(WARNING.....photo overload ahead!)
|Backlit mossy tree|
Yes, I continue to mess with the seasons - there's still a few autumn hikes to share. Last November, taking advantage of a Friday off work, I decided to visit the most popular trail in the Columbia River Gorge, the Eagle Creek Trail.
|Leaves, leaves everywhere!|
I've hiked this trail numerous times, and blogged about it almost yearly. This crown jewel pathway follows the fabulously scenic Eagle Creek, up a narrow cliff-lined gorge, past several lovely waterfalls. The foliage is always lush and green, whether it be spring greenery or winter moss.
|No leaves on trees, but lots of moss!|
But in my opinion, fall is the best season to explore Eagle Creek. In early November, the leaves display magnificent golds, oranges, and yellows.
Lack of tree foliage highlights the thick moss that carpets everything.
|Tiny cascade from the cliff|
Although rain was forecast the day of my visit, I decided to go anyway. Hiking in the rain is better than sitting home doing chores!
|Ferns change color too|
Besides, autumn hues photograph better in overcast light.
|Not many leaves left on the trees|
From the trailhead, I followed a wide, rocky path that paralleled rushing Eagle Creek. But it didn't take long for the trail to diverge from the water's banks, steadily climbing a shelf blasted into the steep canyon walls.
|Tall rocky cliff|
As expected, fall colors were stunning. Although a bit past prime, there was still plenty of beauty to photograph. And photograph I did.
|The trail hugs the cliff edge|
Whether it was the last yellow leaves clinging to a tree, or the tall, mossy cliff faces towering above the forest, my camera found images to record.
In some places, golden leaves created a magical tunnel through the forest.
|Loved this old, gnarly branch|
And gnarled, mossy tree branches stretched downward like an old man's hand.
A mile and half down the trail, I came upon the first waterfall, delicate Metlako Falls. This cascade can only be viewed from a distant viewpoint. Thank goodness for zoom lenses!
|The bridge before it got taken out|
Further down the trail, past Punchbowl Falls (due to thick foliage I wasn't able to get a decent photo, sorry!) I crossed the first sturdy footbridge spanning the deep canyon. Little did I know that a month later, this bridge would be wiped out in a fierce December windstorm, rendering the trail impassable.
|White, churning water|
Crossing the bridge provided great views of the creek, far below.
Past the bridge, the forest thickened, and the splashes of color became more numerous. Such a magical place!
|Another trailside cascade|
Small waterfalls dripped down the adjacent rocky walls.
Although I'd escaped the predicted moisture thus far, as I was passing by Loowit Falls, my luck ran out. Fat raindrops began to patter the ground.
|Looking down on Eagle Creek|
Time to turn around! I'd traveled about 3.5 miles in - enough for a respectable day's ramble. And the good thing about out and back hikes? I'd see all this spectacular scenery a second time.
|Hang onto the cable|
One of the unique features of the Eagle Creek Trail are the stretches that have been created by blasting a shelf into rocky cliff walls. This narrow ledge leads visitors through some of the steeper canyons. To help timid hikers, there's cable handrails to cling onto.
|Last of the leaves|
Yes, it looks precarious in places, but I love the views from this lofty vantage.
About this time, the rain began in earnest. I packed my camera away, and quickened the pace.
|Looking downriver at a waterfall|
But wonderful scenes such as these kept appearing around corners, tempting me to expose my camera to the elements.
Rain or no rain, some things are just meant to be photographed.
|Leaf and cable|
Like this stray leaf clinging to a handrail cable.
|Foggy return trip|
Closer in to the trailhead, an eerie fog began to drift in the canyon.
Between the fog, and dramatic tall, drippy cliff faces, I'm afraid my poor camera got a dousing!
|Rain and fog|
But I captured so many great images, it was totally worth it. It was difficult to decide which ones to include in this post! (The reason for my earlier photo overload warning) And no worries - my camera got a good wipe down once I reached the car.
|Creek scene near trailhead|
A fabulous way to spend a rainy, fall day!
Some of my other Eagle Creek posts can be found here and also here.
Sharing with: Through My Lens