Archive for March, 2008

Wahkeena Falls – Multnomah Falls Loop

Saturday, March 29th, 2008

dates hiked:

November 10, 2007
December 8, 2007
January 1, 2008
January 13, 2008
January 21, 2008

distance: @7.5 miles
highest elevation: 1600 feet
elevation gain: 1000 feet
time: 4 hours

I have spent all of fall and most of winter in the Columbia Gorge. Mostly on this trail. My other favorite low-elevation Gorge trail , Eagle Creek, was closed so I stayed here. My goal was to keep hiking throughout the winter season and so far…it’s working. It was amazing to watch the trail change with the season and the latest storm. I had to buy YakTrax (we’ve had a snowy season).

Return Trail 

The Wahkeena – Multnomah Loop can be completed clockwise or counter-clockwise. I prefer to hike it counter-clockwise. However, I like to park at Multnomah Falls (and end there). So I always begin my hike by taking the return trail from Multnomah Falls to Wahkeena Falls. It’s funny, because no matter how busy Multnomah is…and it can be busy, within a moment the crowds drop away.

View of Beacon Rock

Beacon Rock from trail

The trail passes several waterfalls and provides a view of the Columbia River. There are are also many trails leading off of the Wahkeena Trail so you can spend  a lot of time exploring in the area (as I did). As New Year’s Day arrived, the snow levels were dropping and my trail had shown the first sign of winter.

Wahkeena Trail

Two weeks later, further along the trail…more snow (but totally hikable).

Multnomah Trail

My last trip to the Wahkeena – Multnomah Trail was on January 21, 2008. I had set out that morning without watching the news or weather….which unfortunately is quite common for me. I had watched the weather reports earlier in the week and I knew it would be cold…in the 20’s. Being the native Floridian, I admit I do not have a good understanding of cold weather. I figured, okay…so I dress warmly. And I did…I headed out. I actually went to Eagle Creek Trail first because it was just reopened after being closed for months. I was excited. I got to the trail (at Eagle Creek) and started out. Within steps I realized the ground underneath me was solid ice. As I continued, chunks of ice and rocks came raining down from the wall above me. As a rock the size of a golf ball hit my pack and I stared as it fell into the canyon below me….I decided to turn around. None of this took very long and I didn’t want to forgo hiking for the day…so I headed to Wahkeena/Multnomah.

Here’s what I found…

Frozen falls on return trail

I didn’t make it on the entire loop that day. I was able to hike about three miles. Afterwards, I spent some time at Multnomah drinking coffee and watching in amazement.

Icy Multnomah Falls

Silver Falls

Saturday, March 29th, 2008

date hiked: September 22, 2007
distance: 8.7 miles
time: 3 hours

I took my friend Tammy to Silver Falls State Park. We hiked together for a short time and then seperated while I hiked the Trail of Ten Falls. It was a nice way to spend a day.

Me at Silver Falls

Hamilton Mountain

Saturday, March 29th, 2008

date hiked: September 8, 2007
distance: 7.5 miles
highest elevation: 2400 feet
elevation gain: 2100 feet
time: 4.5 hours

This is my second time hiking up Hamilton Mountain. Last time I hiked with a friend, this time I was on my own. I also didn’t take the “loop option” this time, which just takes you on an old road. I stayed on the much more scenic (and more difficult) trail up to the summit and came back down the same way.

Early on, a couple of miles in….Rodney and Hardy Falls give you a place to stop for a brief picture (looking down from the falls).

Hamilton Trail