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Monday, April 15, 2013

February 10, 2013

Breaking in our new hiking buddy Leyla, we headed towards the Dalles catching waterfalls along the way.  Our first stop was Camp Benson Falls.  Along the path we got a pretty view.

When we got there, we took some time to take in the view.  Leyla took in the breeze.
#48  Camp Benson Falls  (off-trail ~ moderate access)
Continuing along we headed off to our next stop, Harrison Falls.  I wasn't feeling 100% today and my balance was off making it a little tricky getting up the slope to get this shot.  The view was worth it though.
#49  Harrison Falls  (off-trail ~ moderate access)
Not wasting any time we went to starvation creek for the next set of waterfalls.  Cabin Creek Falls is unique because it's sits behind a rather large rock outcropping.  Which does make getting a good shot a bit challenging.
#50  Cabin Creek Falls  (trail ~ easy access)

Heading down the trail I grabbed a picture of an ant hill that just keeps getting bigger every year.

Eventually we got Hole-in-the-Wall Falls.  The creek originally dropped at a different location and was called Warren Falls.  Sadly it was moved creating this new waterfall.  Grabbed a quick picture of the three of us before continuing on.
#51  Hole-in-the-Wall Falls   (trail ~ easy access)

Back at the parking lot to Starvation Creek we headed up to the falls.  Unfortunately wasn't my day for scrambling, so I grabbed a lower shot.  Thankfully Timothy doesn't have those days and grabbed a better shot.

#52  Starvation Creek Falls  (trail ~ easy access)
Starvation Creek Falls   (off-trail ~ moderate access)
After driving for a short distance we came up on a waterfall behind a hotel.  It's too bad we can't get a shot from the bottom.
#53  Wah Gwin Gwin Falls  (trail ~ easy access)
Leyla grabbed a picture of us, we look quite small in comparison.  I got a picture of her on the bridge.

Back in the car onward we went.  Next stop we hiked past a cemetery and came to Mosier Falls.  Resting up we had lunch in the cemetery.  Since it was a chilly day we enjoyed basking in the sunlight.
#54  Mosier Falls  (trail ~ moderate access)

On the way to see last fall on the Oregon side we stopped to take a few pictures at Mosier's Totem.  There were some interesting bugs that were warming in the sunlight.  Got a silly picture of Leyla before carrying on.

Finishing up on the Oregon side we grabbed a shot of Cushing Falls.
#55  Cushing Falls  (off-trail ~ easy access)
Crossing over the Dalles bridge we started in on the Washington side.  First stop was Eight Mile Creek Falls.  I'm usually good about making sure our discovery pass is up to date, unfortunately I found it was a day late.  Considering we were all the way out there we put the pass up and rushed to grab the shot.
#56  Eight Mile Creek Falls  (off-trail ~ moderate access)
Looking back at the road I took in the view.  Strangely we noticed ancient pictographs... wonder what they mean.  The landscape was really pretty so I had to get another picture.

Luckily when we got back to the car there was no ticket.  With the sun getting low we pressed on.

Just up an old road was the first waterfall.  Last year the fall was dried up, so it was nice to see a good flow this year.  Leyla liked the waterfall.
#57  Lower Labyrinth Falls  (trail ~ easy access)

After a little hike we came up on Labyrinth Falls, makes sense they call it that because the trails are like a labyrinth.  The falls was slightly tucked away, but still got an ok shot of it.  Standing on a rock ledge Timothy has a way of finding interesting ways to get the shot he wants.
#58  Labyrinth Falls  (trail ~ moderate access)

Of course Timothy also has an eye for catching caves and a need for checking them out.  Lucky for him no animal decided to take a nip at him.

On our way back we noticed a strange rock.  Can you see the face?  With the sunset at our back we worked our way to the car.

I can't help myself from taking a million pictures, so I had to get another shot of Lower Labyrinth Falls.  Finishing up with Leyla kissing the day away.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

February 2, 2013

Last year I learned a great deal about myself when I did Ruckel Creek.  This year Ruckel Creek just proved how far I've come as a waterfall hunter/hiker.  The day started off rather chilly, but at least the sun was out.

Mist Falls (left)  & Dalton Falls (right)

With the frost in the air Timothy and I decided that an extra layer sounded like a great idea.  We started off hiking down the old Historic Highway trail.  There were some fresh rocks from the winter storms that still resided on the old road.

Upon reaching Ruckel Creek we took a trail part way before venturing off-trail.  By this point we were starting to realize the extra layer wasn't needed.  Didn't take long before we started the difficult part.  Walking across matted down frozen grass wasn't very appealing however Timothy was nice enough to hold my hand.  Continuing on here and there we able followed old game trails through the bushes.

After a bit of work we got to Middle Ruckel Creek Falls and took in the view.  This made number forty-four for the year, same as last year however we didn't get to it until April 22nd back then.
#44  Middle Ruckel Creek Falls  (bushwhack ~ difficult access)
Unfortunately with the rather recent rains, the chute we needed to go up was quite muddy.  One of the winter storms had loosened all the rocks.  That meant that five-foot boulders that we needed to climb over were trying to slide out from under us.  It was quite tricky to navigate our way up without pushing a boulder onto each others heads.  I highly don't recommend the experience.

The next part wasn't much fun.  In fact it was the main factor as to why we tried to take a different way back last year, although that didn't pan out so well.  There is a tiny ledge you can walk across, but I shudder every time I think about doing it.  One wrong step and you go down sliding or rolling on top of rocks all the way to the bottom.  Definitely isn't a place to be a showoff.  Timothy was quite the gentleman and walked me through it step by step as I trembled along.

I was quite glad when we got past that part.  Pursuing on we continued through the bushes until we finally reached Upper Ruckel Creek Falls.  Again this made number forty-five just like last year.  Somehow we managed to find a chipmunk to take a picture of us.
#45  Upper Ruckel Creek Falls  (bushwhack ~ difficult access)

After taking in the moment we turned to head back to the road.  Looking down I caught a glimpse of the log we used last year to cross before we mistakenly went up a nearly vertical hillside 1800 feet straight up to the official trail.

Knowing this we went back to the tiny rock ledge, with my insides grumbling all the way. Thankfully, Timothy managed to get me down in one piece and we carefully worked together to navigated the muddy chute.  Onward we went and I grabbed a picture of Timothy as he climbed up towards a seasonal fall to pick up a water bottle dropped by some other explorer.

Back across the matted grass, the frost had melted by now however I still didn't like the view.  Pretty much it's a big slide to the top of trees.

Pressing on we got to the next downward trickiness.  Wasn't very exciting trying not to slide out on this one as well.  Although at least this slide had things I could grab onto.

Eventually we got to Mossy Grotto Falls, even though it's smaller the area was quite serene.
#46  Mossy Grotto Falls  (bushwhack ~ moderate access)
Luckily for us we discovered that we took the hard way down to the falls, which meant getting back to the road was a lot easier.  Considering how much hiking we'd done so far, a shortcut was greatly appreciated.  Finishing up the day we grabbed the last shot of Ruckel Creek Falls.
#47  Ruckel Creek Falls  (off-trail ~ easy access)
On the drive home I grabbed a quick pictures of Mist Falls since the day  melted the ice and it was flowing again.  Only in the Northwest could a waterfall change in just a few hours.  I grabbed another picture of Dalton Falls before putting the camera away for another day.
Mist Falls
Dalton Falls