Meet Hans and Lisa from Metamorphosis Road.
Hans and Lisa live full time in their RV and travel the US, hiking and sampling the local brews (they're living the dream!). I've followed their blog for some time now, so it was fun to finally connect.
Of course I took them on a hike!
|Narrow ledge trail|
When in Portland, there's one iconic place that everyone needs to experience - the Columbia River Gorge's Eagle Creek Trail. It's so wildly popular the parking lot routinely fills up before noon. To beat the crowds, I got Hans and Lisa up early one morning.
The early bird gets - empty trails! The first two miles of our journey we had the place nearly to ourselves.
|Rocky shore below Punch Bowl Falls|
We followed the well-graded trail as it slowly climbed above lovely Eagle Creek, and passed by several tall basalt cliffs. Moss and fern-draped trees lined our path, with sunlight struggling to break through the dense forest canopy.
|Lovely Punchbowl Falls|
The Eagle Creek Trail is known for its lovely waterfalls. First, I showed my new friends the overlook to view Metlako Falls, shooting out the side of a far-away cliff. Then I led them down a steep side trail to the rocky beach below picturesque Punchbowl Falls.
|My "official" group photo|
This is a gorgeous setting. A large rocky beach leads hikers to a mossy grotto, where tall basalt cliffs frame this lovely little cascade.
|Colorful water reflections|
Much photography ensued! I even unfurled my tripod for some long exposure shots of the water.
|More lovely green reflections|
I really liked how the adjacent greenery reflected in Eagle Creek's waters.
|These kids floated a log towards the falls|
We met a group of young people hanging out on shore. Despite the chilly morning temps, these kids stripped down to their swimsuits and waded into the water. They found a log bobbing nearby and floated it towards the falls. It was fun to watch their antics (oh, to be young again!)
|Lisa enjoying the views|
I could've hung out all morning at the beach below Punchbowl Falls. But there was more good stuff to show my friends, so we climbed back out of the canyon and rejoined the main trail.
Last December a strong winter storm damaged one of the bridges beyond Punchbowl Falls. Rendered impassible by a fallen tree, the Forest Service closed the trail. (You can see the intact bridge about a month before the damage in this post from last fall.)
|Trail detour through the creek|
But late summer meant low flow in the creek below, and an unofficial scramble trail had formed. This rough path guided hikers around the closure.
|Lovely light on the forest|
So we continued on, past the broken bridge, through more thick forest.
|More steep cliffy trail sections|
Passing by more steep cliffs, the trail a narrow ledge blasted into the rock.
|Lisa checking out the scenery below|
|Looking down from High Bridge|
The High Bridge is named because it spans a deep slot-like canyon. Eagle Creek burbles away far below, its banks hemmed in by high basalt cliffs. We all enjoyed viewing the creek's waters from above. Dappled sunlight made interesting patterns on the water's surface.
|Interesting water patterns in Eagle Creek|
Although I usually avoid the Gorge during summer months, I was surprised by the beauty, even though the vegetation looked a little dry (Yes, I'm spoiled - I'm used to seeing this trail during the wet seasons when everything is either in bloom or sporting fall colors)
|Heading back across a talus slope|
On our return trip, the closer my friends and I got to the trailhead, the more people we encountered traveling the opposite direction. Past Punchbowl Falls, it turned into a regular conga line of hikers. We arrived to an overflowing parking lot, with vehicles beginning to line the entrance road. Time to get outta here - and find some liquid refreshment!
|More steep drop-offs|
We ended up at Thunder Island Brewery in nearby Cascade Locks. Hans and Lisa are my kinda people - they like to hike and drink beer!
|Time for liquid refreshment!|
After attempting to capture a group photo by propping my camera on the adjacent table's napkin holder, we drafted our server into action. He got this nice shot of us overlooking the Columbia River. Great views and great brews - here's to a wonderful day with my new blogging friends. Cheers!
|Beers with a river view|
I continue to be amazed how many wonderful people I've met through this awesome community of bloggers. Safe travels, Hans and Lisa! Hope we get to hike (and drink beer) again soon!
Follow Hans and Lisa's adventures on their blog, Metamorphosis Road.
Sharing with: Through My Lens