Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Elowah Falls

No words, just pretty pictures for this one.


Elowah from Stephanie Roberts on Vimeo.


--

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Wahclella Falls / Toothrock

Another day, another adventure in the Gorge. I've lived here my whole life and never wandered out to these places before, it's great to finally be exploring them.

Wahclella Falls is at the end of a short 1 mile hike through a canyon surrounded by steep walls. It's an easy trail, and super popular. I went on a Saturday with one of the photography groups I hang out with.


When I got to the trailhead at 9:30 it was already full. It is a small trailhead. But there was parking on the road, so I parked there and walked back. The clouds were starting to clear and it was looking like a "blue sky - puffy cloud day" was in store.


As we walked along Tanner Creek there were some nice little waterfalls along the way, including Munra Falls, which I'll grab a pic of on the way back.



But eventually the trail slowly climbed it's way up until the water was far below.


Walking under cover of the forest.


Finally we broke out of the forest and crossed to the sunny side of the creek.



The walls of the canyon looked like old lava flows, with lots of basalt columns.



There were places where HUGE boulders had fallen down into the river. One of our fellow hikers said it happened back in the early 70's. These boulders are as big as a house!



Here is a closeup so you can see the guy standing on one of them in the picture above.


Finally we came to Wahclella Falls itself. It comes roaring out of a slot in the wall at the end of the canyon. Above it you can see a sliver of a little waterfall feeding into it.


And when you get to just the right spot in front of it you can see there is another waterfall further up the slot. Imagine how long the water has been flowing there to carve that slot!


Another feature very close to the falls was a place where water runs down off the rocks like a constant rain and trickles over this moss-covered wall. Almost impossible to get a good photo of, the water comes down over it like natural misters, and the moss wall twinkles from all the water running down over it. It's kind of magical that something like this exists at all.


After crawling all over the Falls area looking for great shots, we retreated back to the sunny side of the creek for lunch. 


I'm getting in the habit of taking pictures of my boots to show where I've been.


Finally we headed back, stopping for pictures along the way.




Tiny flowers!

Then we passed Munra Falls again.


It comes down a sloped rock wall, and the trail bridge goes right next to it. Makes it very difficult to photograph!

So that was a fun morning out. Since the hike was only two miles, I had energy for a bit more. When I returned to my car I decided to drive up to the Toothrock Trailhead and see what was there. It is a restored section of the historic highway only open for walkers and bikes. So I took a stroll there. Great views of the river and Bonneville Dam.




Beacon Rock!

I was walking down the trail wanting to see Toothrock. I figured it was something like Beacon Rock. Eventually I realized I was walking alongside it the whole way - it is a HUGE rock. The freeway goes through a tunnel THROUGH it. I walked about a mile before I figured it out. Then I walked back, and stopped for a snack and sat on the old highway rockwork and enjoyed the view of the gorge and the cars zipping down the freeway for a bit. 


It was a beautiful day!


_

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Mr Miata - Spring Spruce Up


The rear bumper on the Miata was looking pretty bad, with a cracked and peeling clear coat. One sunny Saturday I got in the mood to do something about it. I also have these Rod Millen Motorsports side skirts I bought for it a couple years ago, so I decided to paint those as well.




Primed...


Satin Black, same as the tail and the mirrors.



I love the way it looks. I wouldn't mind doing the whole car in Satin Black.

I didn't install the skirts yet though, I'm still not sure about them.



After a sunny day exploring the Gorge. Such a happy little car!


_

Monday, April 25, 2016

Multnomah Falls

Back to the Columbia River Gorge for a little hiking. Today I set out to challenge myself to do the most grueling hike I've ever been on - to the top of Multnomah Falls. Approx 1.25 miles up, 700ft elevation gain. It's just kind of brutal, and it's for no good reason at all, because basically all you can see from the top is the parking lot. But I had to do it. I'm hiking the Gorge, I might as well get it out of my way and check it off the list early.

Same as last week, I took the old highway for a nice scenic drive through the trees, swung by Crown Point again, and ended up at Multnomah Falls. What I wasn't expecting was that there would be approximately a gazillion people there, and I would spend 20 minutes driving around looking for a parking spot - on a Monday in April?! I finally got one.

Here's the traditional shot of the Falls, and the Benson Bridge. Beautiful. Much like Mt Hood, Multnomah Falls is one of those things that is ours. I used to visit it almost every summer with Grandma Lynn when I was little. I haven't been back here in years. We just pass it on the freeway and go, oh look, there it is. I guess it's time I paid my respects.


So I head on up to the Benson Bridge, and it is so full of people I have to weave between the selfie-sticks and strollers and people snapping photos just to get past. Too crowded for me. I continue on up the trail. Now, I know how awful this trail is, so I take it slow. Slow and steady. Take my time. Stop to rest when necessary. Then I start seeing signs - Switchback 1 of 11! Really, did you need to tell me that?!

As I continue up these steep switchbacks, I'm singing to myself 'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger' and 'you got me beggin you for mercy'. By switchback 6 I'm questioning every decision in my life that lead to dragging my out-of-shape butt up this trail.



At least #8 has a view. It will be a nice place for them to find my body.

It was really all I could do to keep going, because it was hard, and I am lazy, and I know the view at the top isn't really going to be all that, but I kept going, because I said I would. I didn't want to go home and hang my head only having done 8 of 11 switchbacks. I also didn't want to come back here and do this again later this summer just to prove I could do it. I had to prove to myself I could do it, TODAY. Eventually I made it to the top of the ridge, and then the trail starts going back downhill - turns out the last few switchbacks were short and on the downhill side, so it wasn't so bad.

Finally I get to the viewpoint. Yup, there's the parking lot. Oh, and a 542 foot drop to your certain death. Lets back carefully away from that. There's a railing and all, but still...



Turn around and right behind you is a little waterfall feeding the pool that goes over the edge. Aww, that's very pretty!



I walked back up the river and sat by it, photographing the rapids, having a snack and some more water. The people thinned out and it was very peaceful. Now I was feeling pretty good about my determination and perseverance. I guess there's something to pushing yourself to meet a goal. I really feel proud of myself. I did it! And here's my reward:






There were some very pretty rapids here. I should carry a little tripod for long exposures like these.

Finally I headed back. I felt nothing but pity for all the folks who were on their way up as I enjoyed the downhill trail. Finally I was back to the Benson Bridge, and it wasn't as crowded, so now I could stop and enjoy the view of the upper falls.


That's it, I was right up there...


Wow, that's way up there!

Back past the Lodge and the fudge and ice cream stands and the smell of waffle cones, I found my wee little car and headed home. It was a good day.



_




Saturday, April 23, 2016

Beautiful spring day


Dave wanted a new headshot to show off his clean shaven look. He just finished acting in Becky's New Car in Hillsboro, and shaved and got a haircut. So I snapped a quick pic of him.

It was such a nice day, he went out and played stickball with Barclay for a few minutes. Barclay is completely obsessed with the stickball, that's all he wants to play. Got some great shots of Barclay suspended in mid-air. So cute!!







__

Monday, April 18, 2016

Latourell Falls


I headed off for another adventure in the Columbia River Gorge, but this time I went down the Oregon side, headed for Angel's Rest, which is a short hike to an overlook.



I got off in Corbett, OR, and took the Historic Columbia River Highway. There are lots of great overlooks, like this one at the Portland Women's Forum Overlook, with a view of Crown Point, and Beacon Rock in the distance.



I enjoyed top-down cruising on this little adventure, thanks to Mr Miata. Here we stopped at Crown Point, Vista House.



Vista House is a classic stopping point on any trip in the Gorge. I can even see it from Steigerwald Wildlife Refuge back home.



So I guess I shouldn't be surprised I can see Steigerwald from Crown Point! Hey, it's right down there!

I continued down the old highway, enjoying driving through the tunnel of trees, when I came to Latourell Falls. I stopped to stretch and have a look at the falls which was an easy stroll from the parking lot.



The water was coming down so hard I had a tough time keeping my lens dry!



I had a black & white assignment to do for photo club, so I used one of these shots. I liked the contrast of the water against the rocks, and the texture of the rocks.

I returned to the parking area and pulled out my Curious Gorge Guide, and saw that Latourell has a 2 mile hike up to the upper Latourell Falls, and it rated it as easy to moderate, where Angel's rest was rated moderate to difficult. Since I'm just getting in shape, I decided this sounded like a better option. I grabbed my pack and headed up the trail.



The trail is pretty, winding through the woods. Lots of little wildflowers here and there. It was shady and cool.



A few more peeks at lower Latourell Falls between the trees.



What a peaceful walk. There were other people on the trail, but not enough to be annoying. In fact I felt safer with a few people around, since I was alone.



I got tired and stopped for a break to drink some water, and laid back on a log and looked up at this amazing tree for a bit. Just think about how old that tree is! Think about the people who preserved this so we could enjoy it! We are so lucky to live in a place where that is a priority and we can afford to do so.






Finally I reached Upper Latourell Falls.



This picture doesn't do it justice! It was pounding! There was a lot of water coming off of it, a mist reaching me even though I was still quite a ways back. Maybe this video will help:


Upper Latourell Falls from Stephanie Roberts on Vimeo.


It's all downhill from here...




More pretty flowers.

Finally I came to a rest stop with a view of the Columbia River and a nice bench for sittin' and thinkin'.



Continuing down the trail, I came to this crazy tree!




And I saw a snail, which I guess isn't too exciting, except we just don't really have snails in the Portland area, I have hardly ever seen snails just hanging around. We got SLUGS, oh boy do we ever, but not snails.




Thank you, Mr Talbot!

Then the trail went back to the Historic Highway, and it was a short walk back to the parking area.



This was a really nice, easy hike, and the waterfall was totally worth it. I'm so glad I stopped to check it out!

_