hiking : eagle creek (& the japanese garden)

Last week, we got to do one of our favorite things - show off our little part of the world to visitors! This time, it was Jennie's mom, and we did all kinds of Oregon-y things that we haven't done in a long time. Mostly, it was just nice to be outside in the perfect early summer weather. Everyone who lives here says it, but it's true - you really can't get a more perfect summer than here.

Eagle Creek Trail

Punchbowl Falls

We hiked Eagle Creek in the morning, after hearing so much about it. We didn't have the energy for the entire 12 mile hike, so we did the first four and turned around at Punchbowl Falls, which was a perfect spot to rest with our feet dangling in the icy creek. There were some exciting cliffs and great views, but nothing too vertigo-inducing!

from Panorama Point

After our hike, we stopped in at Full Sail to refuel on yummy food and beer - and then went up to Panorama Point to see if it was a good view (last time we went, it was completely cloudy). If only we lived in Hood River and could stop by here every day! I think no matter how long we live here, we'll never get over seeing Mt. Hood.

When we got back to Portland, we stopped by the Japanese Garden to see the current Noguchi exhibit. It and the garden were spectacular - because of the late time of day, there were hardly any other visitors. A perfect start to our stay-cation!

hiking - horsetail falls, triple falls, and the oneonta trail

For the second week in a row, the end of the week coincided with absolutely perfect weather so we took advantage of it yet again and did another hike! Another gorge hike, only about a half an hour from our apartment (we have to keep reminding ourselves of this). It started at Horsetail Falls, which we've visited many times when driving the historic highway. Like our hike last week, the trail quickly took us up and over the falls and we spent most of the time hiking well above the Columbia River, with lots of nice views.

Not too long after the initial climb, we came upon the first of many waterfalls, called Ponytail Falls (or Upper Horsetail Falls), and we walked behind it as we passed. Soon after that was the first of a few great views of the gorge - this one looked to the east, and we could see all the way to Beacon Rock and Bonneville Dam.

We followed Oneonta Creek, from high above (you might remember when we hiked into the creek itself right after we moved here), until we came to a metal bridge that crossed Oneonta Gorge. After we crossed the bridge, we had to decide whether we wanted to continue on the loop, down the mountains, or whether to take a side trip up to Triple Falls - another 2 miles and 300 feet of elevation gain. Not wanting to pass up the opportunity to see yet another waterfall, we opted for the side trip.

The climbing was steeper here - and much rockier. As we climbed higher, a nice breeze picked up and we noticed how high we'd climbed. So far, our hikes in the gorge have been in shady dells far below the tops of the mountains with very little sky around, surrounded by trees. As we got toward Triple Falls, the trees thinned out, the sky got bigger, and there was a very different feeling about the whole trail - we were excited that we weren't

that

far from the tops of the surrounding mountains. This was our first "moderate" hike, and we have a ways to go before we scale any big mountains, but we're looking forward to getting out of the undergrowth and exploring different parts of the gorge!

We reached our destination after passing by a number of small waterfalls created by melting snow. We sat down for a break next to the bridge over rocky Oneonta Creek. There were far more people on the trail than we encountered last week, but it still felt like we had the whole place to ourselves. Sitting in the sunshine next to a babbling mountain stream - we probably would have stayed forever if we didn't suddenly notice that we were really hungry! Next time, we'll definitely pack a picnic.

On the way down, we passed another great view of the gorge - this time to the west. I don't think we could ever get tired of seeing it. I'm not sure which hike we'll do next - there are still plenty within a thirty minute drive - but I'm sure it will be wonderful; it seems like there just aren't any bad trails in this state. Here's a GPS map of where we hiked:

hiking - latourell falls

Earlier this week, when we wanted to take a break from printing, we decided to try a hike we'd never done before - Latourell Falls. It's one of the closest hikes in the gorge to Portland, only about a half an hour away. The description in our hiking book looked nice and the weather was supposed to be sunny so we decided to go for it.

The hike started out with a pretty view of Latourell Falls at a viewing platform right by the parking lot, where the non-hikers took family photos, but it quickly climbed off to the side and up to the top of the falls. When we got to the top, we had a nice view of the sunny gorge through the trees -

We didn't realize we'd be leaving behind Latourell Falls so quickly! I hadn't really read the trail description that closely and assumed that we'd be ending at the falls instead of beginning there (I was partially right). Instead, the first half of the hike followed the stream that feeds the falls, through the shady forest.

It was easy going, although slightly uphill the whole time - we passed lots of little streams that fed into the bigger stream, heard birds chirping all around, and only passed two people the whole way back - about a mile. There were flowers everywhere, and tons and tons of unripe salmonberries - a fruit similar to raspberries but wild. They ripen in June, so we'll probably have to come back just for them!

...and the trail turned around by a waterfall after all! Upper Latourell Falls was huge because of the spring melts and we had it (almost) to ourselves. It was about 10° cooler near the waterfall because of all the spray. After pausing for a bit, we continued on the loop and crossed a footbridge to the other side of the creek. This side was sunny the whole way back!

After a little while, the trail curved away from the stream and we got to experience a different part of the forest (and we saw a golden eagle!) It was less dense, had more deciduous trees, and came close to some private houses. The end of the trail curved around past a nice picnic area and under the historic highway's old bridge. The trail ended right where we started, at (lower) Latourell Falls - but with a much better view, since we were at the bottom. We were so glad we decided to try the hike! It was pretty much the perfect day, weather-wise, but I bet it's just as nice in the autumn or winter. It's just really peaceful hike since it follows the stream nearly the whole time, with its nice water sounds. And it's only a half an hour away.

Here's the path we travelled, thanks to my GPS/exercise tracking app! I forgot to start it until we were halfway up the first hill to the lower falls, which is why the blue line doesn't connect near the highway.

On the way back, we stopped at a viewpoint off of I-84 that's a nice place to take pictures of the gorge - not bad, not bad. It's times like this that we remind ourselves that 30 minutes from our apartment in Brooklyn was...Brooklyn!

oak's bottom

Spring seems like it's already here in Portland - the landscapers have returned and so have birds, flowers are blooming, and it was in the 60s this week! We went on another walk (I hate to call it a "hike", although technically it is in our hiking book...) at the wildlife refuge about 10 minutes from our apartment - Oak's Bottom. It's a marshy area that's separated from the Willamette River only by a railroad line (and bike path).

The trail was really nice, not at all muddy, and well-maintained. There were tons of people out, even though it was a weekday, and most of them had super cute dogs. We walked back from the trail on the Springwater Corridor, a bike and walking path that goes all the way from Portland to our favorite-named city in Oregon - Boring!

We're looking forward to spring - we went through all of our hiking books and marked lots of trails we want to check out. For now, we're sticking with the ones that say "easy" because even some of the "easy" ones aren't so easy for us! Luckily, there are lots of options nearby - Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens, the coast, the gorge...