Friday, August 19, 2011

Chasing Waterfalls

We haven't been on a nature walk in over a month and school is fast approaching. I had to sneak in the last nature walk in our free REI journal. For more info on the journal and our nature walks go here. Every year I take "A" on a mile hike to Wahclella Falls in the National Scenic Columbia River Gorge, on the Oregon side (home to the second tallest waterfall in the US). Fun side note: In a pretty popular states book they put a picture of our waterfall (Multnomah) for the tallest waterfall in California. I believe this is because it is so much more beautiful and you can actually hike up ours. For visitors this is a great introduction hike to kiddos around the age of three. It is across the street from Bonneville Dam and Fish Hatchery, another great place to take little ones. It cost to park at the trailhead but if you park at the dam and walk over it is free! I had been avoiding this hike because this is the first year I would have to trek baby up on my back. I have done a mile loop but it had no elevation gain. This hike on the other hand was 2 mile round trip and 300 ft. elevation change. Not a lot-I know, but with 32 lbs on your back you start to feel it!!! What can I say the waterfalls were calling me and I decided to suck it up and go.

We had a great time! I made "A" carry a pack for the first time with our lunches and his journal. It was pretty heavy, but I convinced myself it was good practice for school. I love this hike because at first you walk along a stream (with some monster size rainbow trout) and then as you turn to the typical trailhead you see a waterfall right on the trail. Then you have about 3/4 a mile on a typical forest hiking path. We saw tons of wildflowers, moss, ferns, a fallen tree with conks (one of "A's" most fave thing he learned this summer from our forest unit), spiders, and a large slug. The last bit you cross a bridge and it is rockfalls all around with lava basalt columns, large pools of water, and a cave. For some reason dragonflies and butterflies are attracted to the rocks and they are prevalent. In the very back is a beautiful waterfall. After feeling the spray to cool down I let "A" throw rocks in the water. Then he had the most brilliant idea to walk into the water with his shoes on-making the walk back not so pleasant.

The hike back we were both desparate to reach the car. His feet were wet, cold and starting to hurt. My feet already had a huge blister and I didn't know how much more my shoulder could take. Surprisingly, there wasn't much complaining. "A" was such a trooper and never gave up. He just kept trekking holding his backpack and all. When we hit the grass 100 yards from the car  we stripped over our shoes and socks, and I took the baby off -who was fast asleep in his back. We laid in the grass and he worked on his may have been the best part of the day!

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