Columbia Gorge – Oneonta Gorge



OCTOBER 7, 2012

Info:  From the Oregon Hike Book by Sean Patrick Hill. The Columbia Gorge, as impressive as it is, isn’t the only gorge around here. Take the Oneonta Gorge, for instance, a narrow slot sliced into sheer volcanic rock extending back more than a mile into the cliffs. On a summer day, with the right clothes and footwear, it’s possible to wade back into the gorge to a secret waterfall. The more common way to see this gorge is to climb up and around it, passing numberous falls and crossing a crazily high bridge on your way to a triple waterfall falling on Oneonta Creek.

Directions: From Portland, drive I-84 east to Exit 35 for Ainsworth Park and follow the Columbia Highway to the right 1.5 miles to the Horsetail Falls Trailhead parking area.

Jenn’s View: This is an interesting hike. More of climbing logs and wading to shoulder height water and a little bit of rock climbing. THIS WAS FUN AND HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! As long as you are not afraid of getting wet and cold and climbing.

OKAY OKAY, I know it has been FOREVER since I have written on this blog. I’m catching up. I still have a couple hikes that were done early 2013. It’s June 2, 2013 and I’m working on a 2012 entry?!?!?! What’s up with that?!?! Sheez, for geez-sakes Jenn – get to the point! Well, one reason I had a delay in hikes or entry is this:

Foot Surgery

I had foot surgery on January 23, 2013 and recovery is gonna be at least 6 months. I can do some things (most things) now but every now and then my foot reminds me of my surgery. I will be getting the other foot done the end of this year —  I know I know – just get on with the hike, we are tired reading about your foot.

Okay, I drove from Scott’s house in Terrebonne to the Columbia Gorge to meet Jodi for this special hike. I kept promising her that I would go hiking with her in the Gorge so be it… we did it. I forgot I had both my dogs, Shadowlynn and Muffy so hoping for something easy because of Muffy. Hmmm, I was in for a surprise.

Now this place gets photographed quite often. It’s absolutely beautiful with the right camera and lighting condition. Too bad, I didn’t have a camera but just my camera phone. I really need to invest in a camera :(.

Here is a one of the photographs of the place when the water level is insane. This photo credit belongs to Peter Lik.  I saw his gallery in Miami and fell in love with his work.

Photo by Peter Lik

Photo by Peter Lik

The first obstacle is to face the very steep stairs. With a dog that pulls, I had to be extra careful not to fall.

Steep stairs!

Steep stairs!

Just a few steps you will see interesting little coves and then low and behold you come to your next obstacle. Getting older, I tend to be a bit more cautious on what I climb and what I do. I seem to lose my balance easier than when I was younger.
So, I had to lift Shadowlynn up on these logs along with Jodi’s dog Maxie. Of course, my dog is hesitant and resists the assistance on these logs but I can’t leave her behind, so up so she goes. Maxie seems to do better and notice she absolutely LOVES water. Shadowlynn’s Lab part of her never kicks in but her Bordie Collie side does and HATES the water. She’s shaking and shivering like I’m going to sentence her to death but she did well and made it over ALL while I am holding Muffy in one arm!
Oneonta Gorge  Oneonta Gorge  Oneonta Gorge
Okay, We made it over all that mumbo jumbo logs, dogs and all! Now is the wet spots… We had to cross the creek, wade in the creek, and try to avoid the creek from getting into should height waters by climbing the rocks. Mind you, it’s October! The water is sooooooo cold. My feet are already numb from going through the water. I should have worn sandals. I had to figure out what to do with Muffy most of the time because she has never swam in the water and man, she has no undercoat so nothing is going to keep her warm. But we did it and we made it!
160  141  Oneonta Gorge
Oneonta Gorge
Oneonta Gorge
Holding Muffy while crossing the creek!
Oneonta Gorge
If I’m not holding her, she’s in my backpack!
In order to get to the waterfall, you have to decide whether or not to go THRU the water or try to go around. The bravest goes through but the ones who are smart, climbs the wall with a dog in their backpack! LOL
Oneonta Gorge
Once you cross the water, you have reached the end and to the small waterfall. I bet it’s bigger during the Fall/Spring time but I bet you would have to take a canoe in or something.
Oneonta Gorge Oneonta Gorge Oneonta Gorge
Now it wouldn’t be my blog without a picture of me. Muffy became camera shy….
Jennifer Piol

Jennifer Piol

My bestie and me finally hitting the Gorge!

Oneonta Gorge

Jodi Williams (Gibbons) and Jennifer Piol

I highly recommend this hike but prepared to be cold and wet…. Have fun and don’t forget to check out our Facebook page…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Columbia Gorge – Shepperd’s Dell


MAY 25, 2011

Info: Taken from Friends of the Columbia Gorge website (

The short paved trail to the falls can be found on the east side of the bridge. The lower falls is a horsetail formation  and the upper falls is a plunge formation.The falls total height is 220 ft. The name of the creek is Youngs Creek.
Here the Sheppards Dell Bridge on the Historic Columbia River Highway crosses over a dell, a small wooden valley. This is significant since this was the answer to one of the engineering challenges of the highway’s construction. The dell was carved by a creek that includes two fairly substantial tumbling waterfalls. Due to the topography of the area, it is difficult to photograph the falls. As such, the bridge is what is normally pictured, and thus is arguably better known than the dell itself or the waterfall.

Directions: Sheppards Dell Falls is located immediately off of the Historic Columbia River Highway, 4 miles east of Crown Point or about 1.75 miles west of Bridal Veil State Park. Parking can be found on the east side of the bridge, with a short trail leading to a viewpoint adjacent to the lower portion of the falls.

Jenn’s View: Not even a hike but a nice waterfall nonetheless. The picture is hard to get when you get real close. The railing prevents you from getting any good shots but without the railing the path is pretty narrow and the drop off is pretty dangerous. 🙂  Great stop before you do any hiking around the area.

Columbia Gorge – Latourell Falls


MAY 24, 2012

Info: Taken from the Friends of the Columbia Gorge website ( Beginning from the Latourell Falls Trailhead, follow the paved viewpoint trail up to the viewpoint. From here, a dirt path leads away to the left, steeply around the basin. Look for side views of the falls, particularly in the winter, when the trees have lost their leaves. The trail climbs for about 1/3 of a mile to a bench at the top of the falls.

The main trail continues southward beside the creek. The trail here is rocky in places and the undergrowth next to the trail is very thick, blocking most views in the summer. The trail crosses four pleasant, small wooden bridges and then comes to Upper Latourell Falls. This waterfall is a two tiered drop: first a block fall that’s almost hidden and then a plunge into a pool. The trail crosses Latourell Creek at the base of the falls and heads back down the west side of Henderson creek. Follow the trail to the Historic Columbia River Highway.

Hikers can return to the trailhead by hiking across the bridge, but there’s more trail fun to be had. Across the road, there’s an old set of stairs that start a trail dropping down into Guy Talbot Park. The trail drops down to a parking area with picnic tables. From here another paved trail heads back under the highway bridge to the base of Latourell Falls. The bridge, dating from 1914, is interesting in its own right, with special lightweight construction due to the unstable soils in the area. At the falls, the lichen-covered columnar basalt formations around the falls steal the show. From here, it’s a short, paved, uphill hike to the parking lot.

Directions: From Portland, drive east on I-84 to Exit 28 (Bridal Veil). Turn Right on the Historic Highway and drive 2.8 miles to the Latourell Falls Parking lot on the left. From the east, take exit 35 (Ainsworth Park). Drive 10.8 miles west on the Historic Highway to the same lot.

Jenn’s View: Since this was the only “TRUE” hike I did, I really enjoyed this one. It was about 2+ miles round trip and I think I took a wrong turn somewhere because I didn’t end up at the parking lot that I originally started in. I wasn’t too far off though :). Great hike for the family. I saw little tiny kids on the trail. They have this rated as moderate and I would have to agree at the beginning of the trail. It does “SLOWLY” climb up so not too hard or strenuous.  Meaning, slow elevation gain. Take the kids and the dogs! Dogs must be on a leash. I didn’t get great pictures. The lighting was off – too much sun. The best place that I had a blast taking pictures was Bridal Veil. I am soooo not a professional or even an amateur, I just take pics to add to the blogs.

From the parking lot, you climb up the paved path to a viewing area of Latourell Falls. Talked to a family who had a young German Shepherd and three kids.  One of the kids bent down in front of Shadowlynn’s face and my dog jumped up to either lick her or just “bonk” her on her nose. I was busy talking with the mom and not paying attention to her little girl. Gave her a bloody nose and felt soooo bad!

Please please please, educate your children on the importance of NOT going up to a dog without owner’s consent or without owner’s supervision. OR bending down and being eye level to a stranger’s dog.

(BTW, the”professional picture above to the right here was not taken by me. It is from the Friends of the Columbia Gorge website)

From the viewpoint, there is a trail that starts the slow climb up. I think that was probably the hardest part of the trail besides all the deep mud puddles you encounter on the trail.

I came to the falls and loved how “neon green” the moss was next to the water. Had to take a picture, of course.

Climbing up the hill, I saw a couple of people on this log taking pictures of the river/creek/stream so I patiently waited my turn and got on that log. It freaked me out because it was quite slippery and my stupid dog kept running back and forth on the log with me on it! She has absolutely no manners and will knock you off first chance she gets because you are in HER way.

I didn’t get any good shots from this bridge, probably because I wouldn’t walk all the way across fearing my dog would knock me off. Here is what I managed to get. Nothing spectacular.

Hiked up a bit more and decided to stop and eat my Subway Sammich. MMMM yummy… 9 grain Honey Oat with Turkey and cheddar cheese. Add spinach, tomatoes, jalapenos, a little bit of mayo and mustard and got myself a awesome lunch. Shared the meat with Shadowlynn, of course. While sitting there, I heard a crack and large branches from the tree next to me fell. Didn’t hurt me or the dog but that was our cue to go. Came to the first bridge of the hike. You encounter a few.

It was so muddy on the trail. My poor shoes. Someone asked me (Scott’s Aunt Cathy) what shoes I normally wear and for the love of God, I couldn’t remember. Probably because I was nervous meeting the family for the first time. They are KEENS! That’s right! Need to do a product review on those babies here soon. I didn’t get a shot of the little cascading stream at the bridge. I figure I get enough of those. LOL

We finally get to the upper part and we have Upper Latourell Falls. Real pretty but the spray from the water and the amount of people on the trail made it quite difficult to get a shot.


I moved further down and across the bridge but someone with a camera/tripod was out taking pictures. He was patiently awaiting for people to pass. Nice equipment but I think he gave up to trying to take a picture of this fall. He kept wiping his camera lens.

While I was waiting for the people to pass, I found a little stream and started taking pictures.

Heading down, I found these flowers I would love to add to my potted plants. Not really sure what they are but they awfully pretty. While going down, I came to a fork in the road. I did take the path to the right thinking I would end at the bottom path and back to the highway, but I swore that path ended so I climbed back up and took the other path. Hmmm…It was a bigger path! Every now and then you would get a break in the tree line so you can see the Gorge but the trees are pretty big that it was hard to see. Like I said at the beginning, I didn’t end up at the parking lot. I did however end up NEAR the parking lot, close to the bridge.

Overall, I think this hike was pretty nice. We got a great break from the winter weather we have been having to enjoy and soak up the sun. Even though my allergies were killing me, I still had a marvelous time!

It wouldn’t be my blog without a picture of me! he he or Shadowlynn

Opal Creek Wilderness – Henline Falls Trail


May 30, 2011

Info: Taken from the US Forest Service ( The trail meanders through young Douglas-fir and Western Hemlock forest. The trail ends at Henline Falls. Here you will find remnants of old mining from the 1930’s. A mine adit was built into the solid rock wall and goes back in about 1500 feet.

Directions: From Salem, travel East on Hwy 22 to milepost 23 at the Swiss Village Restaurant. Turn left on North Fork Road, which is marked “Little North Santiam Recreation Area”. Travel about 19 miles to forest road 2207 junction, continue past this junction for ¼ mile. Trailhead is on the left side.
This also provides access to Ogle Mountain Trail #3357 where it intersects with Henline Falls trail.

Jenn’s View: I really do like this hike. It’s real easy and quick so if I have the urge to do something close, I can go here. I would probably head up to Silver Creek Falls but it’s normally crowded so I don’t go there as much. Plus, if you are courageous enough you can go in the mine…I wouldn’t suggest going pass the barrier though. It freaked me out! All I can imagine is something crawling on the ceiling and then grab me and pull me in!

The first time I did this was with my daughter, Makaila Hunter.  She’s so funny and fun to hike with. Of course, I brought Shadowlynn with us and she was sporting her wonderful doggie backpack that carries nothing in it. It’s terrible to hold anything in it, I just use so I can spot her. 🙂 The Dog

You go through the woods and it’s a pretty flat area to hike into so the hike was pretty easy. Most of the pictures taken were when we reached the falls.

A couple of pictures of us. It wouldn’t be my blog without a picture of me :)!

We did manage to do another hike very close by. These pictures were taken with my camera phone and my ELPH camera. Unfortunately, my little ELPH broke.

Taken at river levelIt's Jenn

REVISIT: March 11, 2012
So, silly me decided to once again go hiking and be unprepared for snow. Gosh darn snow! Besides, Scott Wenger had my snow pants when we went skiing that last time I was in Sisters, Oregon. EEEK. First time skiing since 6th grade. Quite comical on skis. I think I should invest in snow shoes.

Here was my drive in. I drive a 4 door Honda Accord so any snow – blah for my car. I love my little car especially now that the gas price is over $4.00 a gallon so my SUV has to wait once again.

Sorry it’s such a dark picture but the settings of my camera were way off and I forgot to adjust them before taking the pictures.

There was another car parked in front of the sign so I know that someone else was on the trail. You would normally do the self issued pass that is located on the sign in the little box but there were none so I didn’t fill it out. Next time, I should leave a small pad of paper and see who would write on it to tell me about the trail. hmmmm…. SCIENCE EXPERIMENT!

To Henline Falls and Ogle Mountain

Most of the trail was covered in snow. Man, it would have been nice to have my snow pants, just saying….

You come to a fork in the road. To the right, that’s the trail to Ogle Mountain. I wouldn’t take that road just quite yet. It’s long and bit more difficult.

You know when you are on the right track when you come to the sign to Henline Falls

When you are on the trail, you will start hearing the water… At the end of the path is good ol’ Henline Falls

Wouldn’t be a blog without a picture of me….Isn’t that what I normally say?

Central Oregon – Tumalo Falls (#20)

 December 3, 2011
Info: (from my Hiking book: Oregon Hiking: The Complete Guide to More than 490 Hikes). The people who call Bend home are lucky to live such a short distance from such incredible beauty. Here, for instance, at the end of a long paved road into the forest is not one, but several waterfalls on Tumalo Creek, which flows all the way down to Bend, passing through Shevlin Park. In 1979, a wildfire started by a campfire burned off six-square-miles of stately trees. It’s amazing how much the forest has recovered, and this hike doesn’t stay long in the burn before getting into the good high-country forests. Follow the South Fork Trail 0.2 mile to the right to find the top of 97-foot Tumalo Falls. Continue along the creek another 3.2 miles, passing four sets of waterfalls along the way. At a junction, go left on the Swampy Lakes Trail 2.1 miles on a high ridge (note that this trail enters Bend Watershed, and that animals and mountain bikes are not allowed). Then follow the Bridge Creek Trail to the left 1.3 miles back to the lot.
Directions: From downtown Bend, turn west on Franklin Avenue. Just past Drake Park, turn right on Galveston Road, which becomes Skyliner Drive. After 10 miles or so, Skyliner crosses over Tumalo Creek where you’ll fork left onto Tumalo Falls Road. Follow this washboard gravel road for 2-3 miles where it ends at the picnic area to the trailhead, approximately 12 miles west of Bend with several hiking and mountain biking trails nearby. 
So, this wasn’t my first choice on my adventurous weekend hike. The hike that I did want to do was completely covered in snow so I decided to make a trip out to Central Oregon to visit my man and see if we can find this fall that eluded us a few weeks ago. My drive to Terrebonne is always a pretty drive. Decided to test my “borrowed” camera at the Detroit Dam.  Didn’t do to bad.
Not sure what this green “orb” is all about but it’s on my next picture.
Would have been a great picture except for this green flying saucer on my picture.

Scott and I tried to find this fall a few weeks ago thinking it would be in the Tumalo State Park – Yeah, NOT. This time, I left the directions on my phone so we could find it easily. Also texted Scott the directions just in case too. The gate that leads straight to the park was locked so we had to hike in. The hike was approximately 2.5 miles from the gate to the falls. Good walk but would have preferred to drive in because I would love to have seen the other falls as well.  I think the snow would have prevented that from happening anyways. Kids enjoyed the walk in – not so much the walk back to the car. 
The handsome boys! Tre and Scott
 So, testing my photographic skills and took a picture of the moon. Can you see it??? Can ya? Can ya?

Mason had a great time with the ice. Slipping and sliding every where but he was laughing so I’m thinking he wasn’t getting hurt. 
After awhile we finally get to the bridge and notice there are quite a few trails that lead every where! Can’t wait to go back in the Spring/Summer to do a few of those! So excited!

We took a few pictures on the bridge. Here I go again, testing my photographic skills

Mason and dad taking pictures
He doesn’t look cold, does he?

Just follow the bend in the road and voila, you hit the base of the falls

To get to the top of the falls, you follow a trail straight up about 1/4 miles. Harder when it’s snow and ice but overall pretty easy.

I bet he’s cold!
Here they come!

Since I had a “borrowed” camera, I took most of the pictures but it wouldn’t be a blog without ONE picture of me.  (I would have taken my normal “self-portraits” but my fingers were numb and I wouldn’t take my gloves off!)

Pictures I took while I was waiting for the boys to show

Love the ice and the snow!

Picture of the creek. I’m assuming this is the creek that we would follow to see the other waterfalls. I’ll update the blog when I return in the Spring/Summer – or possibly early Fall.

Looking downstream

This hike was pretty easy overall. Well, at least the hike going IN to the park. I HIGHLY suggest that you drive in so you will have to wait till Spring/Summer before the gate is open. That way, you will have time to do all the other trails in the area or most of them or ONE LONG one.

Santiam State Forest – Abiqua Falls (#19 )

Click on the picture to make it bigger!
October 23, 2011

Info:  ( Abiqua Falls is a near-perfect free-falling waterfall of 92 feet in height set amid a spectacular basaltic amphitheater, framed by some of the best examples of columnar jointing that can be found in western Oregon. That the bedrock is basaltic has allowed various shades of moss and lichen to flourish in the canyon – with one section of the walls stained a bright orangeish-red by the growth in a similarly unique fashion as Latourell Falls in the Columbia River Gorge. The falls were the site of what was at one point thought to be a world record for the tallest waterfall run in a kayak. The kayakers who established the feat measured the falls at 101 feet tall, which differs from the measurement taken when reviewed for this database by 9 feet (though this is probably within an acceptable margin of error given the methods used, but it did not look like 100 feet to my eye). Abiqua Falls lies on land owned by the Mount Angel Abbey (rather than the surrounding Silver Falls Tree Farm as initially believed), who have graciously allowed public access to the falls. Between April and July of 2010 they had posted the land because of concerns about liability but as of the beginning of July 2010, they have once again opened the falls to access. Please remember to be a courteous and conscious visitor if you seek out this magnificent waterfall – pack out whatever you bring with you and behave as you would in a guest’s home. We are privileged to have access to this waterfall and we should be grateful for the Abbey for being so willing to go to the lengths they saw necessary to continue to allow the public to visit.
From the town of Scotts Mills, follow Crooked Finger Road for 10 3/4 miles (1.25 miles past the end of the pavement) and turn right on an unmarked road at a sign for an ORV area. Follow this road downhill, ignoring all spurs, for 2.25 miles to the end of the road at a gate and park. The road down is rough and steep in places and is not well suited to low clearance vehicles. From the end of the road, walk 100 feet back along the road to the trail which leads steeply downhill to the creek and falls in about 1/2 mile. The trail can be slick and muddy when its been raining so exercise caution when hiking downhill.
Latitude 44.92611 N
Longitude -122.56778 W
Elevation 1200 feet
Jenn’s View:  I would NEVER take my Honda Accord on this road. Glad we had Joyce’s SUV to get us through the stretch that would have killed my car. BUT I did see someone come down with a Subaru Outback type of car when we got back from this hike.
Great hike and short.  To get to the falls, it was less than a mile. The bad part is that its very steep.  Going down takes longer because the mud and rocks were quite slippery. Joyce and I fell and slipped a few times. 🙂 The climb back up was a breather but it always is if you don’t exercise on a daily basis, like I haven’t been. OOPS…did I just say that?  Saw a little girl on the trail going back to the car. Hey, if she can do it, so can a family.  Just exercise a lot of caution.  When I say it’s slippery, it’s slippery!
We found the gate to the trail and we actually started traveling ON that road past the gate.  Thank goodness I had the webpage on my phone and realized we were to park there and then walk back from where we drove and find the trail.  It looked like it was gonna rain on us but it didn’t. Thank goodness.
We found the first trail head and you are to pass that one and go on to the second trail.  You will recognize the trail with the sign that states that this is private property but has been given access for public use. Thank goodness for the Abbey Society of Oregon.  Is that a place for nuns???? If so, Thank you NUNS!  The climb down was pretty steep to begin with. When you climb down, take the trail to the right. Shortly, you will hear the creek.
Not really sure what Kaila was telling us but she looked pretty excited about it. ha ha
Why does my butt look so big??? Sheez! I really don’t have a butt so that is pretty amazing camera!
Don’t ask!
The sign that states the private property thingy. Too bad the flash went off or maybe we would have been able to read the darn thing!
The forest is pretty dense but the trail head is somewhat maintained and easy to see.  It was straight down hill so KNOWING that the climb back up was gonna get our hearts pumping!
 We reached the creek but in order to get down there, you had to follow the path straight down.  Pretty steep and looked like someone put a rope to climb down.  Pretty easy…I didn’t do the rope thing because I found a different path. Go figure. But Joyce and Makaila did it.
While taking this picture, I think Joyce fell…just standing there.
She would do excellent rock climbing!
After rope climbing down, you get to the creek! If you are facing the creek, follow it to the left (up stream)
Makaila went ahead of us and all I can hear is “MOOOOM! So pretty! Oh MOOOOOM!”
The rock wall is sooooo amazing.  I guess it’s basalt? Just absolutely beautiful! Great place to swim on a hot summer day! Makaila plans to bring her friends here some day and just have fun! We took some silly pictures too!

Overall, an absolute beautiful fall and short hike to get to.

So, while I was looking for local areas to hike and found this one, Bing showed me a picture that absolutely amazed me and made me want to do this hike.  I picked up the picture from here:

Isn’t this just amazing?

Check out my May 2011 blog on Lower and Upper Butte Creek Falls.  This is less than a couple of miles down the road from this fall.  Great to see 3 falls in one day!!!

Here is a 360 video of the fall: