Breakside Brewery was a tasty place to meet in person and choose the hike we'd do together. Eagle Creek Trail is probably the most popular trail in the Columbia Gorge, which may be the reason Hans and I had yet to hike it. Fortunately Linda was happy to take a day off from work so we could be at the trailhead early on a Tuesday. At 8:30am there were about a half dozen cars in the parking lot...when we left in the early afternoon it was overflowing.
|The trail passes in and out of lush green forest.|
|The forest occasionally opens up to walls of lichen covered basalt and views across the canyon |
with Eagle Creek tumbling along far below us.
|Look away at the wrong time and you just might miss Metlako Falls, |
seen from afar as it bursts from the opposite canyon wall.
|Several small streams flowed into Eagle Creek from our side of the canyon.|
A couple miles into the hike we reached lovely Punchbowl Falls.This is a popular turnaround point for many people, so it can get busy. I was surprised to learn it is a 100 foot drop, it did not seem that tall to me. It's a stunning setting, crystal clear water and high rock walls dripping with water and greenery.
|Linda in her element.|
|Moving on we came to a viewpoint of the top of Punchbowl Falls...|
looks a little scary, doesn't it? We did not go there!
|A tree fell on this bridge many months ago but it was easy to get around with the low seasonal creek flow.|
|It's very difficult to see due to heavy foliage, but this is a deep, narrow sliver of a gorge...|
|Fortunately there was a bridge over the gorge so we could look straight down into shimmering, clear Eagle Creek.|
|Turning around at High Bridge we made our way back into the forest...|
|and back along the sheer cliffs.|
We followed up our beautiful 6.5 mile hike with beer and a view at Thunder Island Brewing, just down the road in Cascade Locks.
|Stern wheeler on the Columbia River.|
It was so much fun to meet Linda and hike one of the most iconic local trails with her. She takes full advantage of living in an area chock full of incredible photo opportunities...check out her blog for some excellent hiking ideas and her gorgeous photography. With any luck we'll meet up again down the road!