February 20, 2010
Location: Eagle Creek Trail in the Columbia River Gorge, OR
People: Kpine and hiking_mike1960 (that’s me)
First let’s get the directions done first. Drive up I-84 east to Exit 41. Turn right after the exit and drive to trailhead. Beware parking is limited and the place fills up fast. It other words get there early due to lots of people hike this trail. Also, clean your car out of all those valuables because they will walk away if you know what I mean.
The day was blue skies and the temperature crisp 34 degrees to start. I think the finally temperature was in the mid fifties. What a great day for a walk with Mother Nature. I have done this hike over 30 times at least and I probably could walk it in my sleep. But it is a nice first of the year hike with lots of beauty, over seven waterfalls, deep drop offs and if you are there the right time of the year 1000’s of wild flowers.
I made the invite to many and only Kpine could go. Which was fine because this trail even thou traveled by many can be a killer if you are not aware of your footing and steps. The trail climbs slowly up to about a 1600 foot elevation gain. The problem comes in the form of the trail runs along the canyon wall and the drop offs can go from 100 to 200 feet down to Eagle Creek, I think that would make for a very bad day. If you all remember right last year a young lady stepped of the side and fell to her death. One must respect the trail and know that it can kill you if not careful.
Back to the good stuff. The day was bright the light for pictures was crap with tons of shadows. I was still planning to take pictures anyway because Kpine can be a silly subject to photograph just by her self and if you just add some nature. Well if you know Kpine then you can understand. Later I plan to add a section on my website of the people I have photographed and to can see Kpine in action.
Back to the hike, we arrived at the trial about 9:00 in the morning. Oh I almost forgot Luna, Kpine’s wonder dog was with us too. Not too many people were there before us so parking was good. After pit stops to the local port-a-potty, we strapped on our packs. Today I was trying out a new REI Flash 65. I got it for longer backpacking trips and I wanted to test it out before the “Mid-life Crises Hike” planned for later this summer. I will write about it later and on why we are going to do it. Before we started, I met a guy wearing a Flash 65 and drilled him for information about the pack. He stated pretty much all good things about it. So that was a positive start to this purchase. The pack fit well to my body for what I had stuffed into it and cannot wait to load it with the needs of an over night stay.
The trial was in great condition. Thanks to all the hard work of the maintenance crews, what a great hobby. It must be a labor of love and I am very grateful of all their hard work and time. I wish I had the time to give. Our game plan today was to hike up to Eagle Creek Falls or Twist Falls, another name for the falls. It is about 6 ¼ miles up the trail. We started out at a good pace stopping to take pictures of our adventures. The pictures will be posted on my website if any turn out. Remember the light was not that great. The waterfalls were very full with tons of water flowing over them. No wild flower yet, a bit too early for them. I was a little bummed out about that. That just means more hiking to come to see them. Dang, it I hate it when that happens.
Kpine and I have done this little adventure once before but turned around at the 4 ½ mile bridge. So she was see new country for the first time. I love showing people the beauty we have here in the Great Northwest. She was all smiles and just being Kpine. She really liked Tunnel Falls. Tunnel Falls drops over the top and falls were the trial would have been. So the engineers who built the trail blasted a tunnel in the rock. One must see it to understand because you are walking behind the falls incased in rock. After Tunnel Falls, we went a short distance to Twist Falls and ate lunch. It is so relaxing to sit by the creek with friend and eat. The serenity just flows into a person and I get closer to my Higher Power. It recharges my batteries and washes away all the crap running through my brain.
We had a nice lunch sharing the goodies each of us brought. We discuss many things but felt something was missing. Finally, we decided it was our other hiking partner Southern Jim. He had to work that day. We called him on the way home and express our feels and how great the hike was. Ok, we rubbed it in that he was not there. Yes I can be an ass at times.
After and peaceful lunch and trips off the trail to go potty, we head back to the real world. We met hikers who were planning to overnight. I wish I could go with them but it would get cold tonight. The trip back was like driving on a freeway. It was full of day hikers enjoying the day. It is an experience just watching them. I have been up there once when I met a group just out of church. They were in their Sunday’s best, suits and ties, dresses and high heels. I have to laugh every time I think about it.
It is a good feeling when the trailhead comes in site. I did not want to leave but I had sore feet and was getting tired. Plus we were looking forward to ice cream in Cascade Locks. My new pack worked out well except for one spot on my lower back where my pack rubbed a hot spot. I will try to repeat and figure out what caused it. Other then that, I loved how it rode and looking forward to loading it up.
May you all have a great day and see you someday out on the trail. Please take a walk with Mother Nature and find peace.