Monday, May 11, 2015

Triple Falls Hike

My friend Rose recently celebrated her birthday. She took time off work to play and asked me to take her, Kelly and Becky on a hike.  I chose Triple Falls, located in the Columbia River Gorge, because it's not too long, not too hard (rated moderate) and very scenic.  In 4.75 round-trip miles we viewed FOUR waterfalls! You get a lot of bang for your buck.  And the drive from Newberg is under an hour and half each direction, depending on traffic.

We started our hike at the Horsetail Falls trailhead.
Our group at the trailhead
Horsetail Falls
copyright Jodi Stilp Photography LLC
The forest is so lush and green right now.  I drank in the smell and all the shades of green.
copyright Jodi Stilp Photography LLC
In less than half a mile, we came to Upper Horsetail Falls.  The trail takes hikers behind the waterfall which is always a treat.  There is no guardrail and the trail is a little muddy from the water, so watch your footing here.
copyright Jodi Stilp Photography LLC 
copyright Jodi Stilp Photography LLC
#selfie with kelly
The trail winds up and around the mountains, offering sporadic views of the Columbia River Gorge through the trees.

A mile past Upper Horsetail Falls is a bridge over Oneonta Gorge.  A waterfall cascades behind and below the bridge.  It's pretty spectacular.  The bridge needs some repairs and has signs on both ends saying it's only "safe" to carry one hiker at a time.  YIKES!
copyright Jodi Stilp Photography LLC
1/4 of a mile past the bridge, we came across the aftermath of a November 2014 landslide.  The slide was officially cleared on April 21, 2015,  reopening a major connecting point of the vast trail system within this section of forest in the Gorge.

The trail definitely needs a sign indicating which direction to take at the initial spot of the landslide.  The way the slide came down the mountain makes it look like the trail continues straight across the mountain face, when in reality it goes up through some rock scree and really exposed, barren dirt.  If it had been rainy, the dirt would have been slippery mud and the incline was relatively steep.  (Sorry.  Forgot to take pictures.)

When we reached this section of the trail we came upon another group of confused hikers who had tried two "trails" that were dead ends.  They were ready to turn around, but I love a challenge.  I picked my way across the face of the landslide and climbed up to where I could see the "normal" trail.  Once on it, I hiked the trail back to the waiting group of hikers so I could guide them up through the scree.

One of my friends found this short section of the reconstructed trail intimidating and unnerving, especially since she had never hiked across scree before.  I was proud of her for pushing on and telling fear, "Not today."  We all made it safely up and back this section of the trail, as did the hoards of other hikers out enjoying the beautiful day.  It's always reassuring to see hikers coming back the way you are headed.

Triple Falls - our turnaround spot - was only 3/4 of a mile past the landslide area.  We picnicked on the side of the trail, taking in the view and the much needed calories.  We were hungry and ready to eat.
copyright Jodi Stilp Photography LLC
A guy at the viewpoint offered to take this photo for me and I love it.
It's always faster on the way back, especially on an out and back trail. We lolly gagged less and made good time back to the car.  We all had fun and made it back to our homes in time to get our kids off the school bus.

Happy birthday Rose!  And Happy Hiking Friends.

No comments:

Post a Comment