With Sharon now on the mend we needed to get out and about and not just sit around in the RV waiting for her to get healed. She was telling me that she was a bit worried that she may have some trepidation when hiking along steep trails and along a creek. So to provide her some mental therapy to go along with her physical therapy we decided to take in a trip to nearby Multnomah Falls.
Multnomah Falls is about a 20 minute drive from our park and about 30 minutes from downtown Portland. We headed east on I-84,along the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. Neat geology here, exposed by floods, of the Yakima basalt which is visible in the cliff face near the falls.
Parking is different here in that you park right in the middle of the Interstate. Exiting left off the freeway you park and walk through a cool tiled tunnel toward the fall’s trail. There are restrooms and a restaurant/snack bar conveniently located at the base of the falls.
The 620-foot high Multnomah Falls are fed by underground springs via Larch Mountain. The first set of falls are slender and graceful as they cascade over 500 feet down the cliff face into a placid pool. Then a secondary set of falls is created below a picturesque arched stone foot bridge that was constructed in 1914. According to Native American folklore Multnomah Falls was created for a warrior to win the heart of a beautiful young Indian princess who simply wanted a hidden place to bathe.
The hike is fairly steep with 11 switchbacks, each marked, that wind your way to the birth of the falls. The trail is 1.2 miles in length (one way) but will be more like 1.3 to 1.4 miles depending on where you park. You will want to wear good shoes since you will climb approximately 600 feet to the top of the Multnomah Falls overlook. Fortunately for us the Multnomah Falls Overlook had just re-opened after being closed for a landslide so we were able to hike to the top.
The views of the Columbia River and the surrounding landscape are nearly as breathtaking as the falls themselves. As the water continually wears away the rock face the look and shape of these magical falls will change in much the same way as it does in the different lighting of the morning and evening.
I don’t know if it is true or not but there is a story about an event on “Labor Day 1995, when a 400 ton boulder from the face of upper Multnomah Falls dropped into the upper plunge pool. The impact from this fall created a huge splash that spewed water and small rocks over the Benson bridge. A wedding party just happened to be on the bridge for photos when the boulder fell. Several people had minor injuries from the flying rock, including the groom who was struck by flying rock in a particularly delicate part of his anatomy. His bride reported the next day in that, despite his injuries, he had still been able to bravely perform his conjugal duties.”
The falls are ethereal in many ways but our main task was to not only enjoy the falls but to get Sharon more comfortable on the trail after her spill. I hope this 2.5 plus mile hike up and down the Multnomah Falls trail was the start of her mental recovery of hiking in the woods…