Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Waterfalls of the Oneonta Gorge

In spite of having an audition at 7:00pm that evening, and in spite of it raining heavily all day long, Oscar and I couldn't resist the opportunity to see more Columbia Gorge waterfalls. Our first stop took us to lovely Wahkeena Falls.

We hiked the 1/4 mile up to the bridge to take a picture of the upper drop.

It was extremely difficult to do. The spray was crazy strong! Plus it was raining really hard. You can see from this pic that the bridge is completely soaked.

After getting chilled to the bone from this tiny hike, Oscar and I decided not to do the Triple Falls hike that we'd originally planned for the day. It was raining far too hard to justify hiking several miles. We looked in our book ("Waterfalls of the Pacific Northwest" by Gregory Plumb) and saw that we could drive to Horsetail Falls if we continued west along the Columbia River highway.

We saw a signed outpost called "Oneonta Gorge," and a smaller sign nearby it indicating that it was 1 mile to the Horsetail Falls trail. Our book hadn't said we would need to hike to the falls, but we figured the book was wrong and that we could handle one mile. It turned out it was 1 mile to the Horsetail Falls trail (not the falls themselves), and then it was about 2 miles on the trail itself in order to get the falls. This small waterfall above is reached at about one mile, where the Horsetail Falls trail starts. We thought it was Horsetail Falls. We later found out it was actually Oneonta Falls.

In spite of the rain, we decided to continue along this hike since we were covered by so many trees that we weren't getting terribly cold, we both had raincoats on, and we were enjoying the hike.

We hiked a little further, and lo and behold, there was Triple Falls! We hadn't even realized we were on the Triple Falls trail. The rain had discouraged us from doing it, and then we ended up hiking to it by accident!

It was such a delightful surprise, and a beautiful set of 3 waterfalls!

We continued along the trail until we got to this bridge below, and then we met some people who told us that the first waterfall we'd seen was actually Oneonta Falls, not Horsetail Falls. They let us know that if we went back to that falls and continued the trail up the other side, we'd find both Ponytail Falls and Horsetail Falls, and that would lead us back to the highway. So it turned out that we could have just driven to Horsetail Falls, but we're glad we hiked to it since we got to see several other waterfalls along the way.

These are some pretty sights we saw along the way. Spring combined with hard rain led to water, water dripping and falling everywhere!

It was really nice to make it to Ponytail Falls. As we later found out, it's like a smaller version of Horsetail Falls (hence horse vs pony).

It was really cool to be able to walk behind it. That's something I also like about a few of the waterfalls at Silver Falls State Park in Silverton, OR. You can read about those falls in my next post.

If it'd been a clear day we would have had a lovely view of the Columbia river gorge.

And finally we made it to Horsetail Falls, the original waterfall we were looking for. It was very pretty, and if I ever see it again, I'm sure I'll drive to it this time!

We walked back along the highway completely soaked from rain and waterfall spray.

We drove back along the highway passing both Shepperds Dell Falls and Coopey Falls. We were able to stop and take a picture of one falls, but there wasn't room enough to pull over and get a pic of the other one (though we did notice it as we drove by). I can't remember for sure which one was which, but I think this was Coopey Falls.

Our last falls of the day was Latourall Falls, and I'm sure glad we didn't miss it. It was gorgeous! It fell into a deep beautiful gorge and was easily accessible.

I changed out of my soaked raincoat when we got back to the car, but I couldn't get out of my soaked jeans. It's still a pretty cute pic of me with stunning Latourell in the background. I was a bit concerned about doing a hike in pouring rain on the same day as an audition, but I'm so glad we did it since the hike was lovely and the experience didn't hurt my performance at all. It actually helped me feel more relaxed (like I was on vacation), and I think that helped my performance. I didn't get the part, but my feedback from the judges was very positive. They basically said that I'd sung well, but ultimately the part I was auditioning for didn't fit my voice. They gave me some pointers to work on, and overall I felt like I'd left them with a good enough impression that they'd be happy to have me audition again.

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