Multnomah False Signage
We had just finished exploring the unique city of Portland and all of the delicious tastes it had to offer before heading back out into the forest. From the grilled cheese food trucks to the bean and cheese burrito ice creams to the vast array of craft beers, we felt as though our palates had been to the moon and back, and it was time 9to get back on our camp diet (aka black bean soup).
The next stop on our list of Oregon sights to see was the magnificent Multnomah Falls. Located along the historic Columbia River Gorge Highway (allegedly one of the most scenic highways in the nation) less than an hour outside of Portland, the falls are a popular tourist trap. You can literally pull off the highway and sit in your car and look at them (although it’s not the best view, but you get my point). This convenient location and accessibility made for a pretty crowded scene. But since we are such big adventurers, we decided to hike the trail that took us up a mountain and through the Columbia River Gorge, past several other cool waterfalls, up to the top of the falls and back down on a loop that was promised to be no more than 4.9 miles, or so the sign said.
Throughout the entirety of the hike, I had one goal in mind- catch a glimpse of the notorious Giant Pacific Salamander. According to lore and the picture of it in the gift shop, this gigantic water lizard was about as big as Bosley (aka White Lightning). Unfortunately, my efforts were futile, although I did see a miniature salamander that posed no threat to me nor my kin. In my mind, this hike was an utter failure and waste of time. Thankfully this hike was also in the mind of Brooke and the pups who saw it as a great success.
Along the trail, once you have ascended the 11 grueling switchbacks, there is some of the most pristine creeks and waterfalls I had witnessed thus far on the trip. The beauty of it all distracted from the difficulty of the hike. We descended down the boring back side of the loop with muddy paws and legs of jello, and we were happy to see the parking lot peeking through the trees as we completed what we assumed was the last quarter mile of the path. But then the forest decided to send this hike into overtime. Instead of dumping out to the same parking lot as the trailhead, the end of this trail was a little over half a mile from where truck was. This sent Bosley into a tizzy since he’s such a stickler about trail logistics, but he sucked it up and we ended the hike with a leisurely walk along the road. In total, the hike was 5.6 miles. Minus the lack of people-eating reptilians, this hike was as rewarding as it was challenging.
That night, we set up camp at one of Ainsworth State Park’s most luxurious primitive tent site. It was preeeetty nice.