Sunday, December 14, 2014

Another Waterfall Friday.....Continued

My last Friday off before foot surgery, the goal was to get in a few final trail miles.  After a great, rain-free visit to Tamanawas Falls, I was hoping the sky would stay dry long enough for a second hike.

Golden meadow

From Tamanawas Falls parking area, I drove a short distance up the highway to Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort.  Along the ski area's entrance road was a trailhead providing access to several paths into Mt. Hood National Forest.  One such trail led to lovely Umbrella Falls.

Tiny wooden bridge

While packing up for the day's second ramble, I could tell the weather was changing.  Overhead clouds appeared thicker and darker, the air heavy with humidity.  I'd have to hustle to beat the rain!  Just in case, I made sure I had my rain jacket, and plenty of plastic bags.

Lovely stairstepped Umbrella Falls

The path to Umbrella Falls climbed steadily for about a mile before flattening out into a pretty alpine meadow.  The grasses, now golden brown, made a fine contrast to adjacent green forests.  I passed lots of gnarly old firs with interesting shaped burls (many looked like butt cheeks!)

Close up of the tiers

Moving quickly, I hoped to arrive at Umbrella Falls before the rain hit. That meant photo stops were few and far between.  Although the trail stuck mostly to heavily treed forests, passing through one clearing, I thought I felt raindrops.  Diving back into the woods, dense branches blocked any precip, and I rationalized it was all in my head.  It wasn't until I popped out into another meadow and felt pitter-patters on my jacket that I realized the rain had already won this race.

Creek crossing

At that point, I knew the falls weren't far, and decided to continue my trek.  The rainfall wasn't very heavy, and thanks to thick fir branches covering the trail, I stayed dry most of the way.  I'd almost arrived at my destination when Mother Nature decided to let loose.

Fall colors and moving water

What timing!  I arrived at Umbrella Falls to a downpour.  Luckily two large fir trees at the fall's base provided a nice shield from the deluge.  Stowing my backpack safely under their branches, I set up my tripod and got to work.

Creek under the bridge

Throughout the hike in, I was disappointed by the lack of fall color in the woods and meadows.  But arriving at Umbrella Falls, I hit the jackpot.  Both sides of the waterfall were covered with multi-hued huckleberry bushes, in vibrant yellows, reds, and oranges.  Downstream, gold and yellow foliage brightened the adjacent forest.  Wowza!

Amazing fall colors

And then there was Umbrella Falls herself.  Oh what a gorgeous cascade!  Water sheeted down tiered rock formations, like a lacy bridal gown.

Wonderful white streams

Heavy rain made photography difficult.  If I ventured out from under the tree's protective branches, my camera got drenched.  I tried covering things with my raincoat, but it was hard to operate the shutter.  I ended up mostly cowering under the trees, with short forays into the forest, where I'd snap a couple of pics, and dash back under cover to dry out the camera.

Technicolor woods

But with such a fabulous scenery, I wasn't giving up easily.  Despite the rain, I kept trying anyway.  For every good image, I got five others that were rain-speckled.  But persistence paid off, and when I finally decided to quit, my memory card was almost full.

Umbrella Falls surrounded by spectacular color

I've visited Umbrella Falls plenty of times in the summer, but this was the first I'd ever seen it in the fall.  If the leaf colors are always this fantastic, I think an autumn trip here will become a new tradition. 

Hiking back through Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort

Finally, wet and cold, I knew it was time to head back.  I stripped off my soaking wet soft shell and replaced it with a dry insulating layer and my rainjacket.  Then I made sure everything inside my backpack was stored in plastic (ziplock bags for my phone, wallet, and camera, and a large garbage bag for everything else)  People often ask why I carry such a large backpack.  It's times like these I'm thankful to have extra clothes and gear.

One of my favorite ski runs

Valuables stowed, and dressed in rain gear, I headed down the trail.  I had a choice of taking the same trail back to my car, or exploring a loop that circled through Mt. Hood Meadows ski area.  Deciding I was as protected from the weather as possible, I opted for the loop.

Rain aftermath

I've never had so much fun hiking in the rain!  The return trip was an absolute delight.  I splashed through puddles, slid in the mud.  Rain-saturated light made fall colors pop, and the scenery was outstanding.  Trekking through the ski area boundary, I enjoyed seeing some of my favorite runs without snow.

In the midst of the final leg, I soberly realized this would be my last hike for several weeks.  Resolving to enjoy these final miles to their fullest, I happily tromped along, breathing fir-scented air, and lingering over beautiful wooded scenery.  As if on cue, the bunion in my right foot began to throb, affirming that my upcoming surgery was indeed the right decision.

Wet hike today

I arrived at my car, soaking wet, but happy as a clam.  Changing into dry clothes, I drove all the way home in a torrential downpour.  Although the rain didn't hold off for my second hike, I felt pretty badass for sticking it out anyway.  Amazing photos of Umbrella Falls, and a fun return trip through the rain were the rewards.

Stats:  4.6 miles, 800 feet elevation gain

P.S.  To my readers:  I think I have the comment verification thingy fixed.  Thanks to great advice from Mersad, (changing the comment preferences to "embedded") I was able to eliminate it.  Hopefully none of you will have further problems commenting, but if you do, please email me.  My email address is in the "contact me" section of my profile.

Sharing with:  Weekly Top Shot and Our World Tuesday.


  1. Linda, you know I am loving this series!!! :)

  2. Some splendid pictures despite the rain. Umbrella Falls? There seems to be a meteorological clue in the name.

  3. This is another fine walk you have taken me on.

  4. Linda, you are amazing.. a real trooper hiking in the rain.. I do love the scenery and the gorgeous waterfalls. I am sure seeing them made the wet hike worth it.. Awesome photos.. Have a happy week!

  5. Stunning images as always, Linda! The rain wasn't fun to contend with, but the images you got out of this day sure made it worth all the trouble.

  6. Amazing pictures for heavy rain, great colours and a beautiful waterfall! Hope the recent memories are carrying you through! I'm getting tired of wet rainy weather here. I'd rather have actual winter.

  7. You certainly made the best use of your hiking time in the last few weeks before your surgery! I hope your foot is healing well!

  8. All wonderful nature photos ~ especially the waterfall shots! Wow! ~ Wishing you a speedy recovery from foot surgery ~

    Happy Week to you,
    artmusedog and carol

  9. Lovely as always. You sure have some beautiful waterfalls out west.

  10. So pretty! I'm sure you'll be hiking up a storm (in a storm?) soon!

  11. Great hike. Good luck with your surgery!

  12. Amazing scenery and wonderful fall colors. Thanks for sharing the hike with us. I hope your foot surgery goes well and heals quickly. btw not sure I would enjoy hiking in the rain like that but I certainly enjoy swimming in the rain! Climate makes a difference.

  13. gorgeous waterfall and beautiful colors around..

  14. What a great hike! Your water shots are awesome and that little bridge is so cute!

  15. Hi! The autumn leaf colors are very beautiful. The fall photos are very nice. The name of Umbrella Falls is very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Looks like it's till fall there- I'm jealous

  17. A beautiful falls. This time of year we have to take everything with a bit of rain. - Margy

  18. I enjoyed your post a lot. I'd like to see Umbrella Falls one day. Best wishes on your surgery.

  19. Nice post. I used to live in the NW of England - and if you did not find a way to enjoy walks in the rain, you missed out on a lot of days!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  20. Dearest Linda; Oh, another waterfall photos with great captures♡♡♡ I wish we had thesebeautiful nature close by :-) You sure know how to enjoy walk even in the rain.

    Sending Lots of Love and Hugs from Japan, xoxo Miyako*

  21. Beautiful photos and the place looks straight out of a fairy tale book!

    I am inviting you to join my giveaway for a beautiful, silver heart locket! Details on my blog!

    Happy Holidays!

  22. That waterfall and your photos are stunning! I hope your foot is healing! :)

  23. Oh those Falls are majestic alright . Your photography is all beautiful!

  24. First off I hope your foot surgery goes well. I've been to Timberline Lodge many times and to Trillium Lake a couple of times. Beautiful country and beautiful photos. Tom The Backroads Traveller

  25. Far Side of Fifty, whom I have followed for ages, sent me over here thinking we have a whole lot in common. I'm a hiker and outdoors person, too. And I love to take pictures, but mine are nowhere near the quality of yours. They are just fun and right now I'm only using my iPhone for pictures and they are just fine. Come over and say hello if you want. I just signed up to follow you by email. :-)

  26. I almost missed your follow up post. I thought I had come back and read it but didn't. glad I double checked. '

    love the waterfall images. You should carry and umbie too. It would help to keep the rain off also.

    Hope your foot is healing real fast.

  27. Wow, these waterfalls are even more stunning than the ones in the earlier post.

  28. Linda,
    Stopping by to see how you are, and I can see very productive and very busy!
    Beautiful photos, stunning in fact.
    Merry Christmas,


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