|Nice trailhead sign|
Two weekends ago, all of western Oregon was being drenched by a "pineapple express" rainstorm. Unless I wanted to get soaked, hiking didn't look very probable. However, the weatherman predicted a break in the precip for Sunday afternoon. Being the optimist I am, I decided to sneak in a quick hike.
|The trail starts on a wide road|
The Gorge is full of wonderful trails to gorgeous waterfalls. Seeings as I had to keep the distance short, I opted to visit Wahclella Falls. A mere two-mile round trip, it fit the bill perfectly.
It had been many years since I'd visited Wahclella. There's so many amazing cascades in the Gorge, this one is easy to overlook. Tucked in a steep canyon, it often gets bypassed on the way to other trails.
|Tanner Creek surrounded by lots of green|
Leaving my house around noon, rain battered my windshield the entire drive. I was beginning to doubt the weatherman's forecast. But by the time I located a parking spot, the sky had dried up. What timing!
|The trail began to narrow|
The trail began on a wide road paralleling lovely Tanner Creek. The water was high and fast-moving from the weekend's heavy rainfall. Everything on both banks was coated with a carpet of thick, bright green moss.
The creek was absolutely gorgeous. It captivated me and my camera from the very start. I kept stopping every couple of yards to capture yet another wonderful shot. It took quite a bit of time just to travel the first quarter mile.
Because this trail is so short, it's very popular. Families with kids, and other casual hikers made up most of the crowd. I was surprised to see so many people on a rainy February day.
|Getting closer to the falls|
I finally tore myself away from Tanner Creek's wonderful scenery, and hoofed it down the rest of the road. It ended at an intake dam for a nearby fish hatchery, and from that point transitioned to a normal trail. Still following the creek, I continued on.
|Small trickle from the cliffs|
The further I traveled down the trail, the higher and steeper the adjacent canyon became. I crossed a sturdy wooden footbridge with the gushing creek below. Recent heavy rains had created wispy waterfalls that trickled from high up the canyon walls.
|Wahclella Falls in sight!|
Not far beyond the bridge, I began to hear the telltale roar of a waterfall. Looking up ahead, I spied Wahclella's tiered cascade straight ahead. Squeezing between a slot in the canyon walls, it looked even better than I'd remembered. Why had I waited so long to return?
I snapped many photos from the creek bank. As there were many people hiking by, I had to patiently wait for the bridge to clear for many of my shots.
|Photo from the bridge|
Finally I moved up to the bridge closest to the falls. Perching my tripod on the narrow plank, I captured some great shots of the roaring cascade and churning creek directly below.
Wahclella Falls is two-tiered - a plunge falling through an upper slot, and a 60-foot tall lower cascade that fans into a thick horsetail.
|Churning water below|
I attempted to get some photos closer to Wahclella Falls, but the huge volume of water tumbling down the rocks created lots of spray. Constant mist in the air made it nearly impossible to get any photos. All mine ended up with water droplets on the lens. Today I had to be content with admiring this cascade from afar.
|Lovely Tanner Creek|
After enjoying a lengthy photo session, and a good conversation with another man also trying to photograph the falls, I finally packed up my tripod and headed back the way I came. Making one final stop on the way out, I captured some of my favorite images of Tanner Creek.
But the rain's return cut my photo session short, and I hightailed it for the car. Luckily, it wasn't far away, and I didn't get too wet.
Glad I was able to squeeze in a short hike on a rainy winter's weekend. It's nice to be back on the trail chasing waterfalls again!
Sharing with: Wednesday Around the World.