Monday, April 18, 2011

Waterfall hiking

We had a plan, we really did. We were going to drive down to the Gorge and Check out Multnomah falls. Then we were going to drive down to Hood river and follow it back to Mt. Hood. A leisurely drive around the mountain with an occasional stop for pictures then back home. I have to work tomorrow after all. That isn't what happened.

We started out OK. Got distracted and decided, on a the recommendation of a local, to get on scenic Hwy 30 which parallels I-84. Well, there was a sign for Vista House and we just had to go look at that. Turns out we had seen it coming in and wondered what the heck it was. Good to satisfy curiosity like that sometimes. We noticed, on the way up, a couple of waterfalls. The most impressive of these was one called Latourell Falls. Go ahead, look it up. Pretty cool huh. We got back on the road and started back toward Multnomah Falls and passed another one called Wahkeena Falls. Sarah and Michael got out since Max had fallen asleep. I stayed in the car with Max. Sarah came back and told me Michael thought it was amazing and I had to go look. She stayed with Max while I went. It was pretty cool. I noticed a bridge well up the falls and wondered aloud to Sarah how far it was. We found a sign and it said 0.2 miles. We also noticed a sign on the road pointing to a trail saying Multnomah was 0.5 miles to the West. OK...easy enough. I can carry Max 0.2 miles. We made it to the bridge and saw a sign saying Multnomah lodge with an arrow pointing up. We asked a nearby hiker how far it was and he said it was about a mile and a half. Sarah remembered reading an article that the bridge in front of the falls was 5 miles up a trail. We thought this might be a shortcut.

Turns out there may have been a shortcut called Perdition trail but it was closed. We asked another passing hiker how far it was to Multnomah from where we were and he said maybe a mile or two. Well, we were already a mile or two in and it made as much sense to go a mile more as it did to go a mile back so we kept climbing.

Turns out to have been about a 5.5 mile hike. I checked the map when we got home. We climbed about 1600 feet in elevation and then went back down. Hiked for over 3 hours. Did I mention that I carried Max on my shoulders most of the time since the trail edge was so steep and crumbly? Oh yeah, we didn't bring water, snacks, diapers or anything else with us because we were just going 0.2 miles up to the bridge. Guess what happened to us while we were up there? A snow shower? Ding ding ding!

It was pretty awesome hiking though. The tall forests, the rushing waters and then the stillness of the forest with the sunlight dripping through. Oh yeah, and the spectacular waterfalls.

A special mention is deserved here for Michael. He turned 5 last week. He did the while hike with us today with the exception of a 500-600 yard stretch at the top where I carried him on my shoulders. He did it without complaint and only an occasional, "When are we going to be there?" He smiled and kept right on going. Awesome.

We will hit Mt. Hood another day.


  1. Wish I'd been there with my camera, it's so beautiful up there. Vista House is great also. How long you guys going to be in the area, as I may come up and visit my friends. Would be great to connect up there.

    Doug W

  2. We will be here til the first week in July. Would love to connect with you if you come up.

    If you don't mind a foldout sofa we could probably even put you up. :-) Not that your friends up here might not have better digs.