Dan and Hannah Nike, Pickle, then Hike the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon

NIke 1F  D and H at Nike entrance

Staying overnight with our niece Corrie and nephew Karl in Beaverton, a suburb of Portland, Oregon, we wonder what are our chances of seeing the Nike campus in town.  Thanks to Wayne who contacted Ron who arranged for Jane to give us a tour, we walk the college-like Nike campus on a 90F afternoon during the first week of June.

Nike 1DD  MJ on track

Hannah with Olympian Michael Johnson on the Nike campus 400 meter track

Athletic women and men in casual attire seem to be upbeat and happy to be enrolled at the 13,000 employee “Nike University.”   There is a full size 400-meter track here and employees have access to free bicycles to ride from place to place.  With five recreation halls with basketball courts, rooms for yoga, fitness centers, and the like, employees have a sweet place to work up a sweat.

NIke 1C  Tiger Woods in golf tees

In the Tiger Woods Center made entirely from golf tees

Learning that the campus is scrubbed clean of any mention of Lance Armstrong, we see the Tiger Woods Center standing proudly with this artistic rendering of Tiger, entirely created with golf tees.  It seems Mr. Armstrong lied face-to-face to one-time Nike CEO, billionaire Phil Knight while Tiger fessed up to his misdeeds.

Nike 1A  shoeboxes in back of van

When the business of selling shoes was run out of a Volkswagen van, graphic designer Claire Danielson designed the Nike Swoosh and was paid $35 for her creation.  At the time, Phil Knight said, I am not really sold on it, but maybe it will grow on me.  Upon arriving home, I read the New York Times bestseller, Shoe Dog (2016) by Phil Knight about the genesis of Nike.  Click here to learn more about the book, which speaks to us sports junkies of a certain age.  I loved it.

Nike pickleball

With an evening red-eye flight from Portland to Boston ahead of us this Tuesday, we have come to play pickleball at the indoor recreation center in Beaverton, not three miles from Corrie’s place.   Like I did recently in Tampa, I use the USA Pickleball site to find venues to play here in Oregon.  Click here to access this site to find pickleball venues.

NIke 2 Beaverton Pickleball

Pickleball courts in Beaverton, Oregon

Sometimes free, often for a nominal fee, pickleball sites are generally open to anyone traveling throughout the country.  Arriving at 930A, Hannah and I are welcomed immediately into a game of doubles.  Over the next two hours we play spirited games with a variety of skilled opponents.  Pickleball players for the last seven months, Hannah and I have a new love that is both a great workout and a place to meet active, friendly folks of our age.

Nike 3B  rainforesty trail with Hannah

On the trail to Elowah Falls

Showered and then fed by Corrie, we first nap, then pack up for a late afternoon waterfall hike on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge.

The Oregon (pronounced Or-a-Ginn) side of the Columbia River Gorge has waterfalls without end Amen.   We choose a pair of falls (Elowah Falls and Upper McCord Creek Falls) not far from Portland with 3.4 miles of hiking on the mountainside with just 600’ of elevation gain.

NIke 5B  Overlooking Columbia River

High above the Columbia River looking east on the Oregon side

Leaving the trailhead parking, we have 0.7-mile hike to Elowah Falls.   Climbing quickly into the forest on hard-packed dirt, we rise above I-84’s four lanes of commercial traffic and vacation seekers.   And then without warning, the smooth dirt trail turns mean, with sharply angled rocks.   But no matter, the slope of the trail is not steep, as we climb high above the mighty Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean.

Nike 3C  E Falls

289′ Elowah Falls in June

A series of switchbacks through the rainforest takes us down to an amphitheater canyon where the misty Elowah Falls drops gently off the mountainside, spraying the two of us.

NIke 5A  D at McM Falls

Dan with the Upper McCord Creek Falls in the distance

Hiking back a half mile or so, we turn up the mountain at the trail sign for the Upper McCord Creek Falls.   The steady climb on, again a rocky trail, is easy going without any huffing and puffing.

Nike 5 W and L with W and BE

Around the last turn the voluminous Upper McCord Creek Falls cascades higher up the mountain, above our previously viewed Elowah Falls.   With the trail ending above the falls a short while later, we spot a most appropriate landing spot on this horizantal branch to photograph our grandsons Owen’s Woodstock and Max’s Blue Elephant.  We love the W+L (our son Will and his wife Laurel) in our lives.

PS I emailed Volkswagen to confirm that the van with all the boxes of Nike running shoes was indeed a Volkswagen.  Here’s the response I got.

Reference # 160987898

Dear Mr. Rothermel,

Thank you for taking the time to write to us in regard to your recent visit at the Nike Campus in Oregon.

After researching further into this, I did stumble upon the story of Geoff Hollister traveling to track meets and selling Nike shoes from his van in the 1970s. Regretfully, we don’t have details here at Volkswagen of America to confirm whether Geoff’s van was indeed manufactured by Volkswagen.

I’ve never visited the Nike Museum so it was very cool to see the picture you shared. Additionally, I noticed links to your blog(s) included in your signature and after taking a closer look it seems as though you and your wife Hannah have enjoyed many wonderful travel adventures.

I apologize I didn’t have more information to share with you in regard to the van Geoff Hollister owned. However, you’re welcome to let me know if you have any other questions or need further assistance – I’m happy to help in any way that I can. 

Have a great weekend and I wish safe travels on the road ahead for you and your wife!

Kind regards,

Brittany A.
Customer CARE Advocate 


Dan and Hannah Hike the Fort to Sea Trail near Astoria, Oregon

FS John Wayne quote

John Wayne!  Got to love him!   Today John Wayne came to our rescue as we hiked on the Fort to Sea Trail to the Pacific Ocean.  Though THE John Wayne died, can you believe it, 37 years ago, a latter day incarnation saved our hike today.  Let me explain.

FS map of Astoria

Hannah and I have come to as far north and west in Oregon as you can to hike with Hannah’s college amiga Patty and her hubby Kent near Astoria.   On this first Sunday in June, we will hike from Fort Clatsop National Monument to the Pacific; the original fort was built by Captain Meriwether Lewis and Second Lieutenant William Clark, .

FS lewis and clark

Commissioned by Thomas Jefferson, Lewis and Clark were to search out a land route to the Pacific, to strengthen American claims to the Oregon territory, and to gather information about the indigenous inhabitants and the country of the Far West.  They built Fort Clatsop in three weeks to survive the winter of 1805-1806.    As a parting gift, Lewis gave Fort Clatsop to Coboway, the chief of the Clatsops

FS  Astoria with bridge

Astoria with the bridge over to Washington in the distance

More than a century and a half later, we have come to Astoria, a funky little town where it seems if you want to get away, you can get away.  It seems like a place where it would be easy to have the freedom to be yourself, tattoos, dyed and/or long hair, living in a van, and part-time work to give you enough time to feed your artistic or athletic passions.

FS 2D  four of us

Kent, Patty, and the Mainers

At the Fort Clatsop National Monument Visitor Center, our Senior Pass (a $10 lifetime pass for those 62 and older to all National Parks and Monuments) is good enough for us four to get our admissions waived.

The Fort to Sea Trail is a classic two-car hiking trail.   Initially, we drive our two cars to the “Sea” part of the trail at Sunset Beach and leave one car there.   Piling into our rented Kia Sportage, we four return to the trailhead at the visitor center.

FS 2B  more of trail

The trail begins in the Oregon forest of towering cedars and trail hugging ferns.  Pairing up, Hannah and Patty lead the way while Kent and I catch up on life, kids, challenges, and journeys.

FS 2CCC  H w blindfold

The trail is well-marked with signs to Sunset Beach at regular intervals.  Hilly without being mountainous, this 6.5-mile trail has us loving the cool coastal weather.   While we hike in the mid-70s, Portland, Oregon, 95 miles inland to the southeast, suffers through 102F weekend temps.   For the first week of June, the normal high for Portland is 72F.

FS 3  more of trail

On this hazy day, the humidity is not an issue, but our views to the forest below and to the ocean are, well, hazy.  The trail of hard-packed dirt and boardwalks is easy on the feet and the four of us pair off in a variety of ways to vary our conversations.

Two miles into our six plus mile hike, a lean half-marathoner runs by on his way to the Pacific.  As runners for 30 years, Hannah and I smile at a time gone by in our lives.  Running for us is no longer an option.  Paraphrasing Max Ehrmann’s Desiderata, “we are gracefully surrendering the things of youth.”  Click here for the full text of the Desiderata.

FS 4 cow field

At the four mile mark we leave the forest for farmland and pasture hiking.  Crossing under Alternate US 101, we have a grassy 8′ wide right-of-way skirting the hay and cow fields of coastal Oregon.  Crossing Neacoxie Creek on a footbridge, we follow the fence lines across open pastures of grazing cattle.

As we are within a mile of the ocean, the aforementioned runner returns and says that he can’t get through to the ocean.  It seems there is one large ass cow protecting her calf smack dab in the middle of the trail.  The runner tells us that he tried to wait them out, but Bessie and Little Bessie were not moving.

FS 5 at loggerheads with cow

Bessie walking through the opening between the wooden pasture gates on her way to the barn

If Cupcake and her calf don’t move, we have a dilemma on our hands as our path through the farms is protected on either side by rusted barbed wire.  That is not good news as it would mean we have to hike a mile back to Alternate US 101 and take a two-mile detour along the highway to the beach.  This is where John Wayne (Kent) steps in.

FS  Cows

With all of us wondering what lies ahead, John Wayne, without blinking, strides purposefully towards the wooden gate where the mama cow checks him out.   He waves his hand and yells out, Get along.  We’re coming through.  The mother cow looks up, as if to wonder, Who made you the boss of the apple sauce?  and stays put.  As an experienced farm hand, Kent is not dismayed in the least.

Striding John Wayne-like, he never wavers as he moves forward with me in tow, a latter day Gabby Hayes.  As Kent approaches the opening between the wooden gates, what do you know?  Elsie and kid just start to leave towards the barn in the distance.  Kent just walks up to the belly of the beast (figuratively) and the beast backs down.  While Hannah dubs him John Wayne, the aforementioned runner is equally impressed and now scampers by on his way to the beach.

FS 6B P and H at beach

Winding through swampy terrain over the last half mile, we arrive after a little over two and a half hours of hiking at the parking area trailhead at Sunset Beach.   Retrieving the cooler from Patty and Kent’s car, we toast our John Wayne with a cold Dos Equis and feel we are in the presence of a modern day hero.

Dan and Hannah Hike and Fly in Astoria, Oregon

AC  Astoria Map

Ever hear of the Astoria Column?  Me neither.  It’s one of twelve historical markers built in the early 20th century that were placed from St. Paul, Minnesota to Astoria, Oregon to celebrate westward expansion.  Click here for further information.  The murals on the Astoria Column commemorate major events of Northwest history between 1792 and 1818.

And it’s also the site of playfulness for one and all; I’ll fill you in later on these friendly skies.

AC 1C  H and P on trail

Hannah and Patty

Hannah and I have come to Astoria, in the northwest corner of Oregon this first week of June, where the wide Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean.  We have come for the weekend to catch up with Hannah’s amiga from Arizona State, Patty, and her husband Kent for some Northwest hiking, Mormon Bridge card playing, and margarita drinking.

AC 1  Ps with Han at trailhead

Hannah with Patty and Kent

Astoria itself was the first permanent United States settlement on the Pacific coast.  Lewis and Clark spent the winter of 1805–06 at Fort Clatsop, just to the southwest of modern-day Astoria. The expedition had hoped that a ship would come to take them back east, but instead they endured a torturous winter of rain and cold before returning over the land route from whence they came.

AC 1B  better H and P with W and BE

Patty with Max’s Blue Elephant and Hannah with Owen’s Woodstock in the Cathedral Tree

Just a couple of hundred yards up from the main drag (Commercial Street) in this town of 9500 residents, we park roadside at the trailhead of the Cathedral Tree Trail.  Just a half mile down the trail is the Cathedral Tree itself, a monstrous 300-year-old Sitka Spruce for playful adults (Hannah and Patty).   This old growth forest contrasts with the bare stretches of hillside across the Columbia River where Washington loggers have had their way with the evergreens.

AC 2  four of us on trail

Four Sun Devils

The lushness of this trail is something you might find 50 miles inland, as we did at Boulder River, Washington two days ago.   Its green on green has thimbleberries about to pop with flavor.   Asking the only couple we see on the 1.6-mile trail to the summit to snap our picture, we wonder what are the odds of seeing four Sun Devils on a mountainside on the coast of Oregon?

AC 5A  AC ready for planes

Light through the forest ahead reveals that we are near the 600’ summit of Coxcomb Hill, home to the Astoria Column.   The 125’ concrete column has 164 interior steps to the platform at the top.

AC 4 balsa wood airplanes

But what’s cool about the Astoria Column is that from its top, it is the launching platform for balsa wood airplanes (the kind of light planes that were a hit with kids in the 50s in Radburn, New Jersey).

On this blue sky Saturday afternoon, many have come to join us in the aerial revelry.   Patty has brought two planes, which we christen Owen and Max.  Others buy balsa wood planes at the gift shop for just one dollar each.   The gift shop clerk says that she sold 1300 in the last two days!

While Patty, Kent, and Hannah climb the 164 circular steps to the top, I wait below to record the launch for your viewing pleasure.

Corralling both the Owen and Max planes after they have landed nearby, I take to the stairs to join the other three, and maybe 15 others, at the top.   This video takes you to the top of the Astoria Column.

AC 5 tower stairs

Astoria Column’s interior stairwell

With riverside margaritas waiting for us back at our Astoria Crest Motel (Click here to learn more about this four star Columbia River motel), Hannah and Patty check out the gift store while I wonder just how fast I could climb the 164 stair steps of the Astoria Column.

Thanks to the technology, I have the stop watch on my iPhone at the ready for my assault.  Faithful readers of this blog might be thinking, Danny, my boy, you’ve been icing and stretching your left Achilles for the last week in the Northwest and now you are charging up the metal stairs to the top of the Astoria Column.  Are you insane?

AC 3B  AC itself with D and H

Fact is, during the entire 1.6-mile Cathedral Tree Trail hike and climbing to the top of the Astoria Column, I never even noticed my Achilles.  Limber and raring to go without a thought to my heel, I take to the circular stairs, charging ahead.  But within 30’ of the top, 68 years of living takes its toll on this 83F late afternoon; I slow and stagger to the top.


AC  timing cropped

But then there is a buzz among the 15 people at the top!  It seems I may have just set an age group record (65 to 69) for the Astoria Column stair climb.   Panting and gasping, I accept their unspoken and unacknowledged congratulations.

As king of the world, I look to the Pacific and can just imagine Leonardo DiCaprio at the bow of the Titanic!  Sounds a little ominous?  Trust me, no such danger lurks for me this beautiful Pacific coast Saturday.

Dan and Hannah Hike Eagle Creek on the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon

Eagle Creek Trail

Eagle Creek Trail

Nine days of vacation in the Northwest down, one to go. We get to hike in places most people only know about from eighth grade geography (Mount Rainier, the Olympic Peninsula, and the Oregon Coast). When hiking at Beacon Rock yesterday, a couple told us that the Eagle Creek Trail across the river in Oregon is the hike of the Columbia River Gorge. That’s all the encouragement we needed to give it a go.

EC 1A trailhead signAwaking in The Dalles, a town some 90 miles to the east of Portland, Oregon, we drive east on I-84 along the Columbia River Gorge heading for the Eagle Creek Trail where we are promised falls and more falls. On a Tuesday morning in early June, we believe we will not be inundated by the hiking public as we would be on weekends or all summer long.

Along Eagle Creek

Along Eagle Creek

The Eagle Creek Trail lies 20 to 200 feet above, as you might imagine, Eagle Creek.  With soft packed dirt covered with pine needles on this easy-to-follow trail, we set our sights on Metlako Falls.  Covered by the forest canopy, we find the mid-70s temps most comfortable in our tee shirts and lightweight shorts.  Sun sparkles on the falls some 200 feet away; as such, the dark of the forest contrasts with the sun to make it nearly impossible to get a picture of these first falls, or if truth be told, be impressed by them.

EC 2H trail continuesAt this point, the trail turns rocky, similar to the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania. Two miles into our hike, we see the sign for the Punchbowl Falls side trail, which we use to descend to the river bottom.

Upper Punchbowl Falls

Upper Punchbowl Falls

There we find a party atmosphere of kids splashing in the mountain pool at the base of the falls. Twenty some people lounge about on what we learn is the typical end destination for day trippers seeking to beat the heat.


Upper Punchbowl Falls

Upper Punchbowl Falls

Even on this Tuesday in early June, we see many hikers in groups as we are now only 40 miles from Portland, with a million people in its metro area.   While many appear to be college kids on summer break, we do see a group of high schoolers here for some nature study. These falls are not drop dead gorgeous or National Geographic memorable as the ones we have seen over the past week at Mount Rainier and Olympic National Parks, but they’re fine.

Bomber on the Eagle Creek Trail

Bomber on the Eagle Creek Trail

To escape the heat, college women in threes and fours are here; some amazingly in flip flops on this very rocky trail. These 80s and 90s are unusual for Oregon in June which typically gets its Arizona heat in August. Drought has come to the Northwest, though you can’t tell if from Eagle Creek Canyon with its lush vegetation, ferns without end amen, and shaded forest.

EC 2E H on trailWe return to the main trail with our destination of the High Bridge a mile and a half away. As the rocky trail returns, we see far fewer hikers venturing past the Punchbowl Falls. There are overnight backpackers who have come from Tunnel Falls and beyond with their heavy packs on a warm day, which just makes me shudder.  I am soft.

Inch thick cables anchored into the mountainside

Inch thick cables anchored into the mountainside

Throughout the trail there are braided strands of one inch thick wire anchored into the mountainside; they indicate where the steep drop offs are. The vegetation is so lush that we are not always aware that we are hiking within feet of 70 to 100 foot drop-offs. It’s never scary, but we remain aware. I wouldn’t take our grandsons Owen and Max here until they are older, but then I’ll be all over getting them 0ut on this trail.

Falls just before the High Bridge with no discernible trail to their waters

Falls just before the High Bridge with no discernible trail to their waters

We pass another waterfall just before High Bridge. Clandestinely, young people have climbed down into the river canyon for some sunning and cooling off under the waterfalls. There is no obvious trail down; the one place that might be a trail is steep and treacherous and says “no way” to those of us north of 65.

Hannah at the High Bridge

Hannah at the High Bridge

At High Bridge, a volunteer work crew has carried twelve foot planks three plus miles to recondition the bridge across the canyon fifty feet below. We thank them for their service as if they are military. In a way, they are – another group serving the American people.

EC 7A D and H close upDue to the side trails we took to the earlier falls, it’s nearly two hours of hiking to the High Bridge. As we head back for the trailhead, we now are passing gaggles of early afternoon hikers at most every turn. It’s not overwhelming, and one even takes our picture.  One can only imagine what summer weekends are like.

Before we head east to Portland, we wash down our lunch with a Dos Equis at the picnic area by the trailhead. Warm days are why beer is brewed.   We then drive east towards Portland with a slight change of plans due to my “Rental Car Tip.”

EC payless carRental Car Tip – Know the hours of operation if you rent from off-site budget-priced car rental companies. We got a burning deal at Payless Rental Car: $231 for ten days!  The Volkswagen Beetle was a dream. What we didn’t realize is that Payless’s away from the airport rental center is only open from 7A to 11P.

Since we need to be at the Portland Airport at 530A Wednesday morning for our nonstop flight to Boston, we are unable to drop the car off early enough to get the Payless shuttle van to the airport for our flight.

We scramble for a plan B that has us dropping the Volkswagen Beetle off the afternoon before at Payless and finding a Quality Inn (we were going to need a motel room anyway) with shuttle service to the airport any time of day or night. It turns out not to be a big deal, but it could have been messy if we had assumed Payless Rental Car is open at all hours.

Quality Inn and Suites at Portland Airport

Quality Inn and Suites at Portland Airport

And then we have a things happen for the good moment. After dropping off our car at Payless on a warm Tuesday afternoon, we figure the Payless shuttle driver will take us back to the airport; then we’ll call the Quality Inn to pick us up there, spending up to an hour in this transfer process. But the sun is shining on Dan and Hannah as the shuttle driver takes us directly to the Quality Inn. We over tip him and toast his good health with a last-night-of-vacation glass of wine.

Dan and Hannah Hike the Cape Falcon Trail on the northern coast of Oregon

CF map of coastAfter this week of June hiking at Mount Rainier and Olympic National Parks in the state of Washington, Hannah and I have come to the northern coast of Oregon to hang out with Hannah’s amiga Patty and her hubby Kent.  Patty and Hannah go way back to the College of the Nursing at Arizona State University – Patty, a work study student, and Hannah, before kids, still looking to find her way in the world, as a secretary at the College of Nursing.

CFal 6 Surfside SignWe meet at the Surfside Oceanfront Resort in the tourist town of Rockaway Beach, some 90 driving miles west of Portland; I get a Jersey vibe right away.  For those of you who have had the good fortune to spend your formative years in the Garden State, there’s a Jersey shore feel to the town of Rockaway Beach.  But it’s Jersey shore of 100 years ago – unspoiled, few services, small time, expansive beach, and no Garden State Parkway backed up on Sunday afternoon.

CFal 3 beach at Oswald WestLast night we happy hour-ed together and later enjoyed the best of local pizza from Upper Coast Pizza (their motto is If you want it quick, you have come to the wrong place).  Today our mission is to hike along the coast of Oregon after breakfast in. (The Surfside Oceanfront Resort has extensive kitchens in the rooms with a full fridge, dishwasher, oven, toaster, and coffee machine.)  There is one mini-mart in town, but for the most part it seems touristos like us bring their supplies from home to hold down the cost of vacationing.  Patty and Kent bring their pantry to share with us.

Arizona State sisters

Arizona State sisters

Driving north 15 miles on The 101 through the towns of Nehalem and Manzanita, we come upon the roadside parking areas for the Cape Falcon Trail in the Oswald West State Park. (As governor of Oregon, Oswald West created public access to the entire Oregon coast for eternity.)

Circumventing the blowdowns on the trail to Cape Falcon

Circumventing the blowdowns on the trail to Cape Falcon

At noon on this first Saturday of June with a sunny forecast, surfers and families aplenty are heading to Short Sand Beach.  With a trail sign promising 2.5 miles to the promontory point of Cape Falcon along the Pacific Ocean, we four enter the forest and leave the vehicular noise of The 101 behind.

Hannah and Patty

Hannah and Patty

Immediately we are immersed in a rainforest less than a half mile to the ocean.  The brown wet packed dirt of the trail is easy on our feet. Muddy, and muddier than we have seen throughout the trails of the Northwest, we find it easy to step to the side and onto the conveniently placed branches and stones in the trail.  60 Hikes within 60 Miles – Portland calls this hike easy.  We concur.  As such, families will love this wide, flat trail with a modest elevation gain (maybe a few hundred feet).

CFal 1C ferns on trailAble hikers themselves, Patty and Kent set an enjoyable pace as we pair off for conversation. Patty works for Bon Appetit as a culinary magician for the food service at George Fox University. Kent, an accountant by trade, is starting his own business of matching older workers with new opportunities.  He lives the saying – Courage is having faith when doubting would be easier.

CFal 2 B K among greenKeeping up a steady two mph pace, we pass ferns, Sitka spruce, and hemlock which dominate this moist coastal climate.  As we hike through this old growth forest, the wind picks up as we get closer to the coast.

At times we are hiking through an eight foot tunnel of thick green leaves.  On this weekend Saturday, we have lots of company on the trail, which is a good thing. When we are on popular trails, we spend little time wondering if we are on the right trail and more time seeing if we have a connection with our fellow hikers. Today my opening line is have you seen any falcons? (No one has.)  With lots of Ducks in this area (i.e., fans of the University of Nike, oops Oregon), I try to quack them up when I mention my love for all things fluorescent green and yellow.

Short Sand Beach from Cape Falcon

Short Sand Beach from Cape Falcon

Approaching the coast, maybe three hundred feet above the families of beach goers and surfer dudes and dudettes at Short Sand Beach, we have ideal temperatures in the 70s.  It doesn’t get much better hiking through a sun dappled forest on a dirt trail with old friends. Though unmarked, the trail to the actual Cape Falcon is obviously to the left through a meadow of salal, a shoulder-high shrub.

Atop Cape Falcon

Atop Cape Falcon

Once at Cape Falcon we see the beaches to our north but just a bank of clouds to our south. At this point, the Oregon coast speaks Maine to me – sharply angled, steeply dropping cliffs with beaches here and there.

CFal 4 H listeningHiking inland away from the chilly winds of the coast, we find a clearing by the side of the trail for our lunch of turkey, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches and Fuji apples.  Though back at the trailhead I had no service on my iPhone, here, hundreds of feet above the beach, I have Internet access.  I post two Instagram photos from the trip (Btw, if you would like to get my Instagram photos, request me on Instagram and I’ll agree.)

CFal 4B trail againIt’s an easy conversation hike back to the trailhead, which at 3P has cars trolling for a vacant parking spot. We pull out of our roadside parking spot leaving room for another to have the adventure themselves.

While Hannah and Patty thrift shop, Kent catches some zees and I write a draft of our day’s hike for a future blog while it is fresh in my mind. It’ll be happy hour to toast our friendship for the next few years, Mexican food takeout, and watch the recently released DVD McFarland with Kevin Costner (Four stars. I’d give it five if I were allowed.  I love me some inspirational movies).  Just chilling with old friends.

Dan and Hannah Hike Multnomah Falls on the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon

mult col river gorge map

Over the past week in the northwest in early August, Hannah and I have been to Mount St. Helens in Washington and Crater Lake in southwestern Oregon.  And yet it’s today’s hike on the Columbia River Gorge that is the most spectacular.


Multnomah Falls lies some thirty miles east of Portland, OR along I-84.  It’s a perfect location for the last hike of our vacation in the Northwest since we leave from Portland (PDX) tonight at 11P on a red eye non-stop flight to Boston, MA.


With such easy access, the falls are mobbed on this first Thursday in August.  Mobbed is no hyperbole.  It’s Disney World during school vacation crazy; it’s Jersey shore in August nuts.  At the base of the falls we step around tourists to view the falls in the distance.  The good news is that 99% of the throng has no interest in hiking the Multnomah loop trail with us.  I guess, in this case, we are the 1%.

The Multnomah Falls Loop Trail

The Multnomah Falls Loop Trail

Beginning by walking  for 100 yards west along Oregon state highway 30, we soon step into the forest and climb the rocky trail towards Wakeena Falls.

The Multnomah Loop Trail begins

The Multnomah Loop Trail begins

And just like that we are up and away from the crowds.

At the start the trail parallels State route 30

At the start the trail parallels State route 30

Our loop hike will go from Wakeena Falls to Devil’s Rest and back by Multnomah Falls today; it will take nearly four hours over some nine miles of mountainside hiking.

In another 0.4 of a mile we are at the Wakeena Falls, which both fortunately and unfortunately, has a parking area nearby.


As such, the crowds return.  And that’s fine.  There’s a fiesta buzz to the air.  We remember that this natural wonder is not only for the uber-fit and half-crazed hikers.

Wakeena Falls

Wakeena Falls

The spectacular falls are just the first taste of the five falls we will see today.  Enjoy this 26 second video of Wakeena Falls.

Once we leave Wakeena Falls, the crowds disappear again.  We resume our loop hike heading for Fairy Falls, our next aquatic attraction.

Multnomah Falls Trail Map

Multnomah Falls Trail Map

In short order we are high above the Columbia River

Columbia River

Columbia River

The trail is a pleasing and certainly demanding set of switchbacks shaded by the summer forest.

Another 0.8 of a mile we come to Fairy Falls.

Fairy Falls along the Columbia River Gorge

Fairy Falls along the Columbia River Gorge

Mother Nature has presented us with another natural gift.  Check out this 37 second video of Fairy Falls.

The loop trail climbs through a rain forest of dense growth.  These summer months are the dry ones here in Oregon.  Come October, they will get the rain that they are known for and it will last til spring.

Water falls across our trail

Water falls across our trail

Though not often, but regularly enough, we catch a glimpse of the Interstate 84 below us.

I-84 heading East

I-84 heading East

Still just 3P in the afternoon and having hiked three miles up the mountain, we choose to hike on another 1.6 miles to the Devil’s Rest viewpoint at 2400 feet.

It turns out the trail is dirt packed and easy on our feet with convenient switchbacks to take us up to Columbia River vista.

Two hours in, we hike back onto the Multnomah Falls loop and head for Ercola Falls.

Ercola Falls

Ercola Falls

After two miles of hiking, we pick up other trail loopers at Ercola Falls.

Descending to Multnomah Falls

Descending to Multnomah Falls

The trail remains rocky, but it’s all downhill from here.  And then the crowds pick up; soon the trail is paved and leading to a view from the top of Multnomah Falls.  The back and forth switchbacks allow many to scale this mountain side facing the Columbia River Gorge.

Cool, cool, cool

Cool, cool, cool

When on a hike, if at all possible, hike with someone who is cool.  Shades make this woman.

After nearly four hours of hiking we arrive back at Multnomah Falls

After nearly four hours of hiking we arrive back at Multnomah Falls

We are now asking sightseers to wait just a minute as we snap the multi-wonderous Multnomah Falls.

A tad weary we sip red wine from our water bottles at the stone patio as the base of the falls.  We are not in a hurry to have our vacation end any time soon.

Journey's End

Journey’s End