|Trailsign amidst fall splendor|
After a successful expedition on the first Friday of November, that following Sunday I packed up my camera and my dog for trip number two. Today's destination - Elowah and Upper McCord Creek Falls.
|Bear looking up from a sharp switchback|
Poor Bear. He's getting on in years (almost 12 now) so lately I've been leaving him home for most of my hikes. But this trail was fairly short, with minimal elevation gain, so I figured he could handle it. It was good to have him bounding along beside me again. I've missed my four-legged hiking buddy.
|My first glimpse of Elowah Falls|
Elowah Falls is one of my very favorite Gorge waterfalls. Although the trail to reach it is short (a mere 0.8 miles) not many people venture out to see it's lovely white curtain. That's quite okay with me - I'd prefer to have this beauty all to myself.
|Elowah Falls and bridge|
Bear and I climbed up a short distance, and then followed the trail's sharp switchbacks down, down, down until we were almost level with the creek below our destination.
|Lots of lime green lichen on the rocks|
And then through the mossy trees, I spied my subject - the slim white stream of Elowah's lacy cascade. As I ventured closer, the trail opened up to reveal a huge rocky amphitheater lined in green. In the very center was it's star attraction.
Oh Elowah! How beautiful you are! From your tall, wispy body to the breathtaking canyon in which you call home. And the lovely creek with it's mossy rocks below. A hidden paradise less than a mile from the road.
|Another downstream shot|
Elowah is a tall cascade - measuring an impressive 289 feet. When I'm up close, it's hard to fit the entire length in my camera lens. So I began looking for someplace just downstream that I could perch with my tripod to capture it's full body.
|Such a pretty creek!|
I found a large mossy boulder in the middle of the creek that looked accessible. Gingerly, I inched across a crumbly side trail, and then over a few other questionable rocks, until I was able to clamber onto the boulder's wet slimy surface. I balanced up my tripod within the limited area and got to work.
|Looking downstream from splash pool|
Photographing waterfalls at close range is challenging. The larger the falls, the more spray and wind you have to contend with. I was constantly wiping droplets from my camera lens, and waiting for a break in the breeze to fire the shutter. But it's always worth it. I got a few photos to be proud of.
|Cliffside trail to Upper McCord Creek Falls|
After capturing enough images of Elowah to satisfy my desires, Bear and I headed back up the switchback-y trail. A half mile later, we reached a junction. Not yet done with today's waterfall expedition, I took the uphill path to check out Upper McCord Creek Falls.
|Bear's not so sure about this!|
It had been a few years since I'd visited this trail. So long that I'd almost forgotten what an amazing hike it is. Bear and I climbed until we reached a steep rock cliff. Here the trail consisted of a narrow ledge that had been blasted into the side. A metal handrail provided slim protection from the drop-off below. Bear wasn't so sure about walking by!
|Panoramic Gorge view|
But - oh the views! I could see eastward down the Columbia River and the Washington side of the Gorge.
|Top of Elowah Falls|
And glimpsed the very top of Elowah Falls.
|Upper McCord Creek Falls|
Finally, leaving the cliff area, a short ramble brought Bear and I to a killer view of Upper McCord Creek Falls.
|Lacy white curtains|
The 60-foot tall twin fans of Upper McCord Creek Falls are especially scenic. So is the mossy green canyon it resides in. The only place to view the entire thing was atop a precarious slope. I perched my tripod and my body atop a steep, bushy sidehill and did my best to capture this lovely double cascade.
|Heading back across the cliff face|
After getting a few decent images of waterfall number two, I packed my gear and headed back to the car. Passing the cliffside trail section for a second time was no less dramatic, and I had to get just a few more shots of the wonderful view below.
|Old rusted water pipe across the trail|
A large rusting water pipe emerges from the ground at one point along the trail. In my haste to reach the falls, I neglected to get a photo on the way up.
|This pipe has seen better days|
During the return trip, I made sure to get a few shots of this interesting object. Not something you usually see in the middle of a trail!
|Mossy wooden water tank at trailhead|
Near the trailhead parking area is a large wooden water tank. I'm not sure what it's used for (or if it's still used at all) but I'm assuming it connects to the rusting pipe I discovered higher up the trail. If nothing else, this mossy tank makes a great photo subject. Even though rain had begun to fall, I stopped and set up my camera for one last photo shoot.
|It's springing a leak!|
It was still early, and I'd planned to visit neighboring Wahclella Falls that same afternoon. But the rain began falling fast and furious, and by the time I'd finished photographing the wooden tank, both me and my dog were soaking wet. Bear jumped into the back of my car before I could even dry him off, and refused to get back out. It was his way of saying "let's go home."
Although rain forced an early retreat, I packed a lot of scenery into a short three mile trek. And it was great to pay a visit to my favorite Gorge cascade - the lovely Elowah Falls.
But wait, there's more! Part three of my grand waterfall tour will be coming your way soon. Don't miss it!
Sharing my dog's photo with Saturday's Critters and also joining Sweet Shot Tuesday.