Beauty and Rigamarole - April 2017

Beauty and Rigamarole - April 2017
Beauty and Rigamarole - April 2017

Sunday, June 22, 2014

2S2G* - Susans' Boot Camp (25K or 15.5 miles) - Day 9, Sat., June 21

*2S2G = Two Susans to Go

Today was an adventure, a challenge, and an accomplishment. I call it "Susans' Boot Camp," meaning that our boots and selves got quite a workout today. We did 25K (15.5 miles) in six hours (including 20 minutes for lunch, photo stops, "oohing" and "aahing" stops, and slowing down to walk very carefully along narrow cliff ledges with steel cables to hold on to. Keep reading. You'll get the picture shortly.

From our parking space, it was a 1/2 mile hike just to the Eagle Creek Trailhead. Today's walk took us way up into the Eagle Creek watershed. Awesome and amazing come to mind.

The Volksmarch description called it "the premiere hike in the Columbia River Gorge." They also warned people not to go on it if they were afraid of heights. Susan and I are both afraid of heights, but we decided to go.

In the 30 years we lived in Oregon, I had only hiked a couple of miles on Eagle Creek, just a little past Punchbowl Falls and have always wanted to see Tunnel Falls. The extra waterfall, Crossover Falls, we saw at the turn-around point was spectacular. Today was the day to push past former boundaries and perceived limitations. Susan joined right in on the fun adventure.

One good thing I have to say about this trail: it is never too steep. We followed a gradual grade up and up and up until we were hundreds of feet above the river. Heck, we were up as high as the tops of huge Douglas fir trees, looking straight down cliffs!

Here is your armchair guided tour. Come along with us on this amazing hike. (Pssst. I forgot my camera, so all photos were taken with my smartphone. They're not as high resolution as usual.)

Our trail sign at the start.
Punchbowl Falls
Wildflowers
Many wildflowers enhanced our hiking experience on this trail. Mid-June is a good time to walk here.
Metlako Falls
Did I emphasize strongly enough that you should not be afraid of heights to take on this trail?

Cliffside trail
You better have some rockin' hiking boots!
Susan M. on the rocky cliff trail.
High Bridge
Tunnel Falls
At Tunnel Falls, you pass through a blasted tunnel to get from one side of the falls to the other. Very unique. I've never seen anything like it.

The tunnel behind the falls.
Tunnel Falls is very high.
First view of Crossover Falls!
Crossover Falls is a fantastic area to eat lunch and change socks!

Our view while we ate lunch
Susan's gear and her leftover lobster pizza.
Susan M. has one wooden hiking pole and I use two black hiking poles. They provide support and stabilization on a rocky trail.

Happy hiker...just ate her lobster pizza.
Now it's time to head back down the trail. I just had to take more photos of the cliffs.

As you can see these cliff walls go straight down!
Lots of cliffs to traverse.
Steel cable bolted into rock for us sissies.
After the hike we drove to Cascade Locks to have our Volksmarch record books stamped and eat the lunch plate for $3.00.

We signed up for two more walks tomorrow: a 12K and a 10K. Status: pending. Our feet and legs may tell us differently. I have two blisters, one on each small toe. Ouch!

Again, we made use of the hot tub to soothe our aching muscles. I can tell you it really helps.

The reality of the road is setting in. Susan M. moved into her own hotel room today. She is a very light sleeper and doesn't like my snoring. She said she wasn't getting any sleep. Now we both have our own space which is very nice. I can blog until the wee hours and she can go to sleep at 9 p.m. Tomorrow morning she'll pick me up at 7:30 a.m. and we'll see how our feet feel and if we can do a 12K walk.

One more blog coming tonight because I have something else on my mind.

Travel Bug out.


7 comments:

  1. What an awesome trail! We're heading that way in a couple of days and intend to hike Eagle Creek...don't know that we'll make it all the way to tunnel falls though! Nice job you two!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lisa, Hiking on a weekday will hopefully be less crowded than a weekend. If you go, please go all the way to Crossover Falls, it's literally just around the corner from Tunnel Falls and is a delight to the eyes and ears. I always thought Tunnel Falls was THE destination to see on this trail, but Crossover is so magnificent (and close to Tunnel Falls) it would be silly not to go the few extra feet to see it.

      Delete
  2. THANK YOU so much for the photos! We've only been to Punchbowl Falls but the the Tunnel Falls is intriguing. I'm not sure I can do 15.5 miles in one day so tell me, is there a lot of ascending to the trail? I'm pretty good on flat ground but my heart feels like it's going to pump out of my chest when I have to climb too far, too long. In other words, I'm out of shape.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Susan, This trail climbs very gradually most of the way. There are only a couple of spots where it's not gradual. You can do it! Take your time, rest, breathe deep, one foot in front of the other. Allow plenty of time, take lots of water, snacks and lunch. Note: There are no restrooms or trash cans on the trail. They ask you to pack everything out.

      Delete
  3. Very impressive! We hiked that trail to Punchbowl Falls and remember how lovely it was. Not sure I could have done the cliffside part! You are really putting in the miles.
    Gayle

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Punchbowl Falls is lovely. Since I had been there before, we didn't hike down the trail to the falls, only viewed it from the top. My friend Susan said, "That's a small little falls." I guess she didn't appreciate the beauty of it from the top.

      Delete
  4. You made it to Crossover Falls, we did not. As always Susan terrific job on all your hikes.

    ReplyDelete

Please let me know what you think, your experiences, and constructive criticism to make this blog stronger.