January 15, 2007.
It’s been unseasonably cold and clear for Portland, making it a great day to go for a hike. Fortunately, Kevin called me up and suggested a doing quick hike in the Gorge rather than sitting inside and watching TV all day.Driving down 84, we caught some nice views of Mt. Hood as Kevin’s car was blown all over the road. At the trailhead, we were sure to bundle up in anticipation of high winds on the trail.
We started up into the forest at about 1pm. There were many cars in the lot, and we would encounter several people on the trail. I think I saw more dogs today than I ever have while hiking. We walked along, enjoying the dusting of snow on the trail and sliding around on the icy sections as we made our way up and up and up. I noticed lots of birds out today. We heard chickadees, jays and other birds filling the air with their chirps, chips and melodies. We saw a couple of them dart across the trail as well. It seemed odd to me, since haven’t really seen any birds while hiking in the past couple of months. I guess the cold weather wakes them up!
Soon the trail becomes more exposed, and I cinched up my jacket to keep out the wind. At the very top, we got some fantastic views of the Gorge. It looked like the ocean, with all the frothy whitecaps pulsing down the river. Kevin and I fought to keep our footing on the slick trail while battling the gusty air. We slowly proceeded along the cliffs, laughing and pausing to squat down and brace ourselves against the rocks. With the 25 degree temperatures, and the wind chill close to zero, it felt like we were summitting Denali, not Angel’s Rest.
On the way down, we had some silly conversations and decided it might be fun to check out some waterfalls to see how much was iced over. I got a photo of myself and my lime green bandages from getting blood taken this morning, we passed about 30 dogs, we took turns *almost* falling on the ice, and appreciated the warmth of being out of the wind. Back at the car by 3pm.
Multnomah Falls was very cool with all the sparkling icicles lining the basalt cliffs. The water dropped into an icy pool below. All the surrounding plants were covered with thick layers of ice. As we walked away from the falls, we could hear the water booming loudly down the sheer rock face. We grabbed some hot cocoa from the snack bar and headed out to Horsetail Falls.
This was my first time here, and the view was just astonishing. The parking lot was full of cars, and people were snapping photos left and right. The rocks by the waterfall looked covered in mini horsetails formed of ice. But it was very cold, and the warm car beckoned. It was a great afternoon! Cold winter air makes you feel so alive 🙂