Friday, October 10, 2014

14 Waterfalls+3 Lakes=2 Awesome Days

Dana started Fall of right by trekking through the woods to find some waterfalls that were on his list. But first a special thanks to an awesome wife that let him go in the first place.

Several of these waterfalls are in the heart of the Gifford Pinchot NF and 7 of them had no trail to them. So, with a map, a GPS and some descent directions I went into the woods.

The first stop was Chambers Creek Falls (1). It was a shorter scramble than some, but well worth it:


A nice view of Mt. Adams and then a stop at Walupt Lake:


I located the suggested starting point to get to Walupt Creek Falls. Soon, I found the log jam to cross the creek and bushwhacked through the forest.


I passed Upper and Middle Walupt Creek Falls (2 and 3):


Then I came to the cliff-side view of the giant that is Walupt Creek Falls (4):


I found the faint path to the bottom and had a lot of fun climbing around the falls. They are very big and hard to get into one photo (221 feet tall, 267 feet across, and a run of over 400 feet).


The water was very cold, but the low water level allowed me to get a shot of myself in the falls. At high water nearly the whole face can be covered.


There was a nice little pool created where the falls entered the Cispus River with cool rock pillars seemingly watching over it.


After that hike, I found a nice place to camp on the side of a dirt road for the night. The next day I drove over a pass on a very iffy dirt road (about the middle is when I knew I should have gone around), but I made it to Olallie Lake and then Takhlakh Lake, with its nice view of Mt. Adams.


Near Babyshoe Pass I found what was left of Babyshoe Falls (5) at a lower water level.


Big Spring Creek Falls (6) has three tiers and a lot of pretty moss:


My next big scramble was to Steamboat Falls (7) on the Lewis River. I really liked this one and how it sat in this rock section of the river.


Twin Falls (8) flow into the Lewis River at a defunct campground. You could already tell Autumn was here with all the pretty colors.


Langfield Falls (9) is very pretty:


The trailhead is right near Big Tire Junction. Can you tell how it got that name?


I noticed this little trail that had a spot where Native Americans had peeled the bark of some cedar trees to use for a multitude of purposes. Apparently you can find trees with the peeled bark through out the region.


My next goal was to get a better view of Little Goose Creek Falls. I have been to this canyon before, but did not find the way down.

Upper Little Goose Creek Falls (10) and the cool basalt column cliff:


Little Goose Creek Falls (11). I got down to them, and then my camera ran out of batteries, and my backup was not charged. But I still got some nice shots.


Trout Lake Creek Falls (12), they are small, but very pretty. I also got a Huckleberry milkshake at the Trout Lake Café.


Heading south to the Gorge along the White Salmon River, I stopped at BZ Falls (13):


And Husum Falls (14), where I got lucky and watched several kayakers run the falls multiple times. It was fun to watch them.


Bonus: With the recent rains after a long dry spell, the mushrooms were out in full force. These are two I thought were pretty cool looking.


Camping Near Some Water and a Hike Up Some Stairs!


To end our summer we spent two nights at Lower Lewis River Falls Campground. It is a very nice place and you sleep within earshot of the beautiful and large Lower Lewis River Falls.





We spent the first evening exploring the falls:


Friday, we headed up to the northwest side of Mt. St. Helens.


This area still shows signs of the searing hot ash cloud that destroyed the forest.IMG_2138IMG_2264


Magnus thought this car that was flattened was pretty interesting.





We took the short trail to Meta Lake, decimated by the eruption, but now teaming with life.


Dana likes to find the high numbers of frogs here. These little guys have just recently emerged from being tadpoles. Aren’t they adorable?



A nice view of Spirit Lake, still filled with logs from the devastated forests.


At the end of the road is Windy Ridge. There is a good view of the mountain by the car, or you can get a 360º view of the mountain and surrounding valleys and peaks by climbing the 368 steps to the top of the ridge.


Everyone made it to the top; Magnus even did it himself.


Windy Ridge and the stairs:


On the way back to camp, Dana stopped to see Iron Creek Falls


Lower Lewis River Falls in the evening:



Anton came up the second night. And when it was dark enough we went up to a nice viewpoint to stargaze. The viewpoint was very busy with people. We were all hoping to get a glimpse of the Northern Lights. Solar flare activity that weekend gave our area a chance of seeing the magical lights, but only a chance. We waited for quite awhile, but they did not show. But we did enjoy the thousands of other celestial lights. It was even light enough to see the mountain.

Saturday morning we had a nice time around our camp before we headed back home.


We stopped at the same viewpoint as the night before to mountain gaze. Magnus wanted a picture of his transformer with Mt. St. Helens too.