Friday, March 7, 2014

Oregon - Bridal Veil Falls, Multnomah Falls, Wahkeena Falls and Horsetail Falls

From Latourell Falls, we headed to the next waterfall along the Columbia Gorge Scenic Highway. Which is a great stretch of road. I think I would become very spoiled if I lived in Portland, since it's unfair to have a string of beautiful waterfalls along a short stretch of road that are incredibly easy to reach. We drove down the road and stopped at Bridal Veil Falls, which requires only a short walk down the hill to the creek and falls.


There used to be a large mill here that diverted water from the creek, effectively draining all of the water from the waterfall. The mill ceased operation in 1930, but you can still see remnants of it in a few places around the falls. This is the view of Bridal Veil Creek, from a bridge along the trail to the falls.


And a closer view of the base of the falls, taken while a light rain fell on us.


Our next stop was the mighty Multnomah Falls. This is the tallest waterfall in the state of Oregon, with a total height being somewhere around 620 feet. It is also claimed to be the second tallest continually flowing waterfall in the country, but waterfall people will debate you on that one. No matter what, it's an amazing waterfall to see in person.


The historic Benson Bridge, which was built in 1914 and stands above lower tier of the falls, was closed. Apparently someone or something dropped a massive boulder on it, punching a hole through the bridge. The Forest Service closed it until they can figure out how to repair it. I walked up the trail to the bridge to take a closer look. The hole in the bridge was big enough to swallow up a person, so I guess it was a good idea for them to block access.

It started pouring down rain while we were there, which combined with the considerable spray from the falls made photography a wee bit difficult. I bought an umbrella from the gift shop and feebly tried to block the rain (which didn't work. All I really accomplished was getting pictures that were partially obscured by a blurry umbrella). This is one view of the falls, taken when I just about gave up trying to battle the elements. What looks like an Instagram filter is really about a minute's worth of water on the polarizing filter.


From there we headed to yet another waterfall, Wahkeena Falls. The name Wahkeena is a native American word, meaning "most beautiful." The falls are 242 feet tall, and the creek bounces and plunges down the side of the mountain.


I walked up the steep paved trail that went up the hill to an old stone bridge that crossed the falls (it's about in the middle of the falls in the above picture). The spray from the falls soaked me and the camera, and none of the pictures turned out.

The next and final stop we made that day was Horsetail Falls. This is an incredibly easy waterfall to reach, since it's just about 30 feet away from the road. The 192 foot tall waterfall is aptly named since it does resemble a horsetail. But while it was easy to reach, it wasn't easy to photograph. The spray from the falls swept out like a curtain, quickly enveloping everything nearby (including my poor camera). I did manage this shot, in the one place that was safe from the mist and water (I think the tree was blocking it).


After that it was beginning to get dark so we headed back into Portland. I know we didn't see all of the waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge, but luckily we did have some free time later on in the trip to make a return visit.

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