1.27.2015

eagle creek to punchbowl falls


We couldn't wait to get back to Eagle Creek to do the hike to Punchbowl Falls.  I can't express how beautiful and wild this trail is.  I've only been there in summer before, and it's pretty then, but the winter landscape is just incredible. I was literally walking in circles trying to take everything in.  I took more than 200 pictures and this is probably the first of two or three posts, but these should give you an idea of what the progression of the trail looks like to the falls.  Around every corner was another breathtaking scene, and my pictures don't come close to doing it justice.  We did see several kids under 10 on the trail, but if you take your child I would recommend very close supervision as there are a lot of drop-offs, narrow patches, and rocky/mucky terrain in spots.  It's a 4-mile hike to Punchbowl Falls and back, with options to go on (Tunnel Falls is 6 miles in and Wahtum Lake is 13 miles in), but that is as far as we went this time.  I was a little disappointed not to get a shot of the falls - I would have had to wade out in water to see around the corner to the falls and I didn't want to hike back cold and wet, but next time I'll put some rubber boots in my pack.  We arrived pretty early - we were back to our car by about 12:30 - and though there were other people on the trail, for the most part we missed the heavy stream of hikers that were just getting there.  

If you have never been, go, and go early - the early morning fog hanging in the trees makes this already amazing place seem almost unreal.

More soon...

1.20.2015

salmon + eagle



Hello!  How was your long weekend?  My husband and I both had to work Monday, but Thor had the day off from school and it was so nice to have him home.  Even though rain poured most of the weekend, we did get in some much needed outdoor adventure time. 

Saturday we drove up into the Mt. Hood National Forest and took a random side road to see where it would lead.  It led us to the Salmon River, deep in the dark mossy forest.  To say that it was breathtaking would be an understatement.  This is always the best way to discover magical places - take a chance on a lonely road that goes into the trees.  Unfortunately, on the way there I realized my camera battery had not charged.  I only had my phone for pictures and those don't seem to turn out well for posting here, but I will probably post a few more to Instagram sometime this week.

Sunday we decided to drive into the always beautiful Columbia River Gorge and ended up at Eagle Creek near Bonneville Dam.  We had not been there for years; the last time was when Thor was pretty small and we carried him in the baby backpack up to Punchbowl Falls.  We weren't prepared for the hike Sunday, but we did explore a bit around the trailhead.  My husband said he and his dad and brothers used to fish for salmon where the creek heads toward the Columbia and thinks this summer he and Thor should do the same.  In the meantime, I think the trail to Punchbowl Falls is going to be our next weekend hike.  I remember it being a little trecherous in spots (and I see now you can't take kids under 10 on this trail), but I also remember it being incredibly beautiful and so worth the extra care taken.  So extra care we will take. 

I hope you had some good adventures over the weekend, too.  Don't let the rain stop you from getting out!  If you're local to the Portland area and have kids, do you have some favorite hiking spots?  

1.12.2015

winterwalk

A winterwalk on Mt. Tabor yesterday.

There's a certain silence about winter.  A stillness.  A softness.  I think Oregon is most beautiful in winter.  The dark skies, bare branches, fog hanging in the treetops, glistening dampness, muted colors - it's a magical brew.  These kinds of days used to really depress me, but I found years ago that just getting out there, opening up to really see and feel the beauty of it, led to a deep appreciation for the loveliness of winter decay, the enlivening cold, and that certain winter silence.  A long hike, a short walk, or just a few minutes' observation outside your door - it's definitely worth it this time of year.  

Be open.