Gordon Creek Falls. Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. Spectacular!
Four years ago I went into the gorge to try and capture Gordon Creek Falls. I was by myself and the description sounded pretty easy. Short hike ending with a short easy scramble over some rocks to the falls. No problem…right? Not. As I got to the end of the trail I was faced with a dead end. Directly in front of me was one of those 2-story mammoth rocks that that are all over the gorge. Beautiful and awe-inspiring but when they are in your way, they can be a pain in the you know what. It looked like some folks had scrambled up to the left of the obstacle. This was a STEEP incline and since I was by my self there was no way I was going to risk going up there. To the right was Gordon Creek. The water level then was quite high and again…no way being by my self. So I left with my tail between my legs.
Fast forward to 3 days ago. I was in the gorge and near Wyeth Campground (where the trailhead to Gordon Creek Falls and other destinations is located). So I decided to try it again. There was one other car at the trailhead so there was a chance I could have company. Up the trail I headed. This time the water level was fairly low and the fall colors were in abundance so at the very least I was blessed with many beautiful scenes along the creek. I came to the house-sized rock only to be faced with the same thing I experienced 4 years earlier (except the high water levels). Not a sole to be found, so I wasn’t about to scramble up that steep grade around the obstacle. As I contemplated my next move I heard something. It was a fellow photographer coming down from the falls. So I waited to see his path down to my location. He did not go around the giant rock but rather directly down the creek. I asked him how it was and he said “amazing”. He was referring to the waterfall and I was talking about the route up there. He was it was fine…it just takes time and I would probably get wet crossing the creek.
So I decided to give it a go. Once again I was totally alone and the movie 127 Hours was firmly in my mind. I had not told a sole where I was going and my wife was 5000 miles away in North Africa. But I decided why not…what’s the worst thing that can happen? Oh yeah…that movie…at least I didn’t have a knife 🙂
Using extreme caution I made my way up the creek. It was well worth the effort. It was slow and WET but it was getting late. I made it nearly all the way but not to the base of the falls before I was forced to turn around. I will be going back and next time will allow more time to make it all the way.
Like he said…AMAZING!
Here is a shot takes along the creek.