Bodacious Hikes

Late spring and early summer I have been fortunate to enjoy a variety of hikes with family or friends. Yesterday morning, before the heat of the day, I enjoyed a hike with Chris, a friend of ours from Vegas who is in the area visiting family. We hiked along the Columbia Gorge ridge on the Oregon side right across from White Salmon. We had explored that area before and wanted to go again. There isn’t an official hiking trail but just a place you need to know where to go to get there. We had the ridge to ourselves and it was interesting. Amtrak was traveling west toward a long freight train parked on tracks, not moving. Far to the east a barge was guiding a big load westward just below Lyle, WA. An American Cruise Line small ship making its way on a voyage through the Columbia Gorge and up the Snake River to the east came past as we watched.

View of White Salmon and Bingen
Looking to the east
Looking west
Mt Hood to the south
Mt Adams to the north
A hard working tugboat heading down river
Vacationers heading up river on an American Cruise Line ship
Chris capturing the surroundings
Me balancing on the edge
We checked, Amtrak was running over an hour late.

We had an enjoyable morning. I left home at six thirty and returned around ten thirty which was perfect as it started getting hot out. Thanks Chris for joining me as you will soon be heading home. The day before, I met Chris at Husum Bridge to watch river guide newbies practice running Husum Falls.

Until recently the White Salmon River was running too high for boaters to go over the falls. Now, however, commercial rafting companies are thrilling their customers with that amazing experience.

A few weeks ago when we were camping at Moss Creek we decided to hike the Falls Creek Trail to the falls. This is one of my all time favorite trails. It is only about three miles or so round trip and is a slow steady climb. There are two bridges to cross and the trail is very rugged in places. Other times it is smooth but slanting. The entire way is absolutely gorgeous and at the end is a magnificent falls.

We soon had to cross an old rickety bridge.
The trail was very rocky in places
The streamlet below was cool and refreshing
The kids loved stopping beside the creek
At times the trees opened up
Smooth, slanting places carry us along
Gnarled roots can trip you up if you aren’t alert
Huge trees often had to be cut and cleared away.

Sam kindly helped his mom who scratched her leg on something sharp along the way.

There were other people on the trail and most brought their dogs as we did. The dogs always wanted to meet the other dogs. All were friendly.

The metal bridge was a great place to take a break, have a snack, and enjoy the surroundings.

Teagan crossing a metal bridge that takes us over a babbling side streamlet,

Not far beyond the bridge we got our first glimpse of Falls Creek Falls. We could hear it at that point and knew we were almost there. We were in fact about about three quarters of way and the best was yet to come.

Falls Creek Falls is among the largest and most powerful waterfalls in southern Washington. Fed by an extensive network of springs and streams originating on the Red Mountain plateau – itself a product of the volcanic eruptions which created nearby Big Lava Field – Falls Creek sends a considerable volume of water hurtling 335 feet over its valley’s headwall in three distinct steps. It is difficult to photograph the entire falls.

As we approached the falls the trail became narrower and more rocky with large boulders on the sides. When we arrived there was one couple with their dog. The atmosphere was moist and refreshing as all waterfall areas are.

My family has been enjoying this waterfall over the years with no fees. Now, starting in August there will be a five dollar parking fee. I am sorry to see that, but the adventure is worth five dollars if you ever happen to come this way.