Sunday, June 1, 2008

eagle creek - an excursion into the heart of oregon's natural beauty

thank you to greg and lucas who finally made their pics of this trip available
now i can write about it!

after a month of unemployment and living in Tigard, OR suburbia, i decided it was high time for a little adventure
i needed to experience the strongest and freshest atmosphere of freedom possible
backpacking seemed the most likely choice to me and i was prepared to head out alone if necessary
as luck would have it, however, based on the most favorable weather forecasts, i managed to pick a date that fit nicely with greg and lucas' work schedules (an unprecedented accomplishment, even when purposely attempted)
incidentally, it also turned out to be on my birthday
so that was that and we prepared to go
i read about eagle creek in a hiking book, and it seemed like a pleasant hike - not too strenuous, isolated from civilization, feasibly approachable for a two day journey, and full of beautiful waterfalls and wilderness
with a comfortably-late start, we were off!
on the roadat the trail head, tying down the gear (greg doesn't think the folding chair is a good idea)lucas soon has trouble with his sleeping bagwater continuously poured down the cliff-faces, often creating this surreal cascading effect that was captivating and sonorous
as luck would have it, i actually did choose a beautiful day to set out and the sun was shining more brightly than it had for a long time
as a result, the snow had been melting a LOT
that meant there were waterfalls EVERYWHERE with dripping cliffs along every path
it was as if the whole valley was melting away
and it seemed as if we were venturing into a place well apart from the world of mana pretty, mossy forestmore cascading cliff flows - where the steepness of the cliff angled back in on itself, the falling water created a sort of tunnel as it poured over our heads and past usgreg spots punchbowl falls and a path that leads down to its spoutpunchbowl fallsthe canyon from abovethe falls up closeat a quiet place on the valley floor, a little upstream of punchbowl, we take a break in the sunshinewe climb back up to the path and soon stumble across a bridge leading to the other side of the valleylucas on a different bridge that takes us across once againnow the cliffs are getting more vertical, so that the path has to be cut into the rock-face
the views are spectacularthe thundering tunnel fallsentering the tunnelawe-inspiringyet another bridgeanother breath-taking waterfall
this one is unnamedlooking back from the top of the unnamed falls - now we are really high up
greg stands at the edge of the path where it curves around the cornerno far is our camping areadelicious camping-fare: crackers, cucumber, summer sausage, cheese, winethe camp was ~30m from the top of the waterfall
as a result, all the nearby wood and heather were unsalvageably damp
despite the asset of our eagle scout (greg) we had no fire
we were forced to resort to alternative methods of keeping warm, the details of which we will take to our gravesgettin' cozy until greg's camera flash blinds us, causing permanent damage to our retinasa refreshing and chilly morning the return journeytunnel falls once againour final moments behind the beloved falls

home (and breakfast) is in sight

thanks so much to lucas and greg for this indescribably awesome trip
i really need this
and especially what with leaving the northwest for what will likely be a long time...
it was the best birthday ever!


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