Herman Creek

Although the long climb from the Columbia River to the top of the Gorge is often hot and dusty, the next seven miles of the Herman Creek hike more than justifies the initial effort.

Once you've reached the first plateau at 800 feet, the nature of the trail changes as it flattens out. Waterfalls stream from surrounding cliffs, cooling the air and producing outbursts of golden-green foliage.

Moss-covered creeks undisturbed a thousand years fill the air with the sounds of rushing water, broken only by long periods of silence and the occasional tweets and chirps of birds drawn by the water in this arid countryside.

None of this, though, is quite as awe-inspiring as the Cedar Swamps where most day-hikers turn around. Here the visitor is greeted by fallen, and standing, Giants.

Camping here overnight on a solo hike, I was struck by the eerie silence, almost as if I had been suspended in time and something stood watching over me.

It's hard to imagine how long these giants have stood watch over this land. One can only hope that they will continue to stand watch now that this has been declared a Wilderness area.

6 thoughts on “Herman Creek

  1. These are amazing photos! I lived in the Pacific Northwest before, and your photos capture the majesty and mystery of it all so well. I love the Cedar Swamps photo; I can feel the air and smell the ground, just looking at it.

  2. Loren, the first photograph is simply amazing — so beautifully constructed that after a while I began to wonder whether you’d assembled it in Photoshop (even now I’m not entirely sure). Not only are the nominal subjects (the trees, the rocks, the foliage, the flowing water) lovely to look at but the tension between the depth one “knows” must exist “in nature” and the way in which those elements have been flattened and assembled into a “picture” is perfect.

    I could ramble on and on about this but it might be better to say: if you want to offset your medical bills by selling some prints, put me at the top of the buyer’s list.

  3. I would consider that the ultimate compliment coming from you, Jonathan. And, yes, the first photograph is a montage of three different photographs taken on that hike.

    I’m not in the business of selling prints right now, though I’m thinking of doing that in the future, but I’ll send you a copy of the original montage and you can print it..

    Strangely enough, I thought about your desire to see the Columbia Gorge while I was assembling these pictures.

  4. I liked the Herman Creek photos okay the first time, but seeing them today I like them even better. Sometimes I have to be slowly penetrated by pictures, so I guess these are starting to get to me. Very nice. I like for nature to come to me in photos so that I don’t have to go there in person. This way, there’s no sand in my shoes, no ants in my pants, no flies in my eyes.

  5. There’s an unreality in the bottom photo that somehow makes everything seem more real and alive. Kind of nature imitating art imitating nature.

    There’s also a shipwreck on the left, and moss is playing the role of corrosion.

What do you think?