Saturday, March 28, 2015

9th Anniversary Trip

Oscar and I usually take a "mini-moon" trip on our anniversary, and since mom was here to watch Tyler and the weather was predicted to be beautiful, it worked out nicely for us. Though we both woke up with a pit in our stomachs thanks to our last road trips, no enormous hospital or towing costs resulted from this one.
We drove down to Portland to do some hiking, but on our way we veered off to see Mt St Helens. The final miles to the Johnston Ridge Observatory is closed until May, but we still saw some gorgeous views along the road. It's so cool to get close to that big crater that erupted as recently as 1980. The rest of our mountains are very pointy since they haven't erupted in centuries.
Fortunately we made it to the Columbia River Gorge around 2:30, so we had just enough daytime left to do our hike. We decided to hike the loop between Wahkeena and Multnomah Falls. Though you can easily drive to both Wahkeena and Multnomah, there are a few smaller falls in between them that require some climbing. We parked at Multnomah Falls, walked along the trail that parallels the road to Wahkeena, and then began our climb up.
We'd been expecting the water flow to be bigger since Seattle had just had a weekend of rain, and I assumed Portland had been the same. Turns out they hadn't had any recent rain but had been dry for about 2 weeks. It was still a decent amount of water, particularly when we hiked up to the bridge, but not as much as I would have liked.

There's a gorge lookout after you make it up the first switchbacks, and then a bit further on is Fairy falls. It's pretty, but I was surprised to see 2 professional photographers there. There are many more photogenic waterfalls in the gorge that don't require as much steep hiking.

As we began coming down the trail, we saw a little bit of Hidden Falls. It's appropriately named because it's very difficult to view from the trail. There was a bushwack trail to get down there, but we weren't going to risk it.

Further down is Wiesendanger Falls, which fortunately you can view much more easily.

I liked this half grotto part of the trail.
And Dutchman Falls is the last waterfall before you get back to Multnomah. To be honest this is just an okay hike, and we really only went because they were the last accessible waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge that we hadn't seen yet (there are many, many more, but they require off the trail hiking). If you're looking for a hike to multiple waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge, Eagle Creek is the way to go. We intended to hike Eagle Creek again the next day, but since the water flow was less impressive than I was expecting and my knees were killing me, we thought we'd save it for the spring.
Just passed the Multnomah falls bridge, I found this rock opening along the trail.
And took a few final pictures just for good measure. Oscar asked someone to take a panorama of us and the waterfall, but his face got a bit smudged in it.

We spent the night at the Guesthouse Inn in East Portland then went back out to the gorge. We pulled off at Shepherd's Dell Falls then took the loop hike up to upper Latourell Falls. I'd hiked up to the upper falls with Amy last year, but we hadn't realized we could have continued down the other side and made a loop out of it. Oscar and I decided to start up the loop going the opposite direction to make sure we didn't miss where the trail continues, but in hindsight it would have been more scenic the other way.

First it takes you downstairs to the base of Latourell Falls, which was an area I had no idea you could get to. I'd seen the waterfall multiple times but had always viewed it from the platform near the parking lot. Then the trail takes you under the Columbia River Gorge highway, into Guy Talbot park, then you cross the highway on foot and get back on the trail. It would have been nice to have a bit more signage since we got a little confused when the trail met back up with the highway. We found the trail but weren't sure we were on the right one until we actually made it to the upper falls.

After we got back down we decided to head home since my knees and my hip were bugging me. We stopped off in Olympia to see Tumwater Falls along the way.

I'd come here once before in 2012, and the lowest drop is by far the most impressive. Unfortunately they had the stairs down to it blocked off since the spray was so strong, so we didn't get the greatest views.

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