What do photographers do when every agency in the state is saying not to drive? We all drive to the gorge to photograph waterfalls in a unique state. Majeed, Cody, Christian and I took a trip up to Spirit Falls.
The roads for most of the trip weren’t as bad as one would believe from what everyone was saying, but it was still a time to drive slow and cautiously. After getting onto i84 and into the gorge, as usual, the wind picked up and created some moments of pure white out conditions which luckily only lasted a couple seconds each time. We drove out to Hood River, crossed over to Washington then headed up to Spirit Falls.
We put some chains on in Hood River since out there the roads were really slick and there were lots of hills, and knowing we’d need them heading up the hill to Spirit Falls.
After arriving at what we believed was the parking spot (aka side of road), had a hard time deciding the best route down since there isn’t really a trail and the snow was knee to waist deep at the top. We finally picked a spot and started out descent.
I’m not sure how far of a hike or what kind of elevation loss/gain there was, but we trekked down in near waist deep snow over the loose rocks and moss. We all took a few slips and such, but no major injuries except for Christian who hit his knee pretty good and nearly slid into the river!! Was able to brace against a tree and use a tripod to help pull him back to more stable ground.
The waterfall has a very nice coloring to it which contrasted well with the snow and icicles all around.
Then comes the trek back up……… It was slow and extremely tiring. Stopped several times for breaks to drink and eat for a boost of energy. It took us maybe 20 minutes to get down and just over an hour to climb back up.
Driving back, the winds had picked up, we swung into Multnomah Falls again to debate trying some darker shots. As soon as a door opened it was like getting sand blasted in the face with the wind and snow. Quickly decided to keep moving. It was dark by this point.
All in all, Spirit Falls is a beautiful place with just a couple of different vantage points (one in which I didn’t get to because I chickened out.) I haven’t ever made a trek quite like this one in the snow, but it was fun and with good company.
It was a good 18 hour day and only to get 5 shots, all with similar compositions and of one waterfall. We left at 7AM from Newport, and didn’t get home until about 1:15 or so this morning. Was it worth it? Maybe not photographically, but it was still an enjoyable time and one heck of a workout. Thank goodness for dressing appropriately, toe warmers and hand-warmers. I do need some warmer boots and some gaiters though.
Here’s one of 2 shots I got from Spirit Falls, which has been on my want to see list for quite some time. Be sure to click on each one to view in a larger lightbox view.
Here’s a few shots Cody Cha took with his phone on our descent to the falls.