Friday, August 08, 2008

Elowah Falls expedition

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So here are a few pics from an all-too-brief daytrip to Elowah Falls, out in the Gorge. Actually "daytrip" is far too generous. I woke up early; drove out (on I-84 all the way, no time for the Gorge Highway); scuttled up the short (0.8 mile) trail to the falls, muttering under my breath about how long it was taking; took a few hurried second-rate and uninspired of the place; scuttled back to the car; dashed home; and then dashed off to an Important Morning Meeting.

Elowah Falls

Elowah Falls has always been one of my favorite spots in the Gorge, and I didn't do it justice this time around. Ok, it looks not entirely unlike a lot of the other waterfalls in the gorge. Granted. It's not the tallest, or the widest, or the most accessible, or perhaps even the most picturesque. Also granted. I do have a soft spot for the place for a couple of reasons. First, it's somewhat obscure. There's no "Elowah Falls" exit from the Interstate. There isn't even a stop or a sign on the Gorge Highway that says "Elowah Falls". To find it, you have to know it's there, do a little research to find it, and go a little out of your way to get there, so right there you've excluded the casual, uninterested types. If you do find the trailhead, the falls aren't visible from the road, so anyone who needs instant gratification is bound to be disappointed.

Elowah Falls

Elowah Falls

The second reason I have a soft spot for Elowah Falls is that, unlike the more famous falls in the Gorge, I first went there as an adult. A young adult, mind you; I was in my early 20's, footloose, somewhat aimless, with far more free time than I do now. I have somewhat vague memories of driving out to the falls in midwinter and writing horrendous poetry (since shredded) about the experience. And I have rather more vivid memories of driving out to the falls in midsummer with my kid brother, goofing off on the rocks, slipping, landing on a rock, and breaking a rib. Which was even less enjoyable than you might imagine. But still, there once was a time, long ago, when I was able to go out to the gorge on a lark and goof off and not worry about what time it was and where I had to be in an hour.

Forest, Elowah Falls

So perhaps you can forgive me for feeling a little aggravated by the recent "expedition": Now, lots of people need my attention practically 24/7, and basically my every waking moment belongs to someone else. There's always another meeting, and another opportunity to synergize proactively outside the box on a go-forward basis, and maybe monetize some eyeballs in the process. The money's good, certainly. You won't catch me complaining about that part. I remember being poor, and I'd rather not do that again, thanks. And professional respect is nice too, I guess. But I can't help thinking, you know, all of France is on vacation the whole month of August. How do they do it? And would the world really, truly end if we did the same thing here? Seriously, would it?

I'm sure I sound awfully crabby about this, but I just finished up one run-run-run gotta-be-done-yesterday project, and immediately started in on another. Gotta port a big Unix app to IBM's highly-non-Unix minicomputer OS. That would actually be kind of fun and interesting on a normal human schedule, but it's gotta be done by the end of the year or else the roof falls in, or the ogre under the bridge eats us, or the Earth collides with the antimatter Earth, or something horrific like that.

Call me psychic if you like, but I have this funny feeling that come next February, I'll be posting more photos of bare trees and whining about the weather and demanding to know where my damn summer went. Well, since I'm in the middle of it right now, let me tell you. Most of the greenery I've seen recently has been on a tn5250 screen. And somehow it's just not the same.

Cue the same answer when I'm 75 and trying to remember exactly where my 30s went.

Wildflower, Elowah Falls

But enough about me.

A few links about the falls, from around the interwebs:

  • An informative page with good photos at
  • A good hike report at, with tons of photos.
  • A mid-June pos about the falls at "movement, movement"
  • "Next ... Elowah Falls..." at "Photography and Life in General", with a nice photo of the falls.
  • A page with more photos at
  • A post with lots of photos at "Adventures in Washington". Ok, strictly speaking this is an adventure in Oregon, but Washington is visible across the river when there's a break in the trees, so I guess it counts, technically, sorta.

  • The "Elowah Falls" Flickr pool. Which I've just joined. I may even add a couple of my photos, if I feel the other members won't make fun of me.
  • The rest of my photos are here. FWIW.
  • On Amazon, you can buy an Elowah Falls mousepad. So I could see the falls without ever leaving my desk. No, no, must.... resist...
  • A set of VR panoramas of the falls and spots along the trail. It's almost just like being there... no, no....
  • An interesting page from Gresham High School with a photo of the upper falls. Did I mention there was an upper falls? There's a spur off the main trail to the upper falls, which adds another mile or two to the hike. It's worth seeing if you have time, which I never, ever, seem to have anymore.


We Are Dave said...

The French use the time they save by not washing for a year.

(I'll probably regret this comment in the morning...)

Anonymous said...

thanks for the link. great waterfall indeed. the day we went, the wind was so strong down by the bridge you couldn't cross it without getting super wet from the mist. not a good thing for people like us who carry cameras.

btw, my blog is "movement, movement", not "moment, moment". thanks for the link love :)

brx0 said...

D'oh! "movement, movement". Got it. I'll just go ahead and fix that...