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Moira/Dennis "Sea Hag & Robo Knee" Rockwell/Keis
Begins: Apr 27, 2012
Date: Wed, Jul 27th, 2016
Start: Indian Springs Campground
End: Cascade Locks
Daily Distance: 15.4
Trip Distance: 2,037.1
Entry Visits: 220
Journal Visits: 46,964
Guestbook Views: 1,445
Guestbook Entrys: 15
Day Twenty One
Up at 5:30 am. On the trail at 6:15 am. Being it is the last day, there are always emotional highs and lows. My throbbing feet are happy to be done and the hot shower beckons, but after a day off, it would be good to move forward again. The daily routine and forward progress is addictive. We have walked over 600 km across Oregon in 21 days. Even we must admit it was an accomplishment.
We decided to take the popular Eagle Creek alternate trail. Most PCT hikers take this route. I am sure it would be the official PCT route if it was equestrian friendly, but it is not. From our camp at Indian Springs, we first drop very steeply on the Indian Springs 435 Trail. This trail connected to the Eagle Creek Trail in 2 miles. It was a steep, rocky, very rough trail. From Indian Springs (4242 feet) we dropped to the Eagle Creek Trail (2567 feet) ... a drop of 1675 feet.
The Eagle Creek Trail is one of the most popular and magnificent trails in the Columbia River Gorge. We passed dozens of spectacular waterfalls through the lush temperate rain forest with tall basalt cliffs. The first significant falls we encountered was the two-tiered, 200 foot tall Twister Falls. This stretch of trail is a very exposed cliff-side pathway etched into the gorge wall. There are cable lines affixed to the cliffs to hang on to if needed. We continued on these cliff-side pathways and came around a bend and were awestruck by the 175-foot Tunnel Falls (Alt. mile 5.9 - 1092 feet). This was another drop of 1475 feet. The path passed through a tunnel behind the falls about midway through the bend. The work to build this was done in the 1910s and has been virtually unchanged since. The falls dropped from the bluffs above to the creek bed below then flowed downstream into the main Eagle creek run. The trail to Tunnel Falls was forested with a gentle grade. From there to the parking lot, the trail became rocky and slippery in places. It was slow going.
We then crossed two enormous talus slopes, then a section called "the Potholes". From there we passed the beautiful, tall, ribbon-like Wy'East Falls. We continued on and crossed Four and a Half Mile Bridge (Alt. mile 7.9 - 702 feet) to cross to the other side of the creek. We then encountered Skoonichuck Falls. From there we recrossed the creek on High Bridge (Alt. mile 8.6 - 551 feet). By this time the trail was becoming a zoo - people everywhere. We then passed Loowit Falls, Punchbowl Falls and magnificent 100-foot Metlako Falls (the tallest falls on Eagle Creek proper) before we reached the EC Rest (bathroom and water fountain) (Alt. mile 12.2 - 121 feet). From here, we followed the road out, turned towards the campground and picked up the Gorge Trail. We walked along the famous old highway to Cascade Locks, arriving at 2:00 pm.
Total Miles - 15.4
We got a room at the Bridge of the Gods Motel, retrieved Karen's car, and went back to the motel for showers. Later we went to the Ale House for dinner with our trail angel, Julie, as our hostess. We then called it a night and had a toast to a great trip.
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Moira & Dennis
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