|Gifford Pinchot Waterfalling I, WA|| |
Gifford Pinchot Waterfalling I, WA
||no linked trail guides|
|This was our second trip up around the Gorge mostly armed with Scott Cook's book "Curious Gorge." We bought it in the library a while back, ignoring all the full color glossy books, in favor of the unique layout (and campy descriptions) with an "Obscurometer" for each location. There are plenty of off the grid locations that go into detail on things like free entry points, take the secret trail just past the curved tree, and even where safe nakes can take place. We started with the book, then utilized the amazing waterfallsnorthwest.com site, then researched further until I could no more.|
People and organizations like this amaze me because of the freeness of location help. Most people won't or can't do all the work of the offtrail bread crumb stuff anyway, but it's still a different experience than other "clubs" (I'm looking at you cavers, offroaders, and even urban explorers) where everything has to be hidden, unshared, unnamed, leave the pink ribbon at home and stay on the trails attitude. I'm a member of most of those groups so I get some of the reasons, I just really find the offtrail waterfall people so refreshing and so darn likable. Anyway, here's part one of the trip.
We flew into Eugene (Allegiant) and drove up to a cheap Airbnb tiny house in the old growth woods. Frogs singing all night, moss on the shingles, the whole tiny thing. We finished the drive to the Gorge and into Washington the next morning. Against all that I'm about, we headed to a campground- But one that is listed as defunct, free, unsigned and abandoned by the forest service. There was a sign back up at the entrance but everything else checked out. We got a small spot down the hill and on the water across from Twin Falls. This was a base camp so it was good that it was easy to access and just a couple 100yds from the vehicle. There is a harder to get to camp across the creek if you cross the fallen tree, but again, I was going for easy base with waterfall view. We set up camp then headed back to the rental- which even though we paid for subcompact, got a big ol' Impala.
Given that it was awesomely overcast this day, We decided to do the bigger falls today and do the smaller ones around camp ones the next day. So the roads up in the Gifford are pretty bad- even the paved ones. We took one route (32) and even though I'm fine with mudding a white Chevy, it got to where the possibility of turtling it between two mudpuddles was getting to be too high, so I had to turn around. Back at the main road to try a little reach around, we found that the good double-lined, yellow-filled, paved road (88) on the map was washed totally out. Well all right.
I do love my maps. Map told me there was another 'nother way around (8810/8860). We reached it, found some gravel, dips and hills, and kept moving until we connected back up with the other end of paved washout road. At the big tire in the middle of the road that marked the junction, we continued on to another paved road (8851). And the vegetation did groweth over- We're slapping both mirrors now. And the road did slide awayeth- I got out 3 times to plan the rental's diagonal descent over the uneven cracks. It made it without grind or gas stomp. And we finally made it to the start of destination 1 - Little Niagara Falls.
This was an overly hard day. First we downclimbed to find we had over shot the falls. Then we started over and downclimbed to find we had under shot the falls. This was awesome because we got to find bonus falls. This was bad because the fertile Earth opened up and swallowed my leg causing my other leg to go awry and finish tearing my meniscus, and getting a good stigmata hand stab in the process. Well all right, add a thing to the list. I do the weird bendy thing to clear most of the cartilage from the joint and we continue on. We shoot the lower 2 falls, then make our own path up them and over to the real show stopper.
Little Niagara is a girthy falls. 85' tall but a max width of 150'. Lots of spray. Huge downed tree logs help show the scale.
After heading back to the car I sadly abandoned the idea of hitting the 227' falls down the washed out street until I come back with some 4wd and clearance. Note: There is a great truck camp between the bridge and LN Falls.
We passed back the way we came, stopping at Langfield Falls (low flow during the summer, easy signed trail down, walk-in camp available near parking).
The sun had come out but was starting to go down so I hiked over to Little Goose Creek Falls to shoot it (unsigned, footpath, offtrail to bottom).
We then did the full return to camp and got dinner and the fire going.
We saw no one that day aside from the handful at the campground.
|May he guide you through the wilderness : protect you through the storm;|
May he bring you home rejoicing : at the wonders he has shown you;
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