Go hiking, of course!
Hey, I live in Oregon. Newsflash - it rains here. I wasn't about to let a little precip keep me indoors. Wanting to test my newly-healed foot, I decided to try a hike with some moderate elevation gain. And....if it also included waterfalls, so much the better!
The Wahkeena Trail to Multnomah Falls is one of my favorite Gorge hikes. A 5.5 mile loop with 1600 feet of elevation gain, it fit nicely into my "get the foot back in hiking shape" plan.
|Fairy Falls wide-angle view|
It poured all day Saturday, and throughout Sunday morning. Although the wet stuff appeared to be tapering off in time for my planned Sunday afternoon hike, I didn't want to take chances with my expensive DSLR (aka "Big Girl") camera. A trek in the rain? This looked like a job for my weather-sealed GoPro camera!
|Columbia River peeps through the trees|
Yep, I set out on a hike without my trusty "Big Girl" camera. Something I hardly ever do, it felt as though a vital piece of gear was missing as I suited up at the trailhead.
But I had my GoPro. Not only did it take amazing videos, it was also capable of super wide-angle photographs. I looked forward to capturing entire waterfalls in one frame. But as I climbed the trail to its first waterfall, a fat, gushing Wahkeena Falls, my battery indicator flashed red. I'd forgotten to charge it the night before. D'oh!
A hike without photos? Nooooo!! Then, I remembered my cell phone. I'd recently upgraded, and my new phone was supposed to have a pretty good camera. Because I preferred to use my "real" cameras, I hadn't ever bothered trying the one on my phone. Well....today it would be called into service.
|Mossy branches overhang the trail|
Switching off the GoPro's screen, I dug through my backpack and fished out my phone. I was delighted to discover, not only did the phone take decent shots, it also recorded video. I captured a quick clip of Wahkeena Falls just to try it out.
|Of course a trail sign photo!|
Happy I'd be able to document my hike after all, I started my climb, switchbacking through the thick, mossy forest. Although the weekend's heavy rain had swollen nearby creeks and waterfalls, no water fell from the sky.
I continued uphill, and took a short photo break at Fairy Falls, a delicate fan-shaped cascade. Discovering a tiny bit of juice in the GoPro, I shot a quick couple wide-angle images of Fairy Falls in its mossy amphitheater.
From Fairy Falls, my climb continued. The forest thinned out and briefly gave a few glimpses of the Columbia River far below. Then it dived back into the woods, where I discovered some lovely white trilliums blooming. First ones of the spring!
Finally, I topped out on a ridge, and followed it away from the Wahkeena Falls basin towards Multnomah Creek. After a half mile, the trail began to wind down to Multnomah Creek. One of my favorite parts of this hike, I love the thick mossy trees here, and the views of white rushing waters as the trail descends. It intersected with the Larch Mountain trail, which then followed Multnomah Creek.
|Mossy branches everywhere|
Walking along Multnomah Creek was a delight. Swollen by the weekend rainfall, it churned mightily. I passed by two waterfalls, the first unnamed (at least to me). The narrow trail came very close to the top of the first cascade - so near I hugged the opposite bank to avoid slipping into it's raging waters. But I did whip out my phone and capture a video of this incredible sight. It's not every day you hike next to the top of a waterfall!
The trail gave hikers a little bit more space between the second waterfall. This one, named Wiesendanger Falls, was churning mightily as I traveled by. Downriver, the forest opened up, giving visitors better photographic opportunities.
The creek was really ripping through here. It dashed over boulders and fallen trees, creating huge pockets of whitewater. I tried to take more video but it didn't come close to capturing the experience of seeing it in person.
|My trail passed by a rocky overhang|
I passed by a rocky cliff overhanging the trail, where I discovered a plaque commemorating Wiesendanger Falls' namesake. Past this rock face, was a cute mossy grotto, where the creek roared under a rock arch bridge. Then, reaching the top of the Multnomah Falls, there was no place to go but down.
|Plaque on the rock wall|
And down I went! Eleven switchbacks descend from Multnomah Falls' top to its base. As I trekked down this steep path, I began to encounter hordes of people.
Multnomah Falls is the grand dame of the Columbia River Gorge waterfalls. Tumbling down 542 feet in two tiers, this gorgeous cascade attracts visitors by the thousands. By the time I'd reached the Benson Bridge, suspended between the upper and lower falls, I was caught in a swarm of humanity. Even crummy weather doesn't stop people from visiting.
|Misty Benson Bridge|
The sheer volume of water tumbling over Multnomah Falls created some impressive spray. It felt as if it was raining. Hoping to milk the last of its battery juice, I turned on my GoPro for one final video. It's waterproof case was tailor made for the occasion. Although I had to keep wiping droplets from the lens, I was able to get some decent footage.
So that's the story of how I survived a hike armed with only a low-battery GoPro and my cell phone camera. Although not up to my usual standards, I was able to get enough decent shots to complete a blog post (and hopefully entertain my readers!). As the saying goes, the best camera is the one you have with you.
And my foot? It did fantastic! I'm so happy to be back hiking again.
Sharing with: Scenic Weekends and Weekly Top Shot.