Day 5/6 – Part 1/2

Columbia River Gorge

Yesterday evening I have been scanning 127 waterfalls up to 01:00. This morning I start with a standard sequence of waterfalls here on a historical route along the Columbia river. Most of them I have seen before, but it’s nice to visit them again.

The first one is Breidal Veil Falls, not so easy to photograph because there is very little space and there are a lot of things obscuring it from view.

Breidal Veil Falls, Columbia River Gorge Natural Scenic Area, Oregon

The next one is Multnomah Falls, probably the most famous one here. I’m a bit later than anticipated and expected many people on the bridge, but luckily that’s not the case. Sometimes I have to wait a little when some people are there but most of the time nobody is there.

Multnomah Falls, Columbia River Gorge Natural Scenic Area, Oregon

There are many compositions possible here. Because there is a lot of wind and the waterfall is quite high, the falling water sweeps from left to right and back. Sometimes it comes down as a straight narrow stream and at other times as a wide fan going all the way to left or right. The same composition can thus result in completely different photographs. These are the finest.

Multnomah Falls, Columbia River Gorge Natural Scenic Area, Oregon

I have to play a bit with timing to get the best rendering of the water.

Multnomah Falls, Columbia River Gorge Natural Scenic Area, Oregon

I should have used a calibration card. That simplifies things quite a lot to make sure that all the photographs have the same white balance. Now it’s a lot of work and almost impossible to get right. This one for instance is quite cool while the first one is a whole lot warmer. The others are in between. But at the same time it’s fine like this.

Multnomah Falls, Columbia River Gorge Natural Scenic Area, Oregon

In the visitor center, I find a map and notice that I have skipped one, Latourell Falls. From there you can also continue to Larch Mountain for a nice overview. Have to get back.

Latourell Falls proves very difficult to photograph because of all the trees that are in front of it. There is a trail upwards to the top of the waterfall. Maybe that offers some possibilities. It continues even further to Upper Latourell Falls. I don’t have that one on my list, but I can’t remember whether I left if on purpose or not. It’s only 1 mile to get there and maybe I find a better viewpoint for Latourell. So, let’s go.

Soon after I end up at the top of Latourell Falls but I can’t find a better viewpoint. Curious for the other one, I continue on the trail. That goes up steadily and after a while I start wondering whether or not it’s worth it. Can’t I better return to the car to visit the other waterfalls? The trail keeps ascending and I wonder how far I still have to go. Can’t be that far but I have had that same thought a while ago.

Going back now means that the climb has been for nothing while the waterfall might be around the next corner. So, I just have to continue, I have to be sure that I have walked more than 1 mile. If I do not find it, then something has gone wrong and it’s better to return.

Not long after I find it and at first it’s a bit disappointing. After a while though, I have found quite a nice composition. The colored mud at the bottom right balances the dark overhang. luckily I didn’t do that climb for nothing.

Upper Latourell, Columbia River Gorge Natural Scenic Area, Oregon

I think I have seen on the map that this trail is actually a loop going back to the parking lot. As long as I follow the stream I should be ok. The many spider webs that are hitting my face indicate that either I’m the first one here today or the ones that have been here today were midgets.

After a while, the trail splits. One branch turns back to the stream while the other one turns away from it. Have to follow the stream. After a couple of hundred meters the trail becomes practically impassable. Not many people obviously go here. Back to the other one then. That turns away from the stream completely, towards the other side of the slope. I’m wondering where this is going to take me. Should I better have turned back?

I seem to be ok because the slope just beneath me is almost vertical, so the trail has to start zig zagging soon. It keeps going away from the stream so I get the gps, to check where I am exactly. It looks like it’s going the right way because I’m walking downwards to the road. It’s not going to end up at the car park but somewhere to the west of it. Well, as long as I end up on the road then it’s fine with me. Everything is better than back up that hill. I realize that I’m burning up valuable waterfall time this way. Not long after, the trail turns back in the right direction and some 15 minutes later I’m back on the road, only a few hundred meters away from the car.

Have to continue quickly because the sky is already breaking up and waterfall fun will end soon when it does. I skip the ride to the top of the mountain. The next waterfall is Horsetail Falls. That’s close to the road and quite easy to photograph.

Horsetail Falls, Columbia River Gorge Natural Scenic Area, Oregon

From the front it’s impossible to photograph the whole waterfall, but the lower half is good enough.

Horsetail Falls, Columbia River Gorge Natural Scenic Area, Oregon

It’s nice from the left as well.

Horsetail Falls, Columbia River Gorge Natural Scenic Area, Oregon

Panther Creek Falls, which is very high on my wish list for today, I probably have to going to miss. I only discovered it a couple of days ago and I should have gone there this morning straight away or at least didn’t do that walk. But well, I didn’t foresee the cloudlayer to open up.

I do drive towards it but I kind of know that I’m going to be too late. 10 Miles before the waterfall I break off. The sky is completely blue and the sun is shining. It’s just doesn’t make sense to continue. I must come up with something else for the rest of today.

Maps, Charts & Downloads

GPS Map with color coded altitude information

Color coded distance/altitude chart

Color coded distance/altitude chart, Washington & Oregon Autumn 2013, Day 05

Download the original gpx file here.