Every once in awhile a guy just needs to get outdoors and roam around. I’m fortunate to live within striking distance of the Columbia River gorge and it’s set of amazing trails and remarkable landscapes. The weather has been remarkably spring-like lately and I thought a day of hiking was in order. Pack the pack, grab the boots and head east into the gorge. The goal was simply to hike into Triple Falls and return in time to attend the “Captivated by the Light” seminar hosted by Ed Pierce that evening. Lots of time to move at my own pace.
We’ll be taking some friends from that other state south of Oregon to see some Oregon sights in May and this trip into the gorge, without the extended hikes, was a good way to plan the trip with them. I pulled off the interstate at Corbett and moved onto the Scenic Highway. New pavement along stretches of the road between the Vista House and Multnomah Falls was a bit of a surprise. The smooth surface felt kind of out of place with my memories from the seat of our tandem bike.
I pulled into Latourell Falls along with 3 other cars and walked the short distance down to the creek. There’s something about the bright green lichen growing on the basalt of the canyons in the gorge that always catches my eye. The color contrast is amazing. Mist in the air. The roaring sound of the water. A small breeze and cool temperatures. I could spend a long time just watching the water patterns flowing over the cliff or in the small, intimate falls over the boulders in the stream. Time runs away.
After a quick conversation with a couple of guys dressed in business suits (hmmm, shirts with buttons…. too bad for them) I walked the trails in the area looking for other vantage points. Nothing really stirred me so I packed up and headed down the road to Wahkeena Falls. Some day I’ll get a good picture of this waterfall but this trip did not produce anything but the mediocre views that I’ve recorded in the past. Some day.
On to Multnomah Falls lodge and some lunch. It’s always a treat to sit in the dining room, eat good soup and homemade bread and watch the falls. I always marvel at the number of people that stop, eat and take in the view. I guess that’s what a convenient stop on an interstate highway will do for you. This falls is also tough to get into a single picture. Its height, the relatively confined setting and the hordes of people all seem to add to the challenge. I’ll keep trying. Maybe from across the Columbia River looking south?
Onward to Triple Falls. The light jacket didn’t stay on long as I plodded up the trail. A few recent slides or trees that have fallen required some concentration along small distances of the trail. In general, the Oneonta trail is a pleasant hike and has a good surface. I passed by the trail to Lower Oneonta Falls as I cussed myself for waiting until mid-day to get to Triple Falls. I expected the sun to be bright on the water and the canyon to be in dark shadow. It was. I sat down and watched the sun gradually move across the sky until the foreground branches were not in direct sun. While I waited I scanned the area for vantage points that were different from “the spot” that had clearly been used many tmes before. The cliff walls of the canyon convinced me to stay where I was. Galen probably would have found a way down to the channel but I’m not that adventurous. I set up the tripod at the edge of the cliff above the falls and started shooting a series of images with different framing and at different shutter speeds. I like images of flowing water where the water is soft and flowing smoothly. The canyon darkness helped me get the slow shutter speeds needed for the effect.
I visited with a couple of guys hiking from Horsetail Falls as I left the area and headed back down to Lower Oneonta Falls. Again, the canyon limits where you can go safely so I set my tripod in the holes left by others and took “the shot”. Hmmmm… maybe you could hang the camera off the bridge and get a low angle, uncommon view of this falls and the pool. Maybe. Another time.
There was a chill forming in the air as I packed for the hike out. I didn’t hurry and enjoyed the luxury of just being able to be there, to move at my own pace and to capture images of some great, iconic waterfalls. It would have been great to have Dianne or any of my photo friends along. Another time. I look forward to it!