After romping around Monday morning (or rather, walking serenely, as one tends to do in a Japanese garden...) I spent a little time shopping downtown and would have spent more time there, since it was so cute, but I drove my car and there is literally no parking downtown. Next time I plan on taking the fabulous public transportation that runs like San Francisco streetcars throughout the city.
But with more time to kill in the day I decided, on a whim, to do a little hike. A coworker of mine had mentioned Eagle Creek trail at work the other day, so I thought I'd give it a go, since the weather was relatively nice (meaning it was not currently raining, but still overcast). It took me about thirty minutes from downtown to get to the Columbia River Gorge, a place I know I'll be coming back for its amazing beauty.
Apparently I didn't know about the bear warnings, or the parks pass permit needed to park, or the fact that car break-ins happen often, but even if I did, I doubted it would have deterred me. Instead, I gaily hiked two miles in and back to see the famed Punchbowl Falls. It was a short hike, and an easy one, but each step was literally so much more beautiful than the last that I didn't want to turn around. But with the approach of darkness, and rain, and the possibility of my car not being there when I returned, I regretfully walked out again.
The trail itself winds its way up the gorge, literally on a ledge that is so narrow in parts that you have to hug the wall so you don't drop 250 feet into the gorge. Being that I'm afraid of heights, you'll believe me when I say the views were well worth the vertigo. I hugged the mossy walls, weeping with water, and even though it was wasn't raining, I found myself completely soaked by the end of the hike. I walked under waterfalls and through waterfalls and over waterfalls. Eagle Creek is a veritable wonderland of waterfalls. Every ten feet there's another gusher, even prettier than the last. It practically begs you to keep walking forward, because you know there will be another one just around the bend.
Alas, not knowing I was going on a hike, I wore the most useless outfit ever: jeans and a t-shirt. And a ski jacket. And my expensive camera that I desperately try not to get wet in this climate, but which seems to always get wet, anyway. I did have on hiking boots, so that's a plus. I may have looked like a drowned rat, but at least my feet were dry.
The photos I took hardly do the hike justice, but here they are for you to enjoy, anyway.