Instead of staying home like a good boy and starting Catch-22 as promised, I played hooky today and headed out for Wahkeena Falls and Angel’s Rest, two of the more beautiful places in the Columbia Gorge.
Although I originally hiked Wahkeena Falls as part of the Multnomah Falls-Wahkanee Falls loop over twenty years ago, I decided to take the shorter hike today because I haven’t really done any serious uphill hiking for over a year now.
I’m paying the price tonight as I find it difficult to get out of my computer chair and get to the refrigerator upstairs for some much-needed water.
As I get ready to move, I find myself getting more nostalgic for oft-repeated hikes, and this is one of my Gorge favorites. I’m not positive, but I think that this might well be the first hike that I took both of my children on, and I ended up carrying Tyson down the hills on my shoulders the last two or three miles because he was too little to make it all the way. Luckily I didn’t have to carry him today or neither of us would have made it out.
Despite the fact that it was rather hot today, I never did heat up too much because of the natural air conditioning provided by water roaring down the cliffs. Because most Flatlanders stand at the bottom of the hill on the highway and admire Wahkeena Falls from that vantage point, they miss the beautiful falls that await those willing to climb the 1,500+ feets to the cliff’s rim and the even more spectacular sights that await for those willing to climb even further.
My favorite falls apparently don’t have a name at all because they are merely a part of the stream that roars down these cliffs. Most people find them less spectacular than the plunging Wahkanee Falls, but I’ve always enjoyed them more than their more famous cousins.
Another two or three hundred feet beyond these riffs, you find another small, but spectacular falls appropriately called Fairy Falls.
Although this is merely a small creek that later joins the Wahkeena, it’s delightful to sit at the bench at the bottom of these falls and imagine small fairies resting in the spray of this delicate beauty. I rested there longer than usual today, but not because I expected to see any fairies.
As sore as I am tonight, I should be able to sit around and finish the first four or five chapters of Catch-22 tomorrow and post them early in the day.