Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Wahclella Falls in the Columbia River Gorge

It’s Tuesday evening, the end of our weekend – back to work tomorrow.  It is deep dusk outside, with just a hint of light silhouetting the mountains to the west.  Odel is snoozing, Luna is bathing industriously, and I want to get our latest waterfall photos on the blog before I head to bed. 

We headed out just before 10 am yesterday for a full day: a trip to Trader Joes, to Petsmart, and to Costco, preceded by two hikes and three waterfalls.  The sky was overcast, even here in Hood River – and a few light drops of rain smeared the windshield as we approached our first hike, Wahclella Falls (exit 40 from I-84, then south to the trailhead).  Acting as if we were native Oregonians, we put on our rain jackets and headed off up the trail.

We’re glad we did!  I raved recently about Punchbowl Falls – Wahclella is every bit as beautiful (Odel liked it even better).  The hike was gorgeous, a bit over 2 miles round-trip, quite easy, with bridges to cross and creek side gardens to admire.  It was a wonderful beginning to our day.

Our next hike was further west in the gorge, Latourell Falls.  We had stopped at the lower falls (visible from the Historic Columbia River Highway) when my parents visited last month, but hadn’t hiked the two mile loop that includes the upper falls.  We made up for that yesterday.

Lower Latourell Falls (left) and upper Latourell Falls (right)

The lower, easily accessible falls is quite high and impressive.  The unmarked trail to the upper falls (no sign to indicate that another falls exists) climbs steadily, weaving through an impressive forest of huge trees with few views out to the Gorge.  It was warm and incredibly humid – I had sweat popping out of every pore by the time we arrived at the upper falls.  Standing in the cooling spray was a nice reward. 

Although beautiful, neither the trail nor the falls impressed us as much as Wahclella Falls or Punchbowl Falls – but the location of Latourell Falls, close to famous and overrun Multnomah Falls, attracts way more visitors. 

By the time we left Latourell, it was 1:30 and we hadn’t had lunch yet.  We found Trader Joe’s, zipped through our shopping (mostly stocking up on wine), then gratefully took a table in the neighboring Panera Bread shop for lunch. 

Luna sleeping in the sun on her favorite rock I would have been happy to skip Petsmart, but Luna was counting on us for her favorite dry food – and it was between Trader Joe’s and Costco, so that was the next stop.  On to Costco, which was jammed!  By the time we were done there, I couldn’t wait to get home.

After we dragged in all of our purchases, I heated up a stew I had made on Sunday.  It felt very, very good to be sitting down at home!

This morning, we read (on their blog, Living Our Dream) the bad news our friends (and temporary neighbors) Joann and Doug had received about the results of Doug’s recent PSA test – it has doubled, a very troubling result.  We immediately walked over to their rig to get the lowdown.  They were considering several travel options, but a final decision has to wait until they can talk to Doug’s doctors – so it was a frustrating day of indecision for them.  They pulled out of our gate in the early afternoon, heading along the course they had previously charted.  Their spot looked mighty empty this evening.


  1. Those falls were pretty, but I got tired just reading your blog. You guys sure have a lot of energy.

  2. While you were at exit 40, you shoulda turned north for a short way and visited Bonneville Dam. We are volunteering there for the summer and would have enjoyed seeing you.

    Ken and Fran