Fort Cascade 10K Volksmarch

This was the last day of the Columbia River Gorge Biennial Classic.  We chose to do a flat walk on the Washington side of the river.

Directions said to proceed 3 miles from the end of the Bridge of the Gods west on SR14.  We were to look for a Brown Sign on the right side of the road that said Fort Cascade.  We never saw such a sign, so we turned around at Beacon Rock and retraced our route.  Back at Bridge of the Gods we turned around and tried it again.  We saw a sign (not brown and not 3 miles) that said Fort Cascade so we turned left and followed the road and sure enough saw a yellow sign for the walk.

We walked along the river to the Fort Cascade Kiosk.

Trail leaving the Kiosk headed off into the woods.

Leaving the woods we continued along the river eventually passing a water treatment plant.

Everything was fine until we came to the Stop sign.  The directions said to walk between the barrier and take path on the left onto Strawberry Island.  There were cars coming so we thought there is the barrier the trail is to the left and we turned walking along the river looking for an Island.

When I stopped to take this picture another walker passed us and continued along the river ahead of us.

We walked along the river for a very long time looking for the island.

Until we somehow ended up here which was way down on the directions.

I skipped to this point in the directions and it said turn around and retrace your steps.  Knowing that we had missed a lot of this event, we headed back toward our car.

We eventually saw some walkers high up on a hill to our left so we cut across and pickup up that path.  Here is Beacon Rock in the background.

Which brought us to the barrier we should have walked through but didn’t see because of the traffic and the preconceived idea that Strawberry Island was really an “Island”.

From there back to the finish we were on the official trail.

We passed a lot of these plants with huge leaves.

Remains of the Cascade Portage Railroad

Thomas McNatt (1828-1861)

Once again we had a great walk, just not the one that they had planned for us!




Eagle Creek 12K Volksmarch

This event was an out and back along Eagle Creek to the High Bridge.  For those more ambitious the trail continued another 12K up to Crossover Falls, but we turned around at the high bridge and came back down.  This turned out to be my favorite of the Columbia Gorge Events.  Even though the trail was narrow in spots and wet in others, it was a great hike.  For safety sake in a lot of places they had a steel cable you could hang onto.  In a lot of other places you would have to be very short or have really long arms to be able to use the cable!  It was a very busy trail.  We were sharing it with a group of photographers carrying tripods.  I was very glad when they all stopped at punch bowl falls and we could finish the hike to high bridge alone.

Multnomah Falls/Wahkeena Falls 10K – part 2

This is Part 2 –  Coming down the mountain on the Wahkeena Falls Side.  Lots more people on this side for some reason.  We walked for a time with a Volksmarcher from Washougal, WA.  Very nice talking to her.

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Multnomah Falls/Wahkeena Falls 10K – part 1

This is Part 1 –  Climbing up the mountain on the Multnomah Falls side.  We parked at Wahkeena Falls parking area and hiked over to the Lodge at Multnomah Falls.  From there it was a gently sloped trail to the Benson Bridge.  Beyond the bridge, the asphalt trail is a series of steep switchbacks to a ridge crest where the trail split off to the overlook.  The Overlook was closed due to a rock slide.  Elevation gain to this point is 700 feet.

From there we continued on up the slope on natural trails with tree roots, rocks, etc.  We passed Weisendanger Falls and then Echo Falls.  When we came to the split in the trail for Larch Mountain, we turned right and continue to climb.

Somewhere along the way we started going over the top of Mulnomah Falls but we were so high up we couldn’t tell.  Eventually we headed down on the Wahkeena Falls side of the mountain.

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Overlook to Bonneville 10K

Our first Volksmarch in the Columbia River Gorge started at the Overlook of the Bonneville Dam.


Most of the walk was an out and back on a nice wide trail.

The trail leads to the Wahcllela Falls Trailhead.

From there the directions say take the trail to the right going downhill cross a short bridge then an longer one, etc etc.

We started out along the level trail looking for a trail to the right crossing a bridge.  It made sense because we had a creek on the right side of the trail.

We came to this waterfall right along the left side of the trail which didn’t make sense to me.  The instructions didn’t say we’d be passing a waterfall.  Was this Wahcllela Waterfall?  No sign, no ribbons on the trail to indicate.  Where had we gone wrong?

We continued on and the trail started to climb.

Then we came to a set of stairs.  No where in the directions did it mention climbing stairs.  But we climbed to the top and the trail just continued to climb.  Nothing to indicate we were on the correct trail.  Here is a picture I took from the top of the stairs.

At this point we assumed we’d missed the turn somehow and returned to the trail head.  Am I disappointed that we came up to do this walk and didn’t get to see the waterfall.  YES I am very frustrated.  However, I’ve marked trail for Volksmarches myself and know that what makes perfect sense to me doesn’t to everyone else.  I do think in the future the club hosting this event should be much more specific in their directions.  Just because they know where the turn to the right is (way on up the trail from the stairs by the way) those coming from out of state to do the event will not.

From the Trailhead the walk crosses under I-5 and went to the Bonneville Hatchery which was pretty cool.

I loved the Sturgeon viewing tank.  Such gentle giants they are.

It was fun watching the rainbow trout also.

From the trout pond we made our way back out of the hatchery.

Crossed back under I-5 and returned to the overlook via the same trail we came out on.

This was a good walk, but for us it was probably at least 1K short of the 10K planned.  With better directions it would have been a great walk.  I’ve looked up Wahcllela Falls on google and it looks beautiful.  Sorry I missed seeing it.