The morning dawned cold and damp. Frank expressed a wish to take the morning cruise on the Columbia Sternwheeler. It didn't travel a great distance on the river, but we did learn a lot of history of the area.
The massive scar seen on the mountain in the distance is the result of 'the Bonneville Landslide,' which possibly occurred in 1450. Scientists have differing theories.The debris entered the Columbia River at Cascade Locks, blocking the river with a natural dam. Eventually the river broke through, washing away most of the debris, leaving the Cascade Rapids.
After a delicious light lunch at Cascades Locks Ale House, we travelled north along the river to Horsetail Falls. Such a lovely cascade, but a reasonably short, steep climb to its upper level, revealed its magical source. Another bonus, were the views back to the Columbia.
The trail is an engineering marvel. Eagle Creek descends through a rugged narrow canyon, so its
builders had to blast ledges out of sheer cliffs, bridge the gorge and even chip a tunnel through solid rock. Because of the time factor, we only hiked the 5 kms to the Punchbowl Falls, with an elevatiion gain of 120 metres. The full hike gains 365 metres over 16 kms.
I rejoiced in the beauty of the tall lichen draped old trees, clinging to the cliff edges, the lush greens of all the foliage, and the open cliff faces covered in moss. Far below the trail, we cautiously caught glimpses of the tumbling creek.
A big thank you to whoever placed this arrow to guide us to the base of the Punchball Falls. The falls are set in a round, mossy green grotto. We viewed it from above first and then, following the arrow dropped to the creek bed, to be confronted with towering, mossy cliff faces, fallen giants and a much smaller fall.
Once we had negotiated the rocks to the bend in the creek, the full glorious beauty of the Punchbowl Falls was revealed. Hidden between these soaring cliffs, it was difficult to capture its full beauty. A rock was found to sit on, to stare and be uplifted by the falls beauty, as the flow continued to cascade and make its way down the gorge.