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Multinomah Falls sign

The two RV Gypsies and Karen's sister Ilse
went to Multnomah Falls
and hiked all the way to the top of the falls
July 26, 2013

Multnomah Falls is a waterfall on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge, located along the Historic Columbia River Highway. The falls drops in two major steps, then splits into an upper falls of 542 feet and a lower falls of 69 feet with a gradual 9 foot drop in elevation between the two, so the total height of the waterfall is conventionally given as 620 feet.

Multnomah Falls is the tallest waterfall in the State of Oregon. It is credited by a sign at the site of the falls, and by the United States Forest Service, as the second tallest year-round waterfall in the United States. However, there is some skepticism surrounding this distinction, as Multnomah Falls is listed as the 137th tallest waterfall in the United States by the World Waterfall Database (this site does not distinguish between seasonal and year-round waterfalls). The water flows at 150 cubic feet per second.

Underground springs from Larch Mountain are the year-round source of water for the waterfall, augmented by spring runoff from the mountain's snowpack and rainwater during the other seasons.

In contrast to other falls along the Gorge, the Multnomah area is also reachable via a stretch of I-84 east of Troutdale, Oregon. The rest area and tunnel under the road (as well as the Union Pacific Railroad tracks) allow Interstate travelers from either direction to stop and visit the falls.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia  

Below: Karen Duquette and her sister in the parking lot with the 620-foot tall Multnomah Falls in the background, the tallest waterfall in the State of Oregon. The two RV Gypsies picked Ilse up at the airport and this was their first stop, even before reaching the RV of the two RV Gypsies at the campground. What a great way to welcome Ilse to Oregon and the life-style of the two RV Gypsies. Ilse lives in southern California.

Karen Duquette and her sister in the parking lot with Multnomah Falls in the background.
Karen Duquette and her sister Ilse at the Multnomah Falls sign
Karen, Lee, and Ilse

The 5-minute walk from the parking lot towards Multnomah Falls and the exhilarating spray at the base of the falls.

Multnomah Falls
Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Creek at the bottom of the falls

Multnomah Creek at the bottom of the falls
sign about Multnomah Creek at the bottom of the falls

Approaching a small bridge to get a better view of Multnomah Falls and the famous footbridge.

a small bridge that gives a better view of Multnomah Falls and the famous footbridge

Multnomah Falls and The footbridge that is named for Simon Benson, who financed the bridge's construction in 1914 by Italian stonemasons. Benson soon gave Portland land that included most of the falls as well as nearby Wahkeena Falls. Look how small the people on the footbridge look.

Multnomah Falls and The footbridge
Multnomah Falls

At this time of day, the only way to get photographs of Multnomah Falls is to aim the camera into the sun.

Karen Duquette and her sister Ilse with Multnomah Falls and the footbridge behind them.
another view of Multnomah Falls
Karen Duquette's baby sister, Ilse Blahak

A paved path several hundred feet in length leads to Benson Footbridge, a 45-foot long footbridge that spans the falls at the first tier's misty base and allows visitors to cross 105 feet above the lower cascade. Lee, Karen, and Ilse have now walked the steep path up and are on the footbridge.

the two RV Gypsies on the Benson Footbridge
Karen, Lee, and Ilse on the Benson Footbridge

Looking down from the Benson Footbridge as the lower cascade of water flows downward towards all the little people below. Standing on the bridge gives a perfect view of the top tier's full 542-foot height and a vantage point over the second tier's 69-foot drop.

Looking down from the Benson Footbridge at the little people below
the lower cascade of water flows downward

Looking straight out towards the Columbia River from the footbridge.

Looking straight out towards the Columbia river from the footbridge
Looking straight out towards the Columbia river from the footbridge

Looking straight down on the waterfall side of the footbridge, many people have thrown coins into the water, so Karen, Ilse, and Lee tossed a few coins too, and each made a wish of course.

coins in the water
the cascade of water from the Multnomah Falls

Karen Duquette noticed the stone covered with moss at the bottom of  the lower section of Multnomah Falls.

stone covered with moss at the bottom of the lower section of Multnomah Falls
stone covered with moss at the bottom of the lower section of Multnomah Falls

Ilse saw a sign saying "one-mile to the top of the falls", so she and Karen convinced Lee that they should take the path up to the top of the falls, even though Lee didn't want to hike that far.

panorama of the lower falls

Pausing on the corner for a different view of Multnomah Falls

Lee, Karen and Ilse at Multnomah Falls
a different view of Multnomah Falls

Ilse and Karen found a dugout just their size and decided that Lee should take their photo.

Ilse and Karen in a mini dugout
Ilse in a mini dugout

a deer on the side of the trail

a deer on the side of the path

Ilse and Karen took a break at one of the switchbacks about 1/4 of the way up the extremely steep trail. Steep drop-offs and uneven walking surfaces made this trail difficult.

Ilse and Karen
Ilse and Karen
view of the Columbia River from the trail
a tree dangling in front of the Columbia River

After passing switchback number 10, Ilse spotted a sign that said "1-1/4 mile". Ilse started singing "Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire" because the sign at the bottom of the trail said the trail to the top was only 1-mile. (That's the school-teacher / child in her). After switchback number 10, the trail  leveled out a bit and even went downhill. That was a welcome relief from the constant steep, uphill trail they had been on up to this point. Switchback number 11 of 11 was not posted anywhere and Ilse felt cheated. But they managed to hike to "The Mark O", where they noticed people playing near the creek. Ilse and Karen wanted to check out the creek too, and of course they did just that before starting back down the trail.

The trail ended at a platform at the top of the upper falls, and Karen, Lee and Ilse got a bird's-eye view of the Columbia Gorge and also of "Little Multnomah", a small cascade slightly upstream from the Upper Multnomah Falls, which is not visible from ground level.

Ilse and Karen with Little Multnomah behind them
Little Multnomah

Below: Ilse and Lee on the other side of the platform at the top of Multnomah Falls, with the river, the parking lot, and the tiny people far below.

Ilse and Lee at the top of Multnomah Falls
birds-eye view of the Columbia River and more

For your Informationhistory bookOn Labor Day in September 1995, a 400-ton boulder, loosened by erosion, fell 225 feet from the face of the waterfall into the upper cascade pool, above Benson Bridge. It caused a 70-foot splash of water and gravel to wash over the footbridge, causing minor injuries to twenty members of a wedding party that happened to be on the bridge posing for photos at the time. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

panorama

Ilse took a photo of the stone steps leading back to Starvation Creek just above " Little Multnomah", the small cascade slightly upstream from the "upper" falls.

stone steps

Ilse, Karen, and Lee enjoyed the view around the creek, and as always, Karen just had to feel the cold water.

Ilse and Karen at Stavation Creek
Ilse and Karen at Stavation Creek
Ilse and Karen at Stavation Creek

Time to head back down the trail and on to Mount Hood and several more nearby waterfalls.

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