Friday, March 07, 2014

Seasonal Waterfall, Columbia Gorge

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I was browsing through some old Columbia Gorge photos and remembered I had a few of the little waterfall you see here. It's a seasonal (and as far as I know, nameless) waterfall just east of the Shepperds Dell area. It's right next to the Gorge Highway so it's hard to miss when it's flowing, which is probably just in the winter and early spring. There's a large but unsigned parking lot on the north side of the highway a short walk to the east, which is where I parked when I took these photos. The stream flows into a culvert under the road, and there's a sort of vertical metal grate at the opening, I guess to keep rocks out of it. Look for the grate shown in these photos; if you see it and there's no waterfall, it's gone dry and you'll just have to come back in a few months. Alternately look for GPS coordinates 45.541525, -122.204661. It's not exactly at the watefall, but it's between the parking lot and the waterfall. I think it was the closest spot my old Blackberry's wimpy GPS could get a fix. The falls themselves are on street view here.

These photos are from 2011, I should point out. I drove by back in December and the falls were dry, because until the last month or so it's been an exceptionally dry (albeit cold) winter. Dalton Falls was dry too, and it usually always runs in the winter. So this waterfall might be running right now, but then again it might not, so don't take that as a legally binding promise. I suppose it all depends on exactly when you're reading this, doesn't it?

Updated 1/9/2021: When the Gorge has one of its (increasingly rare) cold snaps and seasonal waterfalls start freezing, this spot becomes an ice climbing spot called "Water Heater", so named because of a very old tank of some sort right at the base of the falls. You can actually see the tank in some of the photos in this set, it turns out, though I hadn't noticed it was there until just now. I was about to suggest calling this spot "Water Heater Falls" during the times it's running and not frozen, but Google Maps now says there's a "Huerta Falls" either right here or on one of the immediately adjacent streams. I have never heard that name before and it looks like there's absolutely nothing else about it on the net besides that one placemark. It doesn't even have any Google reviews attached to it, so it's possible some random internet person added it to the map quite recently. User-added items like that don't always stick around on a long-term basis, so if that link doesn't work for you that may be why.

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