Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Backpacking in Oregon

Remember when I bought a sweet sleeping bag to complete our set of backpacking gear?  Remember how I said that I would be using it in Oregon.  Well, the time has come to tell you about backpacking the Eagle Creek trail.

I totally got a picture of the sign so you know i'm not lying about the name of the trail.
Eagle Creek is a trail in the Columbia River Gorge outside of Portland.  It's a beautiful area hiking through a rain forest.  The whole trail is about 13 miles long and ends at a lake.  We decided we weren't quite hardcore enough for that entire length.  I decided the destination I wanted to hike to was Tunnel Falls, which is a little over 6 miles one way.

But truthfully, it's all about the journey as much as the destination.  We really enjoyed the experience of travelling along that trail and seeing all that there was to see.
Look at that cute backpacker.

That is a less cute backpacker.

Just posing in front of the wilderness.

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am not a huge fan of heights.  Most of the trail was just fine.  Even though the trail was often pretty high above the river, I'm fine as long as it's not a sheer dropoff and I don't have to be close to the edge.  However, every once in a while the trail would get relatively thin and it would have chains you could hold on to.  This usually meant there was a fairly steep dropoff.  Even if I didn't notice the dropoff the chains were there to notify me that I should be terrified.
The trail itself doesn't seem that scary.  But you're supposed to be terrified.  The chains tell you so.

Look how not scared of that dropoff Robyn is.

More cutenes
The trail follows the river, and though we were hiking to a specific waterfall, there were a number of really pretty ones along the way.
I don't even know the name of this waterfall.  But it's pretty.

We saw several of these birds along the way.  I'm not sure exactly what it is, some kind of grouse I'm guessing.

This was a common sight.  Robyn is much faster than me.
I think the destination of Tunnel Falls was perfect.  By the time we got there, I was tired and ready to quit, but it wasn't so far that I was dying.  The first view of the waterfall is through the trees.
Robyn makes the waterfall look precious.

The waterfall makes me look precious.
The trail is super cool, it wraps around until you actually go through a tunnel underneath the waterfall.  (Hence the name Tunnel Falls.)
I'm pretty sure this is Shelob's lair.  But the good news is that I was eaten by zero giant spiders.

This is what it looks like coming out of the tunnel.

This is what I look like coming out of the tunnel.

Looking back on it from further up the trail.  From here it looks less like Shelob's lair, and more like a hobbit hole.

It's important to get both of us in a picture.

After finding tunnel falls we decided to head back to one of the campsites we had seen on the way up.  It was about 3/4 miles back.  We setup our tent, and more importantly our hammock.  My back was super tired, and I was way excited to lay in the hammock.

The view looking up at the sky from the hammock.

That's what I look like in pure happiness.

Robyn took a turn too.
There was one negative to the hammock.  I had changed into flip flops when we got into camp, and I had kicked off the flip flops while I was in the hammock.  Robyn looked over at me and said, "There is something moving on your flip flop."  I looked at it and there was a 6 inch slug crawling over it.  I picked up the flip flop and shook it to get the slug to come off, but to no avail.  I finally had to get a stick to pry it off.  (Because clearly I wasn't going to touch it with my hands.  Gross!)

Neither of the slugs below are the one that crawled on my flip flop.  I didn't have my phone on me in the hammock because I left it in the tent.  But I took these pictures the next morning of a couple others I saw.

Ginormous + slimy = gross

My encounters with wildlife in the hammock weren't over.   I settled down to read some more and then this spider was crawling on my hammock.  I don't mind spiders at all when I know what kind they are.  I'm always uncomfortable when I can't identify them and don't know if they're dangerous.  I just flicked this guy off my hammock and all was well.

 After resting for a bit, I had to go gather us some water.  We have a little filtration system that filters out the dirt and then we have a little lightsabre that you stick in the water to kill all the germs.
She is a Jedi, like her father before her.

That evening before going to bed we put our food up in a tree.  We didn't want any bears visiting us in our tent to get at our food.  We also didn't want any squirrels chewing through our tent.  In the middle of the night, Robyn woke me up because she heard something she thought was eating our food.  She told me I needed to take a look so that if it was dangerous it would eat me and not her.  I poked my head out of the tent, shined the light on the food and saw nothing.  I showed her that we couldn't see any animals.

The next morning we looked at the garbage bag that was also outside our tent.  It had a hole chewed in it.  Robyn used that as evidence that she really had heard something.  I conceded that point, but I did point out that she strongly implied that she heard something larger than a chipmunk, which was the likely culprit of the tiny hole.  But who knows.  Maybe it was a mountain lion that chewed the quarter inch hole in the bag.

The next morning, we made breakfast, relaxed a little more and then headed back down the trail.

Robyn took this selfie to show how gross she was.  I thought she looked precious.

More evidence of preciousness

The bridges frightened me, but look how brave I was.
After backpacking, we headed back into town and checked in to our hotel.  We showered, which was glorious, and then went out to eat at Giant Burger.  It was the perfect meal to end our backpacking adventure.

After a backpacking trip there is pretty much nothing better than a good hamburger, and The Giant served us well.  My sister, who is a Portland expert, had suggested that we eat there, and I'm glad she shared her wisdom on this issue.  She had sent me a picture of her in front of the sign, so naturally I had to emulate her picture.

I know I did such a good job of copying her picture, that you can't tell the difference, so I'll just let you in on the secret.  The first one is me.  The second one is my sister from Christmas time.


  1. I'm so glad that your trip was so good. I wish I could have gone backpacking with you. Next time I'm in.

  2. I'm so glad that your trip was so good. I wish I could have gone backpacking with you. Next time I'm in.


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