After packing up our campsite this morning, we were really feeling like we had this whole campsite set-up and tear-down process down pat. We were even commenting that despite the ground feeling harder last night, we wish that we had one or two more nights to enjoy being totally unplugged from cell reception (for 90% of the time at least) and being totally in-the-moment making memories with each other like never before.
It was the beginning of another beautiful day as we drove to the trail.
Our last hike planned for today was a four-mile hike to Tamanawas Falls. This trail head starts at 3000 feet above sea level; farther up the mountain than any of our other hikes. Once we got to the trail head, we were reading some notes on the message board when we nearly all read aloud together, “Trail blocked a quarter-mile from the falls due to an “impassable rockslide.” (Bold and italics not added). As we all read this and discussed what exactly “impassable” could mean, a young guy who had just finished the hike told us exactly what we wanted to hear. He said that it was indeed passable. And with that, off we went!
We passed at least a dozen hikers headed down the trail in the first half mile that we had walked. The trail was great with a lot of variety and things to look at along the way. There were bridges that crossed some smaller streams, little water falls and ripple ponds along the way, and variation between uphill and downhill. We were all in agreement that this trail was our favorite.
Once we came across the “impassable rockslide,” it was pretty obvious. There were giant flat faced rocks that had slid down from the above cliff side. It took some climbing to get through it, but this was hands down, without a doubt our favorite section of any of the trails that we hiked. It was fun figuring out our individual paths and ewe liked getting to use more than just our legs for once. It was also very apparent that many people had passed the “impassable rockslide” and there was even pink flagging to guide us through the best path. Once we passed the slide, we knew that we were very close to the falls and it was not long at all before we saw it peeking through the trees.
Once we got down to the falls, we parked ourselves on a level-ish place (most of the area in front of the falls was on a steep slope) and enjoyed our lunches. Even though we were sitting a far distance from the actual fall, the amount of mist that was coming off of it was incredible. We again recommend bringing a light shirt, or even better a rain jacket, to put on while viewing this fall. There was so much mist that it was very challenging getting a clear photo of the falls.
While we were taking photos, two other hikers passed us dressed in rain jackets. They were walking along the incredibly sheer-faced slope towards the back of the falls. We watched them walk behind the falls and discussed whether we wanted to go as well. Ultimately, we agreed that we were not equipped to get that wet today, nor did we want to risk slipping and hurting ourselves. Besides, now we have a reason to go back another day and view the falls from a different angle.
Once we were done, we headed back to the trail head and reassured many hikers headed in that the “impassable rockslide” was actually very passable indeed for most anyone who is able to do a little bit of climbing.
We all agreed that this hike was our favorite and that since photographing this fall was so challenging with all of the mist, it truly is one that you need to see for yourself to really be able to admire and appreciate.
As we drove back down the mountain, we pulled into a rest stop and used flushing toilets and washed our hands “for real” for the first time in days. We also popped over to the Ranger’s info desk and picked up a map and tour guide. Nhakira was wise and asked the ranger if he knew how to get to Little Zig-Zag Falls. We were sure to both confirm the directions after he said them. They were pretty simple though so we were confident that we could find the falls this time.
Since Little Zig-Zag Falls is less than a half mile hike, there was no question about adding this short hike back onto our itinerary as we headed back down the mountain. After all, we were going to drive right past it.
Compared to all of our other hikes that were three or more miles in length, the quarter mile to Little Zig-Zag was great!
We were able to hike up to the top of the falls and look down on it from above. The falls sort of split into two, which was neat as well.
After hiking back to the car, we were able to use the timer on Nhakira’s camera to capture our favorite shot of all three of us.
Then, it was time to say good bye to Mt. Hood and all of the beautiful sites we had seen over the last three days. We had a truly incredible time and I am so thankful that we were able to make this trip happen now instead of never because these memories will certainty last a life time just like I know my friendship with these two incredible friends will.