Waterfalls and Streams are Raging this Spring!

I wrote the article below here on the ‘Couv’ Life way back in the autumn of 2013. In that article I discuss the relative calm in the stream flows as the seasonal rains had yet to really get going. Now the opposite seems true. The rivers, streams, creeks and yes our deliciously robust waterfalls are all boisterous to the point of rage at times.

With all the snow pack we managed to accumulate in the high cascades this season, no doubt the flow will be strong right through summer. We are seeing both mid and low elevation snow melt and an incessant flow of rain runoff. This can make for exciting photos in the Columbia Gorge or even right in the city in one of our amazing urban parks. I wrote about those here in “Trails of the ‘Couv'”.

Hikers should take great care as the streams and rivers are moving very rapidly with dangerously strong currents. Also the water is very cold, so much that should you fall in, you have about ten to fifteen minutes and you’re dead. Beautiful things sometimes have awe inspiring power. Take read below and I’ll be back next week.

Originally posted November 4th, 2013 on ‘The ‘Couv’ Life’ by Rod Sager

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Multnomah Falls, taken with cell phone!

I mentioned in last week’s blog post how excited I was to have a friend up from California for a visit.  I couldn’t have scripted better weather for his stay. We did the obligatory brewery and pub tour of Portland and Vancouver. We did a loop out into the Gorge east on SR-14 to Cape Horn, Bonneville Dam then across the bridge of the Gods into Cascade Locks and of course Multnomah Falls.

Then on Tuesday we spontaneously decided to drive out to a few other waterfall locations in the area. As a lazy man in the half century age group I don’t eagerly rush into major hikes anymore. So I took him to a couple of easy, practically drive up waterfalls.

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Sunset Falls on the East fork of the Lewis River

Waterfalls are a great representation of the Northwest. We do manage get a little rain around here, now and again. Water is a bounty of that rainfall. It provides us with rich and lush greenery all year-long, hydro-electric power that is cheap, clean and renewable and of course thousands of gorgeous cascades pouring down hundreds of rivers and streams. Water is at the source of everything that makes the Northwest famous. Beer? Yeah there’s water in that. Coffee? Yeah we filter water through it and drink it. Rain? Yeah, it’s water!

I happen to know my friend has always had a soft spot for streams and waterfalls. When we were younger, much younger, we used to hike all over the place taking photos. I always preferred those shady and green spots. The Pacific Northwest is about as good as it gets for lush and wet.

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Main fall at Dougan Falls on the Washougal River

This is the time of year our wonderful waterfalls are running at a fairly low volume. We had very little rain this past October so they were not the raging and roaring monsters you find in April and May. But aside from the awe-inspiring power of those spring visits, the autumn offers up a more tranquil beauty. There are delightful little cascades tumbling over rocks that are clearly defined. This makes for great photos.

Our first stop was Moulton Falls a mere 18 miles from my house. The light wasn’t really right and access was a little precarious for pictures. It was beautiful though. Next stop was just seven more miles out to Sunset Falls. The climb down to the water’s edge was slippery but we manged to avoid any unfortunate crash landings. It was gorgeous out there in the entrance to Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Our final waterfall stop was Dougan Falls out on the Skamania side of Washougal. The light was pretty soft out there and we managed to get some nice shots. Dougan Falls is about 27 miles from my house here in the ‘Couv’.

mapNone of these spots required more than a few hundred yards hike and all are great year round attractions. The waterfall drive was really kind of seat of the pants decision. Had I planned it out a little better, I would have found some pretty spectacular cataracts just as close by with short hikes. I think I will research it and come up with a local waterfall hiking tour.

If any of you have a favorite waterfall spot (not mentioned here today) drop a comment and tell us all about it.

Isn’t the ‘Couv’ Life great. So much, so close. Ah, the ‘Couv’ Life, it is good.

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