Friday, July 13, 2012

Eagle Creek - 4th of July

What better way to celebrate America than hiking one of the most beautiful trails that I've ever been on.  The Eagle Creek trail through Tunnel Falls and up to Twister Falls.

This is how I spent my fourth of July.

I got lost...  Well actually I was just on the wrong trail.  The Tanner Creek trail is just one valley over from Eagle Creek and is a 3 mile loop to Wahclella Falls.  I'd done the same thing a few years ago taking my brothers to Tunnel Falls.  Only after backtracking a little to figure out where I'd missed the trail did the déjà vu kick in.  On the way back I also realized that I didn't have any money for a forest pass.  The only free parking around was were I parked.  I saw a trail marked 3 miles to Eagle Creek Recreation Area, so I went for it.

This little guy reminded me of Joshua, when we are on hikes he'll save little critters from the trail so they don't get stepped on.  He would have moved this little guy to safety.  Though there was no one on this stretch of trail  anyway.  Probably because it went straight up and over the mountain to the next valley.  I took another wrong turn taking the high road that gave me a nice dead end aerial view of the trail head 900 feet below.  That one cost me 2 miles and 1800 ft. of elevation change.

So after an 8 mile false start I was finally on the trail.  It's 7.5 from there to Twister Falls.

I took my first brake at Punchbowl Falls.  Took off my boots and waded in the water.  Stacked some rocks and took a little nap.  I must have looked worn out and skinny because someone offered me a sandwich.  I accepted.  Actually I overheard a family asking if anyone had a knife so they could cut a tomato.  No one did so I went over and dug through my backpack and found mine and offered it to them, the sandwich and some fruit was their thank you. 

Arwen will be proud to know that I found plenty of food in the wild too.  One of my favorite shows to watch with her is Man vs Wild.  We have fun planning outings (in the back yard) where we'll try some of the stuff he does on the show.  Well other than the snail and the sandwich the only edible things I actually came across were berries.  I found and ate Huckleberries, Salmon-berries, Thimble-berries, and the most delicious...wild Strawberries.
These little guys had all the flavor of a large hood strawberry concentrated into a little bitty berry.

I spent a lot of time on the narrow cliff hugging trails hunting for these instead of watching my step.

Here's the view from High Bridge ~13 miles into my hike.

A few miles latter I was at Tunnel falls.

The Hobbit in me loves this tunnel.

I lugged my tripod up all this way and figured I might as well use it.

If you squint at this picture the bright area makes a cool spiral.

Here I am just above Twister Falls taking my next break.  By this time I smelled like I'd taken a shower in stale sweat and dried off with a wet dog.  Doing the math I'd be getting back to the car around 9:00 so I didn't hang out here to long.

10.5 miles latter I was back at the car with enough daylight to see that I was the lucky one not to get my windows broken.  There was glass a few spots over from me.  I don't have anything worth steeling anyway, I should just leave the car unlocked.  That 's the problem with free parking.

Though it felt like 10,000 feet of elevation change I don't think you can trust it.  With much of the trail carved into the side of cliffs a few meters to either side changes elevation by hundreds of feet and a GPS is just not accurate enough to keep me on a narrow little trail.

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