A bittersweet waterfall combo hike

November 11, 2006.

Since we’ve gotten an abnormally high amount of rainfall here in the past couple of weeks, I decided to join Jeff on a quick foray to some of the more popular waterfalls in the Gorge. These falls are just about a mile from their respective trailheads, so the plan was to start early and hike to one, drive to the next trailhead, hike and repeat.

Our first stop was Wahclella Falls. The brief hike out to the falls is astonishingly beautiful. We walked through a wide open canyon (is this the right term?) with steep walls. The rock was covered with mosses and trees, and water streamed down the cliffs everywhere. Waterfalls that don’t exist in the summertime were flowing in full force now. We stopped every few feet to gawk and take pictures. My batteries, of course, were running low so I didn’t take too many.

Before long we were back at the cars so we decided to drive one exit down to check out Elowah and Upper McCord Falls. The walk out to Elowah was mostly forested and viewless, but the waterfall at the end was the prize we were looking for. It was raging, shooting spray everywhere. We stopped at a distance to admire the view, then walked back to the junction to take the spur up to Upper McCloud. I had just read about these falls in my new Gorge hiking book, and I remember the book mentioning this was a scary trail that people afraid of heights should avoid. Sounded perfect.

When we got to said sketchy part of the trail there were bomb-proof railings on the side, so no matter how afraid of heights one is, it shouldn’t be a big deal. The views were nice nonetheless, and the trail was cut into the side of the rock walls similar to the Eagle Creek trail. Very cool. The waterfall was interesting because it split down the middle. It was also gushing with water and quite a sight to be seen.

We jogged down to the trailhead just to find my car had been broken into. The passenger window was smashed in and everything had been rifled through. I had nothing valuable in the car, but they took my thermos of cocoa, my brand new hiking book, a pair of wool socks and a t-shirt. This stuff was all in my post-hike bag, with perhaps a few other items I can’t think of. Jeff was kind enough to drive into town and get some plastic and tape to cover up the window so I could drive home without getting soaked. What a mess.

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