not? Couldn’t find it. So, instead of forking to the left like I normally do towards Henline Falls, I went right towards Three Pools. Found another fork in the road and decided to take the path to the left. It had more gravel and just thought it would lead to Three Pools. Hmmm, I found a creepy old house. It reminded me of that movie The Cabin in the Woods. It freaked me out. There is literally no other homes or cabins in the area. You are just driving along and bam, here you go. Here is the picture:

Cabin in the Woods in Opal Creek Wilderness

LOL, well it’s freakier in person. Well, I never saw any Three Pools or any place that I would consider a “pool” of water so I decided after my odometer hits 20 miles, I will turn around. About 20.7 miles (from Hwy 22), I hit Sullivan Falls. I would have used this as the featured image but stupid people decide to graffiti the boards that it’s not pretty.

Sullivan FallsI met a family while I was there. They had a sticker on the back of their car stating “Chuck’s Trading Post”, I think. They were telling me that it is pretty nice during warm weather to play in the water. It’s called a NO HIKE hike because you drive to it and get out of your car and voila, you are there. No hiking whatsoever. BUT, Shadowlynn and I found a little trail up so we got to do a little scramble. It was to the point where I got stuck. I know that there is a way to get to the very top to at least get a picture of the top tier of the waterfall.

If you can see in the pictures below, there are two tiers… One at the top, flows and then another tier that you can see. There is a small waterfall slide right next to it. More like a run off. It’s real pretty.It’s hard to see the top tier but you can when you get real closeSullivan Falls

Concept Camping on the Oregon Hikes Facebook page (LIKE THE PAGE IF YOU HAVEN’T DONE SO, DO SO ALREADY!)shows this waterfall in the wintertime.

Opal Creek Wilderness Sullivan Falls

Picture taken by a friend on our Oregon Hikes Facebook Page – Compact Camping Concepts

I sat in the car for a little bit while it started pouring but I asked the universe to make it sunny and to stop raining so I can take pictures. It finally let up and the sun did shine. It was so nice.  Thank you UNIVERSE!

Sullivan Falls Park Sullivan Falls

We found a little path off to the right of the falls. It looks like it can get me to the second tier. Grabbed my gloves and started climbing up.

Sullivan Falls

Looking down at the pool, we ended up at the little slide fall or right next to it.

Sullivan Falls Sullivan Falls Sullivan Falls

Shadowlynn was watching the family down below so it was a perfect time to get a great shot of her.

Sullivan Falls

I tried to go further up but got stuck. The forest is pretty dense and couldn’t see that it would go up to the direction that I needed. Besides, I would want Scott to go with me 🙂

Sullivan Falls Sullivan Falls

My recommendation, if you want to play in the water, enjoy the waterfall…this is a great place. The family that was parked right next to me, they took out some chairs, had a snack/meal and played in the water more. If you are passing by, great place to take pictures. Otherwise, it’s just one of those drive by waterfalls 🙂 Go check out the other No Hike Hikes I did the same day

SALMON FALLS PARK: https://oregonhike.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/opal-creek-wilderness-elkhorn-falls-7/

NORTH FALLS PARK: https://oregonhike.wordpress.com/2012/06/23/opal-creek-wilderness-no-hike-hikes-north-fork-park/


Opal Creek Wilderness – No Hike Hikes! North Fork Park


North Fork Park

JUNE 23, 2012

Info: http://www.co.marion.or.us/PW/Parks/descriptions/northfork.htm. The first park land purchased by Marion County was for North Fork Park. 8.52 acres of the park are leased from BLM. The warm water of the Little North Fork of the Santiam River, a swimming hole, sandy beach, and one-half hour drive from the Salem urban area combine to make North Fork Park one of the most popular Marion County park areas. On warm Sunday afternoons, the parking area is full and cars are parked along the shoulder of the road for a considerable distance. Work relief crews helped develop the park’s trail system.


Facilities at a Glance

  • 11.98 Acres
  • Picnic Tables
  • Fishing
  • Fire Pits
  • Water Activities
  • Hiking Trails
  • ADA Accessible:
    Restroom and trail


8:00 a.m. to Sunset


Twenty-eight miles from Salem, Santiam Highway, one mile above Mehama, turn left at bridge, three miles up North Fork Road.

Jenn’s View: The park is located on the right. If you reset your odometer after turning from Hwy 22, you should reach the park within 2 miles.   I call this a no hike hike cuz it really is no hiking. You walk a few feet and voila, you are there. This particular park had a small trail that loops around and can access the North Santiam River in many places. Great place to fish and have a picnic. I did the loop and I will say I did get wet. It was raining on and off throughout the day. I was pretty lucky though and hit the no hikes when it wasn’t raining.

There is a bathroom in the parking lot. Most areas don’t have a bathroom so if you need to go, go.

North Fork Park

There is a sign that shows the loop and gives warning information about Anglers. I know anglers are fishers.  LOL. So I didn’t pay too much attention to what it states on the sign. he he.  Problem has something to do with having your license to fish.

North Fork Park North Fork Park

The path practically goes to the river. Great place to set the raft, kayak, canoe or just have a picnic and play in the water. The calm area didn’t seem too deep but I could be wrong. The rapids are pretty swift so be careful! Great place for kids and dogs.

North Fork Park Opal Creek Wilderness North Fork Park

Opal Creek Wilderness North Fork Park

Shadowlynn and I did the loop and it was pretty wet. My pants are great. Even though it got wet, it dries pretty quickly. It dried before I reached the next hike…Salmon Falls.

North Fork Park The loop had little steps and it was a pretty obvious path around. There were quite a few forks in the road but it was obvious that most of the paths lead to another part of the river

North Fork Park North Fork Park

Can’t wait for warmer weather so I can take the kids here for a picnic. Then we can continue finding more hikes out in this area!  Go check out the other NO HIKES hikes!

SALMON FALLS PARK: https://oregonhike.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/opal-creek-wilderness-elkhorn-falls-7/

SULLIVAN FALLS: https://oregonhike.wordpress.com/2012/06/23/opal-creek-wilderness-no-hike-hike-sullivan-falls/

Oregon Coast – Tillamook County – Niagara Falls and Pheasant Creek Falls


Tillamook County, Niagara Falls Tillamook County - Pheasant Creek Falls

April 22, 2012

Info: taken from Trails NW website (http://www.trailsnw.com/index.php?fuseaction=Trails.DisplayTrail&hike_num=174)

This is a short hike great for all seasons. If you are taking a trip to the coast and want to get a short hike in this is a great one. The two waterfalls at the end of the short trial rival those found in the Gorge or Silver Creek state park. From the Car Park the trail descends down the side of a creek bed to the confluence of Pheasant and Niagara creeks. The end of the trail is at the head of Niagara creek bed where both Niagra creek and pheasant creek plunge off of the cliff edge. The impressive thing about this trial is that both waterfalls are in the same spot, where the creeks come together.

Directions: From Highway 101 in Beaver:
Travel east on Blaine Road for 6 miles. At Blaine Junction go east on Upper Nestucca River Road for 5.8 miles to Forest Road 8533. Go south 4.3 miles to Forest Road 8533-131. Turn right at the junction and travel 0.7 miles to trailhead parking.

Jenn’s View: Great hike! Very easy and short and you are rewarded with two falls within yards of each other! Great hike for both the dogs! Shadowlynn and Muffy had an awesome time. The directions in my hiking book were WAAAAYYYY off. I did miss it by over 10 miles.  There are NO signs pointing to the falls and the road looks like it belongs on someone’s property. This is the only landmark I can find that MAY help you find this trail. The road after the blue building is the trail that leads to Clarence Creek Falls!

Tillamook County - Niagara Falls and Pheasant Creek Falls

I wish I wrote the coordinates down for ya’ll but hopefully this marker helps.  There is another sign that will indicate that you are on the right road.

Tillamook County - Suislaw National Forest

So, the road is all gravel. My poor car. It goes through so much abuse. I try to avoid all the pot holes or go real slow but you know how it is.

It’s pretty accurate about it being approximately 4 miles to the trail head. The road goes on forever and there is a fork in the road. The sign is small and skinny so be watching for it. It doesn’t indicate that it is Niagara Falls so I turned and sure enough, it was.

Niagara Falls - Suislaw National Forest

The trail is pretty and short. My puppies really enjoyed it, especially Muffy. I normally don’t bring Muffy with me cuz she is so small. I’m always afraid something will swoop down and grab her. The beginning of the trail

Shadowlynn on the trail

This is a great trail for families and all levels of fitness. It is not a difficult trail because they have alot of places to rest and the trail is not long. It is also NOT a busy trail so it’s quite a fun trail. Bring a lunch! There’s a picnic table at the end of the trail so it’s nice.

niagara Falls bench

There are a few bridges on this trail.

Huge plants at the creek. They were HUGE! If I had a pond, I would have at least one.

Niagara Falls plants

Wouldn’t be my blog without pictures of me. Started sweating and my hair on my head gets hot! LOL. EWWW. Told Scott that I need to put a bandana on my head. Scott says he will still date me, even if I look like an Asian Aunt Jemima!

Niagara Falls - Suislaw National Forest Niagara Falls Trail

The falls are awesome. It’s hard to take a picture of the falls because there really isn’t a place to set up to get the whole falls in the picture.  The first fall that you come to is the actual Niagara Falls

Tillamook County, Niagara Falls

Just down the path, you come to another fall…PHEASANT CREEK FALLS. It’s smaller but I bet during the summer, it is a bit bigger when the snow melts

There is a small picnic bench near Pheasant Creek Falls to have a picnic. You just need to hike to get there so no large coolers. he he

This was a great hike for family and kids. I would highly recommend this hike. I can’t wait to grab a map of the Suislaw National Forest so I can discover more trails. It’s not very far from Salem so I’m pretty stoked about it. hahahaha…stoked?

Please let me know if you have done this hike and what you think. Maybe I saw you on the trail that day? Let me know! If you are a blogger, send me your link!

I ended the day at Pacific City. It’s only about 20-30 minutes away so it was nice to end the day.

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Oregon Coast – Drift Creek Falls (#)


APRIL 15, 2012

Info: There is not much information on the Siuslaw National Forest site where this fall is at. You can check it out here: http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/siuslaw/recreation/hiking/recarea/?recid=42681&actid=50. Here is a better description found on Portland Hikers Field Guide (http://www.portlandhikersfieldguide.org/wiki/Drift_Creek_Falls_Hike)

This hike offers something for everyone, a waterfall, a huge suspension bridge and a nice view of Coast Range forest. The trail is wide and well maintained. The only flaw may be that it’s elevation backwards; you have a nice stroll down, then you need to climb back out.

The trail starts by slabbing down a ridge toward the east. The trail is timbered in 50 year old regrowth, but there’s a nearby clear cut, visible through the trees. Together, they create an interesting study of the forest healing itself. After a bit, the trail reaches the end of the ridge, rounds it and heads back westward into a small side canyon. You may hear voices from across the way and soon you’ll see that the trail goes back down the other side of the valley, creating a charming little U turn with a couple of small bridges over trickling, seasonal creeks. Just past the U, there’s a trail junction. The uphill trail is an alternate route to the same place. It’s not as well maintained as the main trail and it provides (or curses you) with more elevation gain.

Continuing down the main trail, you’ll again round a ridge and start heading down to a larger stream. You’ll hear the water as you descend. Towards the bottom the trail gets into a marshy area that can be overgrown in the spring and summer. Watch out for stinging nettles here. That alternate route rejoins the main trail here, just before the trail reaches the stream. There’s a pretty safe area for kids to wade in the creek here, as well. The trail continues down the creek a bit, before crossing it on a decent sized bridge.

Beyond this upper bridge, the trail passes a few large trees and there’s another near miss with a fresher clear cut. Soon, you’ll come to “The” bridge. This suspension bridge kind of sneaks up on you. You crest a small knoll and suddenly you’ve arrived at one of the most interesting locations in the coast range. The creek we’ve been following suddenly plunges 75 feet into the Drift Creek Canyon and the trail stays level, spanning the 100 foot deep canyon by hanging from cables. It really has to be seen to be appreciated. At the far end of the bridge is a picnic table. The trail continues down to the bottom of the falls, but beyond the end of the bridge, it’s pretty treacherous, particularly in wet weather.

Directions: (http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/siuslaw/recreation/recarea/?recid=42683) Highway 101 entry – Off Highway 101 south of Lincoln City, north of Salishan. Travel east on Drift Creek Road, right on South Drift Creek Road 1/4 mile. Turn left onto Forest Service Road 17. Stay on Forest Service Road 17 to trailhead, approximately, 10 miles. Highway 101/Highway 18 entry – At Highway 101/18 junction travel east 4.5 miles on Hwy 18. Travel south on Bear Creek County Road 3.5 miles. Continue straight 7 miles on Forest Service Road 17 to trailhead.

Jenn’s View: Great little trail. Round trip was about 3 miles. Great for the family. Don’t forget that there is a $5 Recreation Fee that you can fill out the envelope and drop off the moola at the beginning of the trail.  I wish I saw this fall before the landslide. It actually looked pretty cool. To the right was a picture of it prior to the landslide. I guess the landslide happened in Aug 2010? You can read more about it at http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/siuslaw/news-events/?cid=STELPRDB5193594. Where the picture was taken from. There was also bathrooms located near the beginning of the trail which is always super duper nice!

Drift Creek Falls

Drift Creek Falls before the slide.

The path to the creek was actually quite pleasant. My 15 year old daughter, Alesia was wearing her UGG boots on the trail which really, I don’t know what she was thinking. She brought her boyfriend along, Logan and their baby – Jerome. Now Jerome is a child development project for school. He isn’t a real baby but he cries, needs to be fed on a schedule, and change his diaper. C’mon folks – let my 15 year old get pregnant? Yeah, right. LOL. I kick her butt.  Here the happy family poses at the first bridge that we came to. More pictures at the bridge. I think Logan and Scott took better pictures.  The first sign you come to, you can either take the high road or the low road….we chose the low road. The North loop is just that — a loop. You end up back at the trail near the second little bridge. We would get complaints from the kiddos if we had to go “extra” mileage if we really didn’t have to. I didn’t bring a subway sammich to take with us and the kids were getting hungry.  I guess we could have had Jerome’s baby bottle – oh wait – it’s fake.

  Drift Creek Falls sign  We got to the second “little” bridge and had a great opportunity to take pictures. Second little bridge on Drift Creek  Unfortunately, I forgot my tripod in the car (actually I didn’t – Alesia did! but that is such a whole lotta different story there). So the pictures were limited to just an “auto” shot.

Drift Creek Like I said, great place to take pictures.

Scott Wenger on little Bridge  Jennifer Piol and Alesia Hunter on Drift Creek  Alesia Hunter and Jerome at Drift Creek  After this bridge, you hike through more forest before hitting the BIG Suspension bridge. Drift Creek Wilderness We finally make it to the bridge. Scott made me nervous because he’s not much for heights but such a trooper —  he crossed it, despite Logan wiggling the bridge.

Drift Creek Falls Suspension Bridge  Drift Creek Falls Suspension Bridge  Drift Creek Falls Suspension Bridge  Drift Creek Falls Suspension Bridge Alesia and Logan were the first to brave the bridge…. They have no fear until they found out what’s really holding the bridge together – these little tiny pins. 🙂

Suspension Bridge with Logan and Alesia  Now, it’s really hard to take pictures of the ANYTHING when someone is bouncing on the bridge or trying to make it wiggle. Not sure what Logan was thinking – boys will be boys.

Drift Creek Falls

So proud of Scott for making it over the bridge.  Scott Wenger crossing the Suspension Bridge  Alesia being silly, as always. Alesia Hunter on Suspension Bridge Scott and I on the bridge!

Alesia and I started climbing down to get to the bottom of the rocks. Little did we know that there is an actual trail that leads to the bottom. Instead we took the muddy way.

Alesia Hunter at bottom of Drift Creek Falls

The suspension bridge looking up. Drift Creek Falls Suspension Bridge After hanging out for a little bit, we headed back. Clam chowder in Lincoln City actually sounded good but I think we were still talking about Subway Sandwiches. We didn’t want to eat anything heavy because we had steaks marinating in the refrigerator.

Siuslaw National Forest

All pictures for your viewing pleasure:

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Columbia Gorge – Shepperd’s Dell


MAY 25, 2011

Info: Taken from Friends of the Columbia Gorge website (http://gorgefriends.org/display.php?modin=51&uid=5186)

The short paved trail to the falls can be found on the east side of the bridge. The lower falls is a horsetail formation  and the upper falls is a plunge formation.The falls total height is 220 ft. The name of the creek is Youngs Creek.
Here the Sheppards Dell Bridge on the Historic Columbia River Highway crosses over a dell, a small wooden valley. This is significant since this was the answer to one of the engineering challenges of the highway’s construction. The dell was carved by a creek that includes two fairly substantial tumbling waterfalls. Due to the topography of the area, it is difficult to photograph the falls. As such, the bridge is what is normally pictured, and thus is arguably better known than the dell itself or the waterfall.

Directions: Sheppards Dell Falls is located immediately off of the Historic Columbia River Highway, 4 miles east of Crown Point or about 1.75 miles west of Bridal Veil State Park. Parking can be found on the east side of the bridge, with a short trail leading to a viewpoint adjacent to the lower portion of the falls.

Jenn’s View: Not even a hike but a nice waterfall nonetheless. The picture is hard to get when you get real close. The railing prevents you from getting any good shots but without the railing the path is pretty narrow and the drop off is pretty dangerous. 🙂  Great stop before you do any hiking around the area.

Columbia Gorge – Latourell Falls


MAY 24, 2012

Info: Taken from the Friends of the Columbia Gorge website (http://gorgefriends.org/display.php?modin=51&uid=4886) Beginning from the Latourell Falls Trailhead, follow the paved viewpoint trail up to the viewpoint. From here, a dirt path leads away to the left, steeply around the basin. Look for side views of the falls, particularly in the winter, when the trees have lost their leaves. The trail climbs for about 1/3 of a mile to a bench at the top of the falls.

The main trail continues southward beside the creek. The trail here is rocky in places and the undergrowth next to the trail is very thick, blocking most views in the summer. The trail crosses four pleasant, small wooden bridges and then comes to Upper Latourell Falls. This waterfall is a two tiered drop: first a block fall that’s almost hidden and then a plunge into a pool. The trail crosses Latourell Creek at the base of the falls and heads back down the west side of Henderson creek. Follow the trail to the Historic Columbia River Highway.

Hikers can return to the trailhead by hiking across the bridge, but there’s more trail fun to be had. Across the road, there’s an old set of stairs that start a trail dropping down into Guy Talbot Park. The trail drops down to a parking area with picnic tables. From here another paved trail heads back under the highway bridge to the base of Latourell Falls. The bridge, dating from 1914, is interesting in its own right, with special lightweight construction due to the unstable soils in the area. At the falls, the lichen-covered columnar basalt formations around the falls steal the show. From here, it’s a short, paved, uphill hike to the parking lot.

Directions: From Portland, drive east on I-84 to Exit 28 (Bridal Veil). Turn Right on the Historic Highway and drive 2.8 miles to the Latourell Falls Parking lot on the left. From the east, take exit 35 (Ainsworth Park). Drive 10.8 miles west on the Historic Highway to the same lot.

Jenn’s View: Since this was the only “TRUE” hike I did, I really enjoyed this one. It was about 2+ miles round trip and I think I took a wrong turn somewhere because I didn’t end up at the parking lot that I originally started in. I wasn’t too far off though :). Great hike for the family. I saw little tiny kids on the trail. They have this rated as moderate and I would have to agree at the beginning of the trail. It does “SLOWLY” climb up so not too hard or strenuous.  Meaning, slow elevation gain. Take the kids and the dogs! Dogs must be on a leash. I didn’t get great pictures. The lighting was off – too much sun. The best place that I had a blast taking pictures was Bridal Veil. I am soooo not a professional or even an amateur, I just take pics to add to the blogs.

From the parking lot, you climb up the paved path to a viewing area of Latourell Falls. Talked to a family who had a young German Shepherd and three kids.  One of the kids bent down in front of Shadowlynn’s face and my dog jumped up to either lick her or just “bonk” her on her nose. I was busy talking with the mom and not paying attention to her little girl. Gave her a bloody nose and felt soooo bad!

Please please please, educate your children on the importance of NOT going up to a dog without owner’s consent or without owner’s supervision. OR bending down and being eye level to a stranger’s dog.

(BTW, the”professional picture above to the right here was not taken by me. It is from the Friends of the Columbia Gorge website)

From the viewpoint, there is a trail that starts the slow climb up. I think that was probably the hardest part of the trail besides all the deep mud puddles you encounter on the trail.

I came to the falls and loved how “neon green” the moss was next to the water. Had to take a picture, of course.

Climbing up the hill, I saw a couple of people on this log taking pictures of the river/creek/stream so I patiently waited my turn and got on that log. It freaked me out because it was quite slippery and my stupid dog kept running back and forth on the log with me on it! She has absolutely no manners and will knock you off first chance she gets because you are in HER way.

I didn’t get any good shots from this bridge, probably because I wouldn’t walk all the way across fearing my dog would knock me off. Here is what I managed to get. Nothing spectacular.

Hiked up a bit more and decided to stop and eat my Subway Sammich. MMMM yummy… 9 grain Honey Oat with Turkey and cheddar cheese. Add spinach, tomatoes, jalapenos, a little bit of mayo and mustard and got myself a awesome lunch. Shared the meat with Shadowlynn, of course. While sitting there, I heard a crack and large branches from the tree next to me fell. Didn’t hurt me or the dog but that was our cue to go. Came to the first bridge of the hike. You encounter a few.

It was so muddy on the trail. My poor shoes. Someone asked me (Scott’s Aunt Cathy) what shoes I normally wear and for the love of God, I couldn’t remember. Probably because I was nervous meeting the family for the first time. They are KEENS! That’s right! Need to do a product review on those babies here soon. I didn’t get a shot of the little cascading stream at the bridge. I figure I get enough of those. LOL

We finally get to the upper part and we have Upper Latourell Falls. Real pretty but the spray from the water and the amount of people on the trail made it quite difficult to get a shot.


I moved further down and across the bridge but someone with a camera/tripod was out taking pictures. He was patiently awaiting for people to pass. Nice equipment but I think he gave up to trying to take a picture of this fall. He kept wiping his camera lens.

While I was waiting for the people to pass, I found a little stream and started taking pictures.

Heading down, I found these flowers I would love to add to my potted plants. Not really sure what they are but they awfully pretty. While going down, I came to a fork in the road. I did take the path to the right thinking I would end at the bottom path and back to the highway, but I swore that path ended so I climbed back up and took the other path. Hmmm…It was a bigger path! Every now and then you would get a break in the tree line so you can see the Gorge but the trees are pretty big that it was hard to see. Like I said at the beginning, I didn’t end up at the parking lot. I did however end up NEAR the parking lot, close to the bridge.

Overall, I think this hike was pretty nice. We got a great break from the winter weather we have been having to enjoy and soak up the sun. Even though my allergies were killing me, I still had a marvelous time!

It wouldn’t be my blog without a picture of me! he he or Shadowlynn