Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hiking Wahkeena & Fairy falls trail

I had the day off Monday so after a lazy morning around the house I headed out to the Columbia River Gorge for some much needed hiking. Photography wasn't my focus so I just packed my day pack with the ol Nikon D200, some filters and of course an extra battery. I knew waterfalls were in the mix so my trusty tripod was a must.

I ended up at Wahkeena Falls parking lot where I had photographed a few times but had never hiked the trail. That was good enough reason for me and off I went. There were a dozen cars or so in the parking lot but only a few people. This really is a great time in the gorge, few tourists and very light traffic.

Stopping at the bottom of the waterfall I took a few photos and continued up the trail. A bit further up is where it gets really interesting, lots of switchbacks and nearly 1100ft of elevation gain in about a mile! Felt more like climbing up the face of the gorge than hiking but it really is a nicely graded trail that most anyone can hike.

Upon coming around the point just above Wahkeena Falls there's a nice viewpoint but unfortunately you really can't see the waterfall. The trail and creek climb steeply from this point and make for a spectacular view all along the trail. Up the trail a few more switchbacks you come to Fairy Falls (shown right). This is a really nice little waterfall and other than the difficult hike, it's one of the best I've found for model shoots. Further up the trail there's a turnoff to a view point which is on my list for the next time I'm up there. The main trail continues up about as far as you'd like to go, essentially to Larch mountain and beyond. Nearing the top I was running short on daylight so that's about all there was to this day.

It's a great hike but one best shared with your favorite hiking partner, unfortunately mine wasn't there but then she wasn't there to harass me either! ;-)

I plan to make this hike many more times and once the snow is at least a foot deep I'll pack up all my photo gear for what should be some fantastic photos in the canyon above the waterfall.

Ok, I'm done rambling for another day...

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