Back to the Columbia River Gorge for a little hiking. Today I set out to challenge myself to do the most grueling hike I’ve ever been on – to the top of Multnomah Falls. Approx 1.25 miles up, 700ft elevation gain. It’s just kind of brutal, and it’s for no good reason at all, because basically all you can see from the top is the parking lot. But I had to do it. I’m hiking the Gorge, I might as well get it out of my way and check it off the list early.
Same as last week, I took the old highway for a nice scenic drive through the trees, swung by Crown Point again, and ended up at Multnomah Falls. What I wasn’t expecting was that there would be approximately a gazillion people there, and I would spend 20 minutes driving around looking for a parking spot – on a Monday in April?! I finally got one.
Here’s the traditional shot of the Falls, and the Benson Bridge. Beautiful. Much like Mt Hood, Multnomah Falls is one of those things that is ours. I used to visit it almost every summer with Grandma Lynn when I was little. I haven’t been back here in years. We just pass it on the freeway and go, oh look, there it is. I guess it’s time I paid my respects.
So I head on up to the Benson Bridge, and it is so full of people I have to weave between the selfie-sticks and strollers and people snapping photos just to get past. Too crowded for me. I continue on up the trail. Now, I know how awful this trail is, so I take it slow. Slow and steady. Take my time. Stop to rest when necessary. Then I start seeing signs – Switchback 1 of 11! Really, did you need to tell me that?!
As I continue up these steep switchbacks, I’m singing to myself ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ and ‘you got me beggin you for mercy’. By switchback 6 I’m questioning every decision in my life that lead to dragging my out-of-shape butt up this trail.
At least #8 has a view. It will be a nice place for them to find my body.
It was really all I could do to keep going, because it was hard, and I am lazy, and I know the view at the top isn’t really going to be all that, but I kept going, because I said I would. I didn’t want to go home and hang my head only having done 8 of 11 switchbacks. I also didn’t want to come back here and do this again later this summer just to prove I could do it. I had to prove to myself I could do it, TODAY. Eventually I made it to the top of the ridge, and then the trail starts going back downhill – turns out the last few switchbacks were short and on the downhill side, so it wasn’t so bad.
Finally I get to the viewpoint. Yup, there’s the parking lot. Oh, and a 542 foot drop to your certain death. Lets back carefully away from that. There’s a railing and all, but still…
Turn around and right behind you is a little waterfall feeding the pool that goes over the edge. Aww, that’s very pretty!
I walked back up the river and sat by it, photographing the rapids, having a snack and some more water. The people thinned out and it was very peaceful. Now I was feeling pretty good about my determination and perseverance. I guess there’s something to pushing yourself to meet a goal. I really feel proud of myself. I did it! And here’s my reward:
There were some very pretty rapids here. I should carry a little tripod for long exposures like these.
Finally I headed back. I felt nothing but pity for all the folks who were on their way up as I enjoyed the downhill trail. Finally I was back to the Benson Bridge, and it wasn’t as crowded, so now I could stop and enjoy the view of the upper falls.
That’s it, I was right up there…
Wow, that’s way up there!
Back past the Lodge and the fudge and ice cream stands and the smell of waffle cones, I found my wee little car and headed home. It was a good day.