Regrettably, it has been a while since my last post. The outdoor jaunts have been few and far between, so I was pleased to have perfect weather last Saturday for some two legged traveling. I drove east on Highway 84 along the mighty Columbia River, ready to hit some waterfalls with my dog.
After passing a ridiculously crowded trailhead for Angel’s Rest, I decided on the Latourell Falls Loop, which actually hits two waterfalls.
The main falls with its 249 foot plunge can be seen right off the old Columbia River Highway.
Fifty yards ups a steep path there is a great overlook of the fall. A crowd has gathered. Continuing past it, I follow a twenty-something guy with a dog, figuring I can keep up. Wrong answer. The trail seems unnecessarily steep at first, and I am gassed quickly. I am getting old! It takes a while to get my groove on, about the point where I get some cool sidelong views at the lower falls.
The trail is rather non-descript for half a mile until it nears the upper falls. Occasionally I spy hikers on a path barely fifty yards away across the canyon.
The upper falls is a two stage drop in to a mini punchbowl.
Two men scramble behind the veil of spray as Jackie and I soak in the view. It is spectacular. Then we follow the path across a bridge. It heads back down the far side, hitting more sun, for which I am appreciative. The light seems especially luminous on moss cloaked branches.
A tiny spur trail leads to the top of the lower falls. With Jackie on leash, I don’t creep too close to the edge. The view is sublime enough where I am: two hundred fifty feet straight down to splash town.
This was the best hike I’ve taken in a month. It starts out challenging but quickly gets casual, there are two spectacular waterfalls, and it even has views out into the Gorge proper.
Once past the upper falls, the trail isn’t too crowded. The end of the loop ducks back under the road and returns to the lower falls.
The geometric geology of the basalt cliff behind Latourell Falls is amazing up close from the final section of the loop.
What else can I say? As I drive back to Portland, I have a silly smile on my face. Yeah, it was that nice.