Wahkeena Falls

Angel’s Rest

Saturday after getting back from Arizona Michael and I went for a hike. We decided to go out to the Gorge. We hadn’t hiked out there in awhile. With no real plan I suggested we choose the hike based on whichever lot had a parking spot available. It turned out to be Wahkeena Falls. Wahkeena Falls is a really nice hike. There are several gorgeous waterfalls and it’s about a 35 minute drive from Portland to get there. The parking lot is pretty big but it fills up fast, especially in nice weather, so get there early if you can. We got lucky.

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It’s been a long time since we’ve hiked this trail. I’d say 2 years? Maybe more? I’d forgotten how hard it is. Both Michael and I were really feeling it as we climbed. The trail starts out with steep, paved switchbacks and climbs for about 1/2 mile. Then it turns into rock and dirt path. You pass by the first waterfall and walk near it on a bridge.

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There is a cool spray from the falls as you hike by it.

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Then the trail climbs again. Your heart will be pounding. It’s a popular trail but not as congested as Multnomah Falls is. After the switchbacks it levels out for a short time. There is a viewpoint and then the trail turns into the forest.

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Here you will hike alongside a fast moving creek and you’ll see more mini waterfalls along the way. Cross a small footbridge over the water and you start climbing again. This time it’s on larger rocks.

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It was a gorgeous day out! It was near the 80’s in Portland that Saturday but The Gorge is typically a little bit cooler. It was around 72 degrees. Sometimes the forest area was pretty dense and you didn’t need sunglasses; then you’d come to an open area and be blinded by the rays. Another little waterfall:

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Bella was doing pretty well. I was a little nervous she’d be anxious on such a popular trail and bark at everyone but she didn’t. She was really good. Perhaps maybe there were SO many people she didn’t know who to bark at. ūüėČ She was doing well on the trail, too, even though it was pretty strenuous in places.

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The next part of the trail was more steep switchbacks but this part is pretty tricky. For some reason the ground is slippery here no matter what season you hike in. Even if it’s been dry and there’s no rain, it’s slippery. And rocky.¬†After that part of the trail we came to another waterfall. I always see photographers with their tripods set up here for photos.

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I’m not sure what Falls that is. Right by this one you cross another footbridge and then climb the trail again. (All in all we did about 1600 feet elevation on this hike.)

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We stopped at the crossroads for our lunches. I’d packed us sandwiches and crackers and we chilled in the shade while we ate. After lunch we decided to take the fork to Angel’s Rest. I hiked Angel’s Rest like a hundred years ago and don’t remember much of it. I don’t think I ever got to this part of it. Usually when we did Wahkeena Falls in the past we always went the other direction at the fork in the trail.

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It was cool to go a different route this time. We went by another little brook and the trail turned into soft ground and pine needles, which was nice.

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There were also TONS of wildflowers everywhere:

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If anyone knows what these flowers are, please tell me. They are so pretty!

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We hiked a little ways up the Angel’s Rest Trail and then I wanted to turn around. The plan wasn’t to do the entire thing and honestly I was little worried about the downhill climb. It was so steep and strenuous I worried that it would be too much on my knees. We turned back down and it was a good decision because we were both feeling a little sore and achy.

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The climb down was a hard one but we made it. We stopped at the mid-way point viewpoint before heading back down the rest of the way. We did 4.22 miles in a little over 2 hours (with about 15 minutes for lunch). Here are the stats:

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It felt good to sit down when we got to the car! Later that night I took a hot bath with epsom salts and then wore my compression tights. I knew I was going to be sore! Bella was super tired:

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Napping with her new toy. ūüôā

Devilishly Difficult

I almost called this post “Quivering Quads” because my legs felt like Jell-o after our 4th of July hike! Michael and I ate a normal breakfast, picked up a foot long sandwich to share from Subway, and hit the road. Our destination was The Gorge. Remember a few months ago we attempted Devil’s Rest and turned around? Well we were determined to do it this time.

The place was packed with fair-weather hikers out enjoying their sunny holiday. The weather was beautiful! Sunny, not a cloud in the sky and about 70 degrees. Michael and I blazed a trail up Wahkeena Falls. I was telling him about the awful news stories I’ve read lately about hikers falling and dying on Eagle Creek. Michael said that it was most likely inexperienced hikers doing dumb things (which we see SO much on our hikes). My argument was that Eagle Creek is a treacherous, dangerous hike and they need to install railings at the worst parts of the trail.

At exactly that moment we were having a conversation about the dangers of hiking, a guy in front of me on the trail stopped, tried to turn around and lost his balance. He was starting to fall off the side of the trail when I instinctively grabbed his arm and pulled him back up to the trail. It was total reflex (thank you weight lifting for giving me the upper body strength to grab a guy 3x bigger than me!!) and after the fact I realized it was probably dumb of me to grab him–he could have pulled me down with him!

He was fine and Michael and I continued on past the waterfalls and the throngs of day hikers. We set a really good pace up the trail. There were a lot of beautiful wild flowers along the trail. This one in particular was gorgeous and I was told by another hiker it’s Columbine.

The washed out part of the trail that we were on last time was still washed out but had been trampled on enough to make it a bit easier to traverse. It was still uncomfortable grasping onto the side of loose, wet soil on the hillside to get passed it.

We got to that fork in the road where you can take the Vista Point Trail, Devil’s Rest or Larch Mountain and we sat for lunch. I devoured my half of the Subway sandwich, famished after hiking for nearly 2 hours. We shared a Gatorade and then headed up Devil’s Rest.

I saw a lot of people attempting Devil’s Rest this time. I kid you not, most of the trail is straight up. I did not get a picture that does the elevation justice. Trust me. It was brutal.

And I kept thinking….How the HELL did I do this hike 25 pounds heavier??!?! It’s a strenuous part of the hike that will make your hamstrings, calves and quads scream for mercy. We stopped to rest at some of the scenic lookout points.

I believe that is Mount Adams in the distance, across the Columbia River in Washington. We were THAT high up on the hike! There were views of the Gorge, the trees below and blue, blue sky. It was worth the knee-creaking it took to get up there.

It got to the point where it was feeling like it was the Never-Ending-Hike. We were both getting tired but at least we’d¬†finally¬†done Devil’s Rest together! We turned around for the brutally difficult downhill climb. I was worried about my knees. They were starting to ache a bit and all I wanted was to be back to the car.

Michael and I tromped down the trail and then he turned to me and said, “Did we go this way? I don’t even remember this part of the trail because it was so long ago.” Truth! It was becoming all a blur.

We finally made it down to the trailhead. We were both tired, sweaty and my thighs were jiggling like Jell-o. Ouch ouch ouch. It turned out to be the longest hike we’ve ever done at over 9 miles!!! Holy cow. It was a “dog bone loop” (we learned that term the hard way) with an elevation climb of 2300 feet.

Good for Kids:¬†Iffy. There are a few parts of the trail that are dangerous but for the most part it’s ok for kids.
Good for Dogs: Probably ok. Leash recommended because there are a lot of dogs there.
Cost: Zero. Parking lot fills up fast, get there early.
Activity Level: Strenuous
Scenery: Spectacular.
Verdict: Fantastic hike but you will be sore the next day!

Hike Stats:
Time: 3:48
Calories Burned:  1440
Mileage: 3 miles to Larch Trail, then 1.6 to Devil’s Rest – total 9.2¬†

We got home and got ready for dinner. The neighborhood was having a BBQ (and our neighbors¬†may¬†have had Washington¬† fireworks…ahem…) so I made up a bunch of kale chips with kale from the garden, Michael cracked some beers and we joined the neighborhood party!

I made good food choices. We had brats and the kale chips and I had a taste of all the other foods at the BBQ (fruit, pasta salad, potato salad, fruit salad). It was such a fun night! I really like our neighborhood and the neighbors are super fun to hang out with. I wish we did more block parties than just once a year on the 4th. I might have to suggest it. ūüôā

Quick question: do you guys prefer the smaller photos or the larger photos?

QUESTION: Longest hike you’ve ever been on? How was your holiday?