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Another Portland Blog

Monday, July 27, 2009

 

Eagle Creek

A few friends and I recently hiked along Eagle Creek. It's one of the dicier but most picturesque hikes to be found in the Columbia River Gorge. The trail is notorious for its vertigo-inducing cliffs and cable hand railings. While it's hardly as crazy as these two, accidents and even deaths have occurred along its steep drop-offs. The New York Times "Frugal Traveler" also wrote an article about the area back in May.




On a sunny Saturday though, Eagle Creek doesn't have much of a "Suspension Bridge at the End of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" vibe. While we were up there the trail was littered with hoards of backpackers, families and kilt-clad school groups.

We never did figure out what was up with the kilts.




Still, these photos may make the area seem empty and serene, especially the one of Punchbowl Falls. It served as the inspiration for the back cover of a Styx album in the '70s. A few hundred yards down from the waterfall there was an area deep enough for cliff-diving, not that any of us took the opportunity to give it a shot. We stood across the way while one swimmer took around five minutes to summon up the courage to take the leap.




The trail goes on for dozens of miles. We made it as far as Tunnel Falls before turning back. The 120-foot waterfall drops past a man-made cave. Passing through, it seemed like the walls were going to give way at any second and water was leaking through cracks in the ceiling. Exciting? Hair raising? Eh, maybe a little bit.

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