Like, Love, Lust
We were slightly Popsicled(tm) by the high-powered central AC, which is saying something considering Portland weather was in the high 90s. The next day, the Columbia Gorge was over 100 degrees as we drove along the Historic Columbia River Highway to visit some cold, shady waterfalls.
After visiting the rugged spectacular weirdness that is Latourell Falls, we decided to trek the mile up the Wahkeena Falls Trailhead to see Fairy Falls. This was ambitious on such a hot day, with a six-year-old along for the walk, but Keith had good directions from Michael Skourtes' Oregon Foto Blog, so we went on up. It was HAWT. But as you climb you do get a really great view of the Gorge, and then to the top of Wahkeena Falls, which is like a giant, fan-shaped shower that sprays you with the most wonderfully cooling mist. We along with a dozen other hikers just hung out there, smiling blisfully as the water crashed around us.
Continuing on, you finally enter a forested canyon that's probably at least 15 degrees cooler than the rest of the trail. Here you walk along Wahkeena's rushing creek. It gets really rocky and you can finally peek up at Fairy Falls through the fallen trees across the rocks and water. One more switchback and you're there:
I didn't bring my camera this time. The photo is from Waterfalls of the Pacific Northwest. Fairy Falls is truly a magical place and we stayed there quite a while, splashing around and staring at its fountain-like beauty.
I told Laurie that the last time we visited the Gorge, we came across the film crew that was finishing up their shoot of "The Road." They were helping hikers down the narrow, muddy path to Latourell Falls between takes. When we got down to the viewpoint at the bridge, I realized that the star standing in front of the falls, behind bushy beard and homeless-guy attire, was Viggo Mortensen. It was the closest moment I'll probably ever have to living in Middle Earth, with Aragorn standing in a most New Zealand-like setting. No such vision at Fairy Falls, but watching Jackson dance around like a pixie in the water was pretty fantastical as well.
Multnomah Falls was completely over the top with humanity as usual, but the view from the bridge was even more spectacular due to the sun shining through the walls of mist, creating not one but two giant rainbows to the left of the falls. Bliss! And ice cream from the concession stand at the bottom.