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Columbia River Gorge Tour #2

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The creek below Wahkeena Falls

Initially, Denise and I headed for Latourell Falls.  The sky was foggy, the temperature cool, so I was not overly excited, but I wanted to stretch my legs and take some photos with my new camera.   Once we got on the scenic highway at Corbett, plans evolved.  We stopped at first great viewpoint,  known as the Portland Women’s Forum Viewpoint.  Not a bad seat in the joint.  I’d never been to the far end to the parking lot before, with slightly better views of the river and a classic look at Crown Point.  From there, we drove to the nearby Vista House atop Crown Point, then dropped into the trees on the winding road to the first big falls of the Gorge.

For a few reasons, we didn’t set out on a real hike at Latourell Falls, which I’ve previously documented on this site.  Instead, we strode up the first steep pitch to a nice viewpoint of the falls, then turned back.  I was thinking Shepperd’s Dell would be our next spot, but I forgot all about Bridal Veil Falls State Park!  Silly me.  It isn’t dramatic from the road, but this is a hidden gem with two very different trails.  Since Denise had not seen the river overlook trail, we skipped the waterfall trail and ambled about the meandering flat trail.  There are views of the mighty Columbia in both directions, and great head-on looks at the Washington side of the Gorge in the Cape Horn area.

Shepherd’s Dell is not much of a spot to hike, but it has a cool falls, which is made more mysterious by upper reaches I’d never before noticed.   The watercourse almost corkscrews. Cascades are visible through the trees along the highway which are invisible from the trail itself.   This is a great little spot for a rest.

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Wahkeena Falls

Like its big brother Multnomah Falls, Wahkeena Falls is a popular spot, and with good reason.  The falls is not one clean plunge, but a couple of horsetails and a cascade below to boot.  The base of the main falls is easily accessible by paved trail.

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Fern gully

Knowing this, we cruised up there.  It only takes a few minutes.   I was impressed by the flow and the breeze which that created.  I didn’t dally long by the falls proper, but continued past.  We hiked up about 11 switchbacks to Lemmon Viewpoint, which took perhaps 20 minutes.  I didn’t remember how tough the trail was, but it was easy, and the views were great.  It was a nice capper to another great tour of the Columbia River Gorge.

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Lemmon Viewpoint and Washington

Note:  In double checking spellings of a couple waterfalls, I stumbled on a cool site for waterfall lovers, Northwest Waterfall Survey.  I knew a number of the names, like Ecola and Mist, but was not aware of Dalton, Little Necktie, and a few others.   Just when I needed new ideas for local exploration!  Happy hikes, everyone.

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East to Beacon Rock

 

 

 

Cape Horn of Plenty

The Columbia Gorge from Cape Horn

The Columbia Gorge from Cape Horn

This is a sequel hike.  I came up here last winter, but a prime time summer day is a different experience, especially when it’s with four other people.   we came late in the day, and just blasted (okay, we walked steadily) up to the first few viewpoints.   We encountered a woman wondering if we’d seen a friend of hers.  He had just taken off running.   First rule of hiking club: don’t leave your buddies.  Second rule of hiking club:  don’t ridicule those hikers who make foolish decisions.  We found the guy later.  All was well.   Third rule of hiking club:  don’t scare the heck out of your friends by leaning way too close to the edge of a cliff.    Ah, what the heck.

Cape HOrn views

Denise, Jackie Chan, and friends at a dusty viewpoint over the Columbia River

We decided to turn around where there was a no trespassing sign that hadn’t been there in the winter. It would have been along walk to another pretty view and we were short on time. Still, a couple killer viewpoints and some good exercise with good company is about as good as life gets in my book.   That and high quality chocolate ice cream.