Saturday, March 31, 2012

Hike to Triple Falls

On February 11th, Anise, Sequoia, Aundria and I all hiked to Triple Falls in the Gorge. It was a bit of an overcast day, like most winter days in Oregon, but as we got closer to the falls the skies opened up and there was some sun!

The rain and snow came a bit later in the season this year, but there has been quite a bit so the falls were raging. We started out the hike at the Horsetail Falls trailhead and you can see just how intense the water was coming down. If you walk up towards the falls and close your eyes your face covers with mist and you can feel the sheer power of the water plunging into the pool.

This is Anise and Sequoia standing in front of the falls (but not too close!)

Sequoia (Koi) is a few years younger then Anise but they get along wonderfully. It's so nice for Anise to have a friend that she can totally dork out with about spiders and bugs with. On the drive over their conversation went something like this:
Anise: "What is your favorite bird of prey?"
Sequoia: "Hmm, I think the Owl"
A: "That's a good choice"

then later...
A: "So we found a spider the other day in Brie's house and I thought maybe it was a common house spider but the thorax was separated from its body more than the house spider so I'm not sure. I didn't get a chance to look it up in my book yet"
S: "What color was it"
A: "Mostly brown but there was it was a little darker on the thorax"
S: "Wait, are you talking about the sub-thorax or the thorax?"

Hahaha, I love those kids. I may have butchered the conversations a little because I'm not up to snuff with my spider knowledge. It's been great to get those two together a few times since then as well and also perfect because Aundria and I are close friends too and enjoy a lot of the same activities.

About a mile or so into the trail you come to Ponytail falls. This is where most people stop and turn around. The trail descends at the falls and takes you into a rock cavern behind the falls before you start ascending up the other side. The view was pretty magnificent! You couldn't hear anything in the cavern behind the falls because the water was so loud.

It was really slippery so Anise held Koi's hand throughout most of it. They were running almost the whole trail (I wish she had that energy with me!) but slowed down, thankfully, after we told them we might have a heart attack if they didn't.

The picture to the left and the one below are two views of the entire Ponytail Falls with the cavern and trail. I regret not taking a video because pictures don't show how amazingly loud and just darn cool the whole thing was. It's really neat to go visit the same places in different seasons - I think we'll come back for summer since it is a short hike. I bet it would be fun to eat lunch in the cavern too when the water isn't so loud and scary.

We kept going towards our destination, Triple Falls. The hiking book said it might not be the best hike for kids but we knew they didn't mean Anise and Sequoia - clearly they are tough Oregonians! Since Anise and I had conquered Angels Rest a couple weeks prior to that I knew we could climb the 900 or so feet up to Triple Falls. We were all huffing and puffing up the steep muddy trail and I know I felt out of shape and overdressed. For all that work I was expecting a beautiful display of three falls colliding into one another with a nice meadow where we could lay down, enjoy our picnic lunch, watch deer prance around, and rest our tired feet. Instead what we got was some pretty lackluster falls and no meadow. We got cold mossy wet rocks as our seats and we made them work! I'm not saying that I wish I didn't hike up to these falls, but I was expecting them to be a bit more grand! The view on the way up was worth it though. It was really pretty to see the river next to us and all the mossy trees. The drop off was really steep!

I imagine now that the build up has been so amazing that you really want to see a picture of Triple Falls, huh? I am probably doing it an injustice because if it were a bit sunnier, drier and less loud we could have eaten in a semi-grassy spot in front of the falls. This is why summer trips are probably a good idea!

I'm teaching Anise how to use my camera so this isn't the most flattering picture of Aundria and I, but it was the only one in focus. Doesn't matter, we were roughing it in the woods and you don't need to be pretty to hike. Just tough. And we are tough.

We crossed the footbridge behind the falls, took refuge on our mossy rocks, fed some hungry kids and then headed on back to Portland. Aundria had a show to get to that night (she sings and has a lovely voice too!) and we cut the time pretty close. We did take one last photo stop on the way back and peered out over the Columbia Gorge and the pretty blue skies. They were out there somewhere!


  1. I'm sorry to hear that Triple Falls wasn't more grand. It looks like you guys had an awesome time. Love the mossy tree photos!

  2. At the risk of sounding cheesy, sometimes it's more the adventure and company that makes the trip worth it, rather than the destination itself. :)