What Hiking Multnomah Falls Taught Me

18 Jul

Just the other day, I met up with two new friends (one of them a friend of a friend I met through Travel Massive in San Francisco) who had just arrived in Portland. They were doing a cross-country trip from New York, stopping by national parks, checking out cities, and having some great adventures. Portland was their last destination, and we made plans to get together. With the mention of Multnomah Falls, I dusted off my hiking boots and had them over for a vegan brunch: Mexican tofu scramble, avocado, and (obviously) mimosas.

We drove east on the 84 with the freeway hugged by pine trees, later opening up to a clear view of the Columbia River. This was only 30 minutes away from my home! Why had it taken me so long to get over there? I couldn’t believe my ridiculousness.

My new friends at the park's entrance

My new friends at the park’s entrance

After parking the car in the shade, we grabbed our water bottles and headed out into the 90 degree weather. We entered the park, and right away, I was taken aback by the beauty of this elegant, narrow 627 foot waterfall. While I have been to such places as the Iguazu Falls, the enchantment of naturally rushing river never fails to hypnotize me.

Staring up at Multnomah Falls and the Benson Bridge

Staring up at Multnomah Falls and the Benson Bridge

Where the waterfall ends: Looking down from the Benson Bridge

Where the waterfall ends: Looking down from the Benson Bridge

We walked a bit to the Benson Bridge, bringing us closer to the water so that we could feel its mist. My new friends and I wanted to go hiking, but I didn’t realize two things. 1. These girls had been hiking non-stop throughout their trip. 2. This hike was very steep, and it went to the top. I may be out of shape, but I am also stubborn as hell. One step at a time, my hamstrings and glutes threatening to kill me, I trudged up the trail. People in their fifties and sixties, parents carrying kids, and others who looked like they had never heard the word “exercise” in their lives passed by me on their way down. Even little Chihuahuas pranced by me gracefully on their three-inch legs, as if in mockery.

One of the easy trail passes

One of the trail passes

View of the Columbia River about 3/4 of the way up on the trail

View of the Columbia River about 3/4 of the way up on the trail

I thought I would pass out. I was sure I was going to fall down. Boulders looked like soft, inviting pillows. Sweat ran down my back in a furious stream. And finally, we reached the top. I took my boots and socks off, walked across the slippery rocks in the cold, cold water, and sat my ass down in the middle of the river. It was heaven. I felt like I had been wandering the Sahara Desert for days without water, and this water never tasted so damn good.

View from the top of Multnomah Falls

View from the top of Multnomah Falls

Mini falls at the top

Mini falls at the top

One of the damn doggies that beat me up the mountain

One of the damn doggies that beat me up the mountain

My resting spot... Such a sweet reward!

My resting spot… Such a sweet reward!

There is so much gorgeousness lurking everywhere in Oregon. I came away with two conclusions that day. 1. I need to (seriously) start hiking more. 2. If I’m already planning on seeing the Seven Wonders of the World, there’s no reason why I can’t see The 7 Wonders of Oregon!

And that is why, dear readers, I am now on a mission. With the Columbia River down, that means I have six left. I have been to its base, but not to the top, so that means I have to see Mt. Hood, the Oregon Coast, Painted Hills, Smith Rock, The Wallowas, and Crater Lake. A road trip is immediately in order!

Have you visited Multnomah Falls, and what did you think? Have you been to any of the wonders of Oregon in the United States? What appeals to you most?


3 Responses to “What Hiking Multnomah Falls Taught Me”

  1. Jamie July 22, 2014 at 11:47 PM #

    There aren’t many places in the world where you can go from a big city to huge waterfalls in such a short space of time. If you’re looking for some more hikes to do, check out http://www.portlandhikersfieldguide.org/ You can even sort the results out by difficulty! :)

    And definitely check out Crater Lake. It’s amazing.

    • Cristina Luisa July 23, 2014 at 2:27 AM #

      I know; it’s fantastic! Portland is amazing in so many ways. Thanks for the head’s up on places to hike. I really do need to start making it a habit. I think I’ll start on the easy hikes! ;-)

      I’m on my way to Crater Lake tomorrow. Woo-hoo! :-D How is life treating you in NZ?


  1. A Trip Unforeseen: Exploring Oregon | Chronicles of a Travel Addict - July 23, 2014

    […] we head to Crater Lake. As I stated before, I will see all of Oregon’s […]

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