Mother Nature, or climate change, or a freak occurrence in our natural weather patterns, has been wreaking havoc with our winter. Our long, dark months of drizzly rain have been replaced with sunny warm days in the 50s. Now, I’m not one to complain, but we will rue these days come summer. However, when life gives you lemons, you make lemon meringue pie, so with the the sunny days, Adriane and I decided to head out the Gorge and go for a hike. An, as happens in Portland, so had everyone else. We got to the Eagle Creek parking lot and could not find a space. When I head out for a hike, I prefer to have the illusion of being somewhat alone conversing with nature, so we turned around and headed home with the goal of getting an earlier start the next day.
Sunday morning we were out the door by 8:30, not exactly the crack of dawn, but hey, and were on the trail by 10. And… well… wow! There is a reason that this is one of the most popular hikes in the Gorge. It really is incredibly beautiful. You hike along and above the creek, which on this day was the most wonderful iridescent blue, through big trees, moss and ferns. The quintessential Oregon hike. While there isn’t a ton of steep grades, nor a lot of elevation gain, the trail has some precipitous drop offs, some so sketchy that there is a cable attached to the hillside for you grasp. The trail is well maintained, even in winter, so you never really feel too gripped, but it is nice to know the cable is there for you.
We hiked out quite a ways, passing the epic Punch Bowl Falls, saving that for the return trip. It is my understanding that this trail meets up with the Pacific Crest Trail, but we didn’t make it out that far. Instead, we turn back and headed back to the falls. Punch Bowl Falls, featured on the cover of many a book as well as on the rear cover of the classic ‘70s album Styx II, is a beautiful spot. A great place for a sit down and snack, but on this day was a little crowded. You don’t get a good looked at the album cover shot unless you are out in the creek, so I peeled of my shoes and socks and waded in. If you had told me that I would be wading a mountain creek in the middle of winter to get a photo of a waterfall I would have told you “don’t bet on it”, but there I was and, I have to say, it was worth it. You be the judge.