STARVATION CREEK FALLS-WATERFALL HUNTING AT IT’S FINEST-CONCLUSION.

I made a promise that I’d blog about the second half of my hike at Starvation Creek State Park. If you haven’t read the first half yet, you should check it out. This hike is every waterfall hunters dream. It offers up a 2.6 mile hiking loop that has amazing views of the gorge, beautiful creeks, and passes by three stunning waterfalls. Like I mentioned in my last blog, if waterfalls are what you seek, then there is no need to hike the full 2.6 mile loop. All three waterfalls are just an easy stroll through the woods. But if you’re looking for unforgettable views of the gorge, taking the full loop is a must. Last spring I took my dogs here and from our experiences there is definitely some need to know before you go information.

When I first arrived at Starvation Creek State Park I was a little confused as to where the trailhead began. There was a paved trail that ran right next to the parking lot. Do I go left or do I go right? On the right hand side the trail was boring. There were no trees, no bushes, and it took you right along the side of the busy highway. On the other hand heading left on the paved trail took you through a deep lush green forest with wildflowers, creeks, and a picnic area with waterfalls. It seemed like an easy decision to head left but everybody there was heading right. So we followed the crowd.

Cabin Creek Falls

The dogs and I walked along the busy highway for only a short distance. Trees soon separated us from the road and our lovely hike in the woods began. Or so I thought. As we made our way along the paved trail we soon started to hear peaceful sounds from Cabin Creek Falls. My excitement began, but right before we got there I saw a sign that said head left for the 2.6 mile loop. I looked at the trail and hesitated for a second. It was narrow and steep. It practically went straight up a mountain and the sounds of loose rocks tumbling down made me realize danger might be ahead. “Mmmm”, I asked myself, do I continue following the easy path through the woods toward the sound of waterfalls? Or do I head left up the scary dark path with spider webs and creepy noises? As I stood there looking back and forth, I began to feel like I was in some crazy teenage horror movie. So sure enough I made the obvious decision and headed left up the scary trail. About half way up I began to wonder what I got myself into. It was a tough climb. My legs were burning, I was sliding on rocks, but there was no turning back. Going down this mountain would be even more dangerous than going up.

View of the Gorge

We made it to the top! It was well worth the climb. The views were unbelievable. Around every corner we turned we got hit with another stunning view of the gorge. For the next hour and a half the dogs and I had the whole place to ourselves. Now I don’t mean to sound all gushy, but something special happens when you have complete solitude in a place like this. And once you experience it you begin to crave it. You want more. You’ll do stupid things like climb scary trails up steep mountains. All for the thrill of experiencing Mother Nature at it’s finest. But be careful out here It can be dangerous. For every great view I stumbled upon, there was a steep cliff below. So leave the kids at home and keep the dogs on a leash.

After a peaceful hike along the edges of the mountain the trail began to head down hill. The views disappeared and the sounds of rushing water grew louder and louder. Soon enough we came to this lovely creek. It was gorgeous. The dogs got excited and jumped in for a refreshing drink of ice cold mountain water. It was a perfect spot for a quick break so I threw down my pack and chugged some water as well. Then it hit me. There’s no bridge over the creek. Oh crap now what. Within a matter of seconds this lovely little creek turned into a monster river with water crashing down and slamming into rocks over and over again. Now what. I had two options at this point; turn around and head back and risk going down the dangerous steep trail. Or find a way to cross the creek. Well off came the shoes and socks because there was no way I was turning back now. Luckily we found a safe place to cross. The dogs had no problem. I on the other hand had to tip-toe barefoot through the icy cold and rocky water. I crossed my fingers hoping I wouldn’t step on anything sharp or stub a toe. I made it across alive! Thank goodness. Man that water was cold.

Soon after we crossed the creek the waterfall chasing began. The first waterfall we came to was Landcaster Falls, Shortly after that was Hole-In-The-Wall Falls. From there the trail went back to being nicely paved and we soon passed by the third waterfall, Cabin Creek Falls. I then knew our full 2.6 mile loop was almost over. We were exhausted, but felt refreshed and relaxed at the same time. It’s funny how hiking can do that to you. It took us roughly 3 hours to hike the full loop. Overall it was a great day.

If you plan on heading out there, be sure to check out my “need to know before you go” list below.

*Take the 2.6 mile loop in a clockwise direction.
*This trail is NOT kid friendly. Please bring a leash for the dogs.
*A pair of water shoes like Chaco”s would have come in handy.
*Hiking boots are a must. And a trekking pole would have been nice too.
*A medical kit is a smart idea. I spent a good hour and a half out there all by myself.
*Pack a lunch and enjoy a picnic next to Starvation Creek Falls when you’re done.

-written by U.S. Outdoor employee Shawna B.

EAGLE CREEK FIRE

Eagle Creek is the most popular spot to recreate in the Columbia Gorge. The Eagle Creek trail hosts spectacular views as you pass by many waterfalls. The payoff is the iconic Punchbowl falls. The water spills down a hundred feet into a blue-green bowl. It looks like something out of a fairy tail. At the end of the trail, just for good measure, is Tunnel Falls. The trail passed through a tunnel behind the falls. It’s awesome.

View of the Eagle Creek fire from across the Columbia River

On Saturday September 2nd a fire was reported at Eagle Creek in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. It was started by some teenagers who had the brilliant idea of throwing fireworks off a cliff. Now, we were all teenagers once, and probably did some pretty dumb stuff, I certainly did, so I’m not calling for jail time. Just some community service till they’re in their 40’s. Hey, maybe they should plant some trees. Overnight the fire had spread to about 3,000 acres, and by Tuesday to 200,00 acres. Embers had flown across the Columbia River and started a fire at Archer Mountain. Can you dig that? The fire was so huge that it started a fire across one of the widest rivers in the world. Unbelieveable.

As of this Saturday morning the fire has expanded to 33,682 acres and is 7% contained. There is a massive effort to combat this fire. There are 987 firefighters, 102 engines, and 12 helicopters dumping water from the Columbia onto the fire. One of the great things to come out of disasters like this are the heroic efforts of our emergency personnel. Sunday night the jewel of the Columbia River Gorge, Multnomah Falls Lodge, had come under danger of being destroyed. Flames had lit up the entire ridge behind the lodge, coming as close as 30 yards. By midnight Monday it was a close call. The firefighters had to constantly douse the lodge with water. The roof is cedar and they were worried one ember could spark a blaze. Crews had to replenish their water from Multnomah Creek. There are no fire hydrants at the lodge. By 3 a.m. they had beaten the blaze back. The crews are going to stay until they are 100% sure the lodge is safe.

The Hero’s of Multnomah Lodge

The Eagle Creek fire is far from over and if you would like to help here are a few ways to do so:

Hood River County Search & Rescue

American Red Cross