Latourell Falls

Last weekend, My buddy Z and I took Portmandia Jr. up into the gorge for a little hike. I usually let Z pick the hikes since he has a car and does the driving. This was a perfect little hike for my boy, a 2.3 mile loop with some decent up and down, a number of small bridges and two nice waterfalls.

We started late by our standards, but this wasn’t going to be one of our ten milers, so that was reasonable. We bundled up and left the house around nine. A modest drive out of town got us on the trail about an hour later. Usually we try to make it out to a trail head as early as possible to beat the crowds, but here it was the December cold that let us keep the trail to ourselves.

Hiking with my boy is a lot of fun. He troops along, but stops in wonder at weird stumps and fallen trees. He likes to point out mushrooms and often suggests that I take pictures. He likes it best when he gets to pick our turns, but on this outing he begrudgingly let me give the directions.

We did manage to make a couple wrong turns. Luckily they were easily overcome, but as usual we wound up chiding ourselves for leaving the guide book in the car. Honestly, it seems like every time that we do that we wind up taking the wrong branch and have to retrace our steps. One of these days we’ll learn that lesson.

When we got to the upper falls, everything was covered with a layer of ice. The little man and I descended a patch of treacherous icy rocks and then worked hard to keep from sliding off the similarly slippery bridge. My fivefingers did great, allowing me to wrap my feet around rocks and grip the gaps between the boards with my toes. The ice let up on the other side of the river and we were able to slip part way behind the waterfall, much to the boy’s delight.

The long return looped back to the lower falls passing first over and then under the old highway. Again we got a bit confused by branches in the trail, but otherwise it was a pleasant stroll.

The lower falls are much higher and so we had to stay a more respectful distance. Here is where we met a small crowd, as the base of the falls are only a few hundred feet from the parking lot. Still a find finish to a nearly perfect easy hike.

On the way home, we stopped at Vista House and took in the view, overcast though it was. I took a bunch of pictures and Z showed Portmandia Jr. how the interior of the house amplified sound with it’s curved walls. A great day.