Sunday, March 20, 2016

Waterfallling


Over the past month or so, I’ve become slightly (okay, very) obsessed with finding waterfalls. Adding fuel to this obsession was the discovery of a waterfall database listing hundreds of waterfalls in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. Fortunately, at least I think so, many of them are located within an hour of home. The way the database is arranged, it’s possible to find several waterfalls within a radius of less than 10 miles of each other. Yesterday, I took my list with directions from both Google maps and the database and headed out. First on the list was Camp Benson Falls. For this one, I parked on a dirt side road and made my way uphill (naturally) to a clearing where huge power lines towered overhead. The directions said to follow the end of this power line “road” where it intersected with Summit Creek. And, a brief half mile from my car, there it was. 
Camp Benson Falls
Heading to Lindsey Creek Falls


The instructions also said it was possible to make one’s way down to the base of the falls “but be careful, it’s very steep so use both hands.” It wasn’t the steep part that bothered me, it was the thorny blackberry bushes. I had to make do with scouting out along the top of the valley and taking a shot from less than 1/8 of the way down. 
Then it was on to Summit Creek Falls. The instructions for this one sounded easy enough: “bushwhack upstream for 500 feet.” Sounds simple, except that since the time these directions were written, there have been a few obstacles added in the way of fallen trees, rock slides, etc. It wasn’t that bad, but during that 500 feet I had to cross the creek several times and crawl across a log to get a clear shot. It was slightly easier going back since I knew what to expect. By this time though, I was thinking I probably wouldn’t want to stop at the grocery store on my way home. I had various muddy spots on my pants and I won't go into what my shoes looked like, and did I mention the twigs in my hair?



Summit Creek Falls
Then it was on to Lindsey Creek Falls. This one was tougher. From the trip reports I found online the next day, there used to be fairly easy access along the creek back to the falls, but after a big winter storm, the going become much rougher with downed trees and scrub making a boot path into an obstacle course. On the bright side, I didn’t have to worry about any people getting in the way of my shot and could take my time.

Next, I tried to find Harrison Falls. Unfortunately, there is construction going on on this section of the highway and the pullout where I was to park is currently a parking lot for all kinds of earthmoving equipment. I tried finding it by hiking down Lindsey Creek, but I’ll just say that after encountering lots of branches covered by some kind of passion vine and moss, not to mention another kind of thorny plant, it made for slow going, scratched arms, and I decided to save that one for another day. 

Lindsey Creek Falls
The next falls on the list were all located off the Mt. Defiance trail a few miles up the road at StarvationCreek State Park. Don’t worry, nobody starved here. It was named this after a train was stopped by snow drifts and the passengers had to dig their way out. No doubt there were several overly dramatic passengers on board who came up with the name. Starvation Creek Falls is quite civilized, with a trail leading right up to and no bushwhacking involved. Next, it was down the Mt. Defiance trail to Cabin Creek Falls, also fairly tame, and then to Hole in the Wall Falls. The name for this falls came about when in 1938 Warren Creek was diverted so as not to wash out the Columbia River Highway. If you look closely, you can see how the falls appears to come out of a cave.  



The "path" up Lindsey Creek
Unknowingly, I had saved the best for last. Lancaster Falls is found about 1/3 of a mile along the trail. From below, it looks like your run of the mill falls, but, with a bit of effort, the real show can be found above. There’s a scramble path going up and around the east side of the falls, and I was happy to see when I reached my destination that it was worth all the effort. It was rather humorous though when I descended practically at the feet of a rather surprised looking couple meandering along the trail. Apparently they aren’t accustomed to random hikers scrambling down hillsides and saying hello. I had one more falls on my list, but by this time my hands and knees (not to mention my posterior where I slipped and fell on a rock) were talking to me and I decided to come back. I figured the other falls will still be there in a week or so.


Starvation Creek Falls

Cabin Creek Falls
Lancaster Falls








Hole in the Wall Falls

2 comments:

  1. Great dis ription a day photos .Is the goal to make a picture inventory of all the fall in OR?

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    1. Thanks for your comment. I'd love to do all of them but there are hundreds. My goal is the falls in the gorge and maybe near the coast. :-)

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