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!


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