Category Archives: Thru hiking
I have walked dozens of pieces of the Pacific Crest Trail, but it seems funny that I missed a nearby section until yesterday. It would have been one of the last legs which Cheryl Strayed hiked on her now famous PCT adventure. I started at the Herman Creek trailhead, where I have been a couple times (the starting point for an Indian Point hike), and once I veered off onto the bridge trail, I realized I had walked this route in reverse twenty years ago. I had gone on a quick backpacking trip over Green Point Mountain and across to Benson Plateau. I had completed a twenty five mile loop by descending steeply from the plateau to this point. The creek crossing is lovely. Not a soul in sight. Serenity now. It would not have been difficult to stay there for much longer, listening to the babbling brook.
The trail climbs mostly gradually, but really meanders through the changing forest towards the PCT. The trail junction there is punctuated by a fantastic splintered stump. The walking was still casual, and still I had seen nobody since the initial junction on the Herman Creek Trail. It was midweek, but the weather was absolutely perfect, so I was surprised at the solitude, but longtime readers will know I’m not complaining. Heading north on the PCT, the trail soon crosses a rockslide. Cliffs loom high above the trail. The sun is barely hitting the trail due to the massive walls above.
After a second, wider rockslide, the trail ducks back into the trees, turns a corner, and then I could hear the distant whispers of a stream. The noise soon increased. I looked up at the stream crossing. The waterfall is partially hidden by some maples, so I scrambled uphill for an improved view. Pacific Crest Falls is a lovely two step falls which few people probably see, and if you are headed north, it could be easy to miss, but it’s worth the hike.
Making the trip even better, a couple hundred yards down the trail, there is a series of odd rocky piles known as the Herman Creek Pinnacles. Their fractured structure is fascinating, and I found decent views after scrambling up a rocky bump to the west, taking in the Columbia River, Washington foothills, even the white wall of a distant Mount Adams.
This was a fascinating area to explore, from the water features to the incredibly lush flora to the rocks. The hike is probably less than five miles round trip, so it’s an easy half day venture, and one well worth the drive. It’s also easy to connect with other short waterfall walks or explorations of Cascade Locks and Hood River. Enjoy.
I have intermittently dreamed about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail since I read Eric Ryback’s book about the trail when I was in high school. Naturally, life has taken random twists and turns, I’ve done a lot other cool things, from climbing cliffs and bungee jumping to getting married on a mountain to becoming a firefighter and publishing my writing. At my age, I’m not sure I can press pause on my life for five months it would require. Perhaps one day… Here is a tease I stumbled on today in which a hiker took a second-long video every day on the journey, which is compressed to a three-minute video. I’ve seen another version of this, where a man took a selfie every mile on the trail. It was interesting to see his face change, but I wanted to see the scenery more. This clip does that. Enjoy–especially those of you about to embark on the trail. If you can’t follow my link (and sorry about the ad), here’s the full URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=styiDn7YKhE