Wahclella Falls, Columbia Gorge

Wahclella Falls
Being ever spontaneous – when my 28-year-old son Ryan called at 1:30 in the afternoon and asked if I felt like going for a hike in the Gorge – I said, “Yes” even though I had a date at the theater that night and needed to shower and eat dinner before I left. He promised it would be a short trip.

Along Tanner Creek

So I’m here to tell you, it doesn’t take a whole day (or even a half day) to head out to the woods when you live 45 minutes from the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area. This particular hike was two miles roundtrip along Tanner Creek and our final reward, before heading back, was a dramatic waterfall that dropped 60-feet into a huge natural pool. Picture this: canyon, trees, waterfall, blue sky, creek and pool surrounded by rocks and boulders (some larger than a car).

Ryan loves waterfalls (something he acquired from me). I remember when he was two-years-old, hiking into the gorge in search of distant waterfalls. He could hike up to five miles, which astounded almost anyone we met on the trail. He was a little trooper. He also memorized all of the fall’s names and kept pictures of them like people collect baseball cards. One day I walked into the living room and he was creating the falls (with their distinctive shapes) by draping towels and blankets from the furniture. I’m pleased to say he doesn’t do that anymore.

Ryan at the base of Wahclella Falls

It’s fun to share a passion like searching for waterfalls. It’s especially rewarding to share it with my son because of the common thread it creates between us. And because it takes us into the wilds of Oregon. This was a hike we had never been on before and a falls we had never seen and I thought I had seen them all.

The Tanner Creek Trail follows Tanner Creek and gains about 300 feet in a little over a mile. On the way we passed Munra Falls next to a wooden bridge that was impressive in its own right. The path then follows a narrow tree-lined canyon for a while until it opens up at the falls into a grotto-type idyllic setting.

I was delighted with a variety of wildflowers, butterflies, birds, a refreshing stream and cooling mist from the falls. My boot split half way through the hike so I was limited in my climbing and exploring but thankfully it made it to the end, although we had to listen to the clap clapping where the glue didn’t hold and the sole separated. Reminder: buy better boots next time.

Beauty on the path

On the way home we stopped at Multnomah Falls Lodge for their famous ice cream cones. That place is always packed. We made a promise to come back here early morning before the crowds.

And, yes, I made it home in time to shower, eat at Mike’s Drive-in (yummy buffalo burgers) and arrive at the theater on time.

Way to pack in a day.

Ryan at Munra Falls


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Rachel Rausch Johnson
    Jul 14, 2011 @ 23:07:31

    Sounds like a perfectly planned day :-). Nice photos, too!


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