River Walk, downtown San Antonio, Sunday, February 25, 2018

River Walk, downtown San Antonio, Sunday, February 25, 2018
River Walk, downtown San Antonio, Sunday, February 25, 2018

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Over the River and Through the Woods... - Fri., June 17, 2016

... to Falls Creek Falls we go. Nowheresville. No one told us how far away from our registration point this place was or how many potholes were in the roads as we bounced and jostled the last two miles to the trailhead. (Well, to be honest, had I read the instructions on how to get to the trailhead, I would have known it was a longer distance. It was 30 miles from our registration point!) What a drive. Four of the others in our group were late too.  Temperature at the  start of our hike: 51 degrees. Perfect hiking weather!

Carol and I started out before everyone else because we're a bit slower than the rest of this gung-ho group we walk with. About 1/4 mile in everyone caught up with us at this cute suspension bridge over a deep gorge which contained roaring Falls Creek.

Gary and Dennis hamming it up on the bridge
This trail can only be described as grueling. The walk instructions said it's a gradual climb with a short steep section. I don't know who wrote that. We went up and up and up and up on what I call a steep incline. My hiking poles had a work-out today. The saving grace was the prettiest scenery, the roar of the water, and memories of hiking here with Bob and the boys when they were about 14 and 10.

Dennis and Carol round a bend in the trail
The following photo shows an area that looks like it should have a waterfall flowing down it, but all that is there is a large field of moss-covered rocks. At some point there must be water because there's a bridge there. Or, it could be, that this is the safest way to get people across the boulder field.

Carol surveying the mossy rocks in the riverbed
As we approached the falls, we came upon a huge wall of rock. All of us were so impressed, we stopped to take photos. I was feeling the effects of all the exertion and needed some sustenance. I had left my trail mix in the car, so as not to attract bears with the scent of something good to eat. However, Dennis and Carol had persimmon and chocolate chip cookies in their pack, and they offered me some. How sweet is that? I had one piece of persimmon and one little chocolate chip cookie. Those gave me the energy boost I needed. Onward, upward and upward.

Large mossy rocks that go way high up
The wall of rocks with people added for
perspective on how big this rock is.
Carol next to the rock wall
After we did our photo shoots, a couple of us turned to continue on the trail. We hadn't gone but 25' when Dennis and Carol told us to turn around and come back because we needed to see something. I thought maybe they spotted a bear in a tree or something. Not. With all our fooling around taking photos of the rock, we missed our first sighting of Falls Creek Falls!
Falls Creek Falls - first glimpse
After a short hike, we came upon the full view of the falls. Impressive. These falls drop 335' over three tiers. Fed by an extensive network of springs and streams, Falls Creek Falls is one of the largest and most powerful in southern Washington. The waterfallsnorthwest.com website describes the falls like this:
"The upper tier veils 109 feet in a broad fan-shaped fall which skips down the initial tier of the cliff. Shortly after, the creek spreads out to a breadth of over 100-feet across a gently domed ledge and plunges 135 feet in several segments. After gathering through a cluster of large boulders which have fallen off the adjacent cliffs, the third tier leaps a final 91-feet into a narrow amphitheater gorge."
Falls Creek Falls - you can't even see
the top 109' tier from here!
Falls Creek Falls - lower two tiers
Marietta trying to capture the perfect shot
Dennis also trying to capture a great shot
Gary, Dennis, Susan, Marietta (in front), and Diana
What the trail is like
and why trekking poles really help
From Falls Creek Falls, we hiked back down the steep trail to a side trail. I had thought we were finished going up. Boy was I wrong. The side trail was very steep and our legs were treated to another free calf and thigh work out. Once we finished this little-steep-segment- of-a side-trail, we came to a larger trail and our instructions had us going uphill even more. This trail was also very steep. It kept going and going and going, making us the Energizer bunnies. Our goal was to find Fantail Falls, a short wide waterfall. The trail finally leveled out and we could walk on the level for about a mile.

Fantail Falls
At Fantail Falls, I had to put callous cushions on my feet because I knew we would be going downhill A LOT and my weight would be forward on my feet. Everyone rested and chatted before the long downhill.

Darlene, Sandy and Gary
Marietta, Carol and Dennis
This hike did me in. Elevation gain on this hike is 1,150'. Length: 10k (6.2 miles).

I immediately headed back to the Volksmarch area for the $3 hot dog lunch. My plan was to do the 5k Cascade Locks Town Walk after lunch, but decided against it. I was going to meet friends Curt and Lexi for dinner at 5:15 p.m. in Wilsonville and I wanted to go home, nap, shower and put on fresh clothes first. It was 1:50 p.m. and it was an hour to Mom's house without traffic.

It's a good thing I left when I did. Traffic was gridlocked all over Portland. I was stuck in traffic everywhere I went. Because we lived in the Portland area over 30 years, I knew a lot of back roads and I tried many of them, only to be stuck in more gridlock. Apparently there was an accident on I-5 at I-205 south of town which backed up the freeways for miles! Ugh.

It ended up taking me and hour and 45 minutes to get to Mom's place. I tried to take a nap at her house, but just lay there with my eyes closed. Then I showered and headed south to Wilsonville, which usually takes about 20 minutes. I-5 was stop and go. When I got to the north Wilsonville exit, I took side roads the rest of the way to the restaurant. Curt had just arrived and Lexi wasn't there yet. She arrived a couple of minutes after me. They had been stuck in the gridlock too.

Lexi, Curt and I at The Ram in Wilsonville, Oregon
Since the evening was beautiful, we sat outside. Our meal was delightful and we talked about movies, music, and travel. I enjoy connecting with friends.

What an active couple of days I've had! Stay tuned for another hike tomorrow. Forecast is for heavy rain at 1 p.m. We'll start our 10K walk at 8 a.m. to try to avoid heavy precipitation.

Travel Bug out.

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