Monday, April 30, 2007

Search and Rescue Final Exam

This week was the final written exam for the Benton County Search and Rescue class on Thursday night.  It was a piece of cake and I scored a 95% on it.  On Saturday was our field practical evaluation.  We traveled to Starker forest at 6am and spent the morning conduction grid searches (I found a gun) while carrying a full daypack.  Then as we were eating lunch we were confronted by a full blown rescue scenario.  Todd (a CMRU member) came running down the forest road screaming bloody murder about his girlfriend and friend getting shot at or something.  We quickly mobilized, Nate Meehan assumed command of the rescue team and I took over responsibility of looking for the hurt girls.  We came across the first girl with "no pulse" written on her wrist and a mock bullet hole in her head.  I decided to move on with our real life EMT Gabe to check out the second girl who was found in a stream drainage with a compound fracture of her femur and heavy bleeding.  I held her hand, manned the radio, and coordinated a litter to be brought to the scene while Gabe administered first aide on her with his experience. We then packed her into the litter and carried  her out to the road where the scenario ended.  It was a great experience and I liked the fact that my ability to assess the situation correctly and lead properly was tested.  I think it went well and I definitely learned a lot.

We were set loose in the area at around 2pm to gather firewood and build a shelter for the night.  OvernighterIt was great weather so I didn't bother too much with an elaborate shelter and focused instead on gathering wood quickly. In the process I came across a huge skull with a bullet hole through the brain that looked like it must have been a
huge horse, elk, or perhaps cow.  I hung it at my site for kicks.  I then settled with with 4 cans of Starbucks double-shot espresso and my Geophysics book to study.  I easily got my fire blazing with plenty of wood and was able to study until about 3am when I just couldn't hold my eyes open any longer and fell asleep. 

In the morning the Benton county Posse (horse people) made us a huge breakfast of pancakes, eggs, ham, etc which was terrific seeing that I was then running on about 5 hours of sleep for the prior 48.  We talked about our experience, packed up all the trucks, signed out of the search scenario and headed back to the Public Works area to wash vehicles and put gear away.  We all had officially passed.  I then spent the afternoon on Sunday taking naps and trying to get work done for this week.  The SAR course was amazing and I learned a lot but thankfully it is over with because it took up a lot of my time and killed my weekends for nearly two months.  Once I get through my 80-hour Wilderness First Responder Course over the next two weeks I'll be fully certified with CMRU and will have spent over 250 hours of volunteer time with the organization since the 1st of this year, nearly double the annual time commitment expected in the first 5 months!!!

Here is an article on us... (click me)


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Kickball and BBQ at Kristen's

Today I played kickball on 25th street again.  It was a blast and I'm pretty sure we one but after a couple beers I lost track of the score... haha.  After the game everyone split up to go buy some food at Freddy's etc and then met up again at Kristen Splinter's house for an impromptu BBQ which turned out to be a real great time.  It's nice to have so many great friends here!  I really do feel at home here. 


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Biking with Tiffany

Today I took Tiffany biking up the backside of MacDunn from Soap Creek.  We took the figure-8 loop I had done a few weeks ago with a ton of single track on it.  It was crazy steep but Tiffany rocked it out!  She really is an amazing mountain biker.  I even found out that she won 1st place at the most recent mountain bike race in the area in her class.  That's nuts!  She's definitely my new riding partner for Oregon.  Everything the trail threw at her she seemed to just eat up.  We both ate some dirt on the ride and I was pleased to see that she just laughed it off.  It was a great ride and when it gets a little drier out I definitely want to head back to it with tiffany for some helmet shot footage bombing through the trees with her. 


Saturday, April 21, 2007

Downed Plane Scenario and Highline Training

This 477941962_8d9dc759dd_bweekend was a full weekend of CMRU-related training.  On Saturday with the Benton County Search and Rescue class I participated in a town-wide mock downed-plane search.  The teachers triggered an actual plane distress beacon
somewhere in Corvallis and we as teams of 4 had to triangulate the signal using what appeared to be large tv antenna's strapped to a stick (basically we looked ridiculous walking around with it). The strength of the signal determined the direction we were to move in which was coordinated by the base of operations for the scenario.  I'm happy to say that my team was able to locate the beacon most accurately at the fairgrounds.

On Sunday with CMRU we practiced highline rescue techniques.  We are one of the few rescue units in Oregon certified to use these techniques in a rescue scenario.  We use them when a victim is down in a ravine or similar area where they need to be477961907_bbe4dd3d32_b
pulled up and out of.   This involves a very complicated rigging of ropes to elevated trees, the use of pulleys, belay lines, and a litter to haul the person out with.  It took us all afternoon and by the end of the day my back was killing me from all the pulling of the rope... it certainly didn't help heal it at all.  I took video for most of the day when it wasn't raining out (rained the whole weekend) and I really feel like I learned a lot from the scenario.

Upon getting back to campus I rushed off to our first softball game of the year with our team "Team Upwelling" where we dominated and the game was called by the mercy rule in the 5th inning when we were up by 10!


Friday, April 20, 2007

Banff Mountain Film Festival

Tonight I took a trip with Anna, Tiffany and Eleanor to Eugene for the Banff Mountain Film festival tour.  We left school early around 3pm to make it to the columns in Eugene for some rock climbing first where I got some great video of Anna and Tiffany on the rock.  Eleanor and I chose to sit out and do some studying in the sun while the girls climbed although at the end Eleanor did take the chance to repel down the rock herself!  I was able to find a really fun downhill run for my longboard on the road next to the rock wall.  We left the Columns at 6 and headed downtown to meet up with Abby, Brycen, Robyn, Kristen Splinter, Nate Meehan, Jason, Julie etc at the Movie Festival sponsored by U of O outing club. 
    The intro to the movie tour was amazing!  Click link to check it out.  Check out the part where the guy ice climbing fractures the wall... nuts!  We watched 7 short films that were great ranging from mountain biking through Asia to mountain biking in Utah.  3 of the films I had already seen before from my own collection of outdoor flicks but it was awesome to see all my friends' reactions next to me to the amazing stunts and scenery.   It was a great experience and I definitely plan on going to the festival every year from now on.  Google the festival to see if it is coming your way!

    On the way home it looked like a volcano had erupted in downtown Eugene... we later found out an oil tanker truck had exploded... pretty crazy sight from the road on the way home!


Sunday, April 15, 2007

44 Miles on a Burger and Snickers Bar

    After the helicopter training yesterday I decided to go exploring MacDonald Dunn on my bike again.  This time I rode over Chip Ross Park up Dan's Trail over to the Oak Creek trailhead from my apartment.  The Loop was about 10 miles and was awesome.  I got home and  ate a burger... not really a burger  because I couldn't find a bun to go with it.  I spent yesterday evening trying to plan out about 5 hikes/bikes/runs in Cape Perpetua State Park to cover all the trails in that section of a guidebook I have of the Pacific Northwest.   
    Today I woke up around 9am and drove to coast without grabbing breakfast,462663281_1772a81ca1_b although I did grab a Snickers Bar from the drawer and the other half of the huge
burger I couldn't finish last night.  I started off my day hiking chowing down the rest of the burger and hiking along a short trail on some cliffs above the ocean in Cape Perpetua.  It was amazing to be so high up above the ocean and the very old stone structure at the end viewpoint was cool to stand in as it seemed to teeter out over the cliff face.
    I then went down to the ranger station and picked up an annual parking pass so 462662883_0d5301401c_b
that I would have one for the rest of my hikes this summer.  I then proceeded on my marathon of a day first running 2.5 miles down a trail along a river to a giant spruce tree that was about 8.5 feet in diameter at it's base.  It even had a whole straight through that I was able to walk through!
    After running down Giant Spruce Tree trail I stopped briefly at the truck to grab my backpack and video camera before heading down to the ocean to check out the Restless Waters Trial, Cape Cove, and the Captain Cook Trails.  I462656390_6da875ae9f_b
walked 462657432_7a5aa703f6_baround the rocky beach at Cape Cove then re-joined the Cape Cove trail to the Restless Waters Trail where I came upon a chute of churning waves that exploded when they hit the volcanic rocks of the shore into huge sprays of water.  I climbed down with my camera and shot some video of the waves coming in.  I got a little too close because one of them caught me off guard and soaked me pretty well.  Luckily I was able to cover up the camera lens before it got me!  I then walked around the shore to the south and462661709_855c390fce_b
checked out some tide pools with critters in them.  There was a rotting carcass of seal bones as well which was
interesting/gross to see.  I then came upon "spouting horn" which was neat to watch.  As the waves came in they were funneled into a narrow chute that focused the waters energy into a tall spout of water that blasted out of the rocks if the waves hit it just right.  I'd say that those trails along the shore were some of the coolest ones I've been on yet in Oregon and I was lucky enough to hit them at high tide to really see the power of the ocean waves against the rocks of the shore!

    After getting back from the shore I grabbed my bag to go on an 8 mile hike into the interior of Cape Perpetua by first following the Oregon Coast Trail to the Gwynn Creek Trail to the Cook's Ridge Trail back over through Discovery Loop for an 8 mile loop hike.  The hike was actually pretty uneventful but I'll always think that the Oregon woods are a beautiful area to walk through.  The trees are enormous and with wild flowers now out and small cascading waterfalls even a mediocre hike like this blows most of the East Coast hikes I've done away.  I actually think my years of hiking in the Adirondacks and Northeast below treeline has really made me appreciate the landscape and forests out here so much more!  My return through Discovery Loop was neat as there were signs posted all over telling about the flora/fauna around me.  It was more of a self-guided nature walk at the end.   

    When I got back to my truck I grabbed my Kona and headed to Cummings Creek to bike up to 1700 feet on a 12 mile trip, which turned out to be an awesome loop.  As I was nearing about halfway up the trail according to my GPS I saw a small herdpath leading to the left into the trees so I wandered in to check it out and mark the location with my GPS.  As I was there a really awesome downhill mountain biker almost ran into me and told me all about some hidden single track trails that weren't listed on the map.  Awesome!  I actually was going up the hard way to get to the ridge where the trails began as biking up the forest road to the north was easier but I didn't know.  So, I trudged on up the trail, walking my bike over the very rugged, very unused top portion of the trail to the ridge where I saw the single track discreetly duck into the trees from the marked trail.  The ride down was absolutely amazing and I could tell that it was cut by locals and not the forest service as I had many small trees to hop, or rocker over on the way down.  It was great to be able to hit up a "locals only" trail like that and when I back to my truck I can honestly say I was very exhausted... but not done yet...

    My next and last stop of the day was a hike along the coast to the Haceta Head Lighthouse.  462661666_5034bddcd4_bIt was a 6 mile hike and it was 6:45pm already... this was gonna be tight.  I parked my truck in the day-use area at the beach then462665973_67a20222ca_b
headed inland south for a while past some small ponds where I came across some cool looking newts in what appeared to me to be a tiny newt orgy... ha.  After about 30-45 minutes I crossed back over the road and headed up the trail towards the lighthouse which was
a modest ~500 foot climb, but at 462666183_5f7632fa68_b
this point I was exhausted.  I had eaten my snickers bar before I started the hike but I could tell my body had pretty much used all its available energy.  The lighthouse was really cool to see and in462666281_c9c6a7b131_b
the distance I could even see the Seal Caverns that Emily and I had explored just last week.  By the time I hit up the lighthouse and made it down from the head of land it was sunset which worked out perfectly for me.  Instead of heading back into the woods I ventured down to the beach and hiked the last 2 miles from the lighthouse down the beach watching the sun set over the Pacific Ocean.  It was the kind of moment that I really wish I could have shared with someone but I doubt anyone I know would have been crazy enough to follow me on my marathon adventure on the coast. 

    On the way home I was dead tired and hungry so I stopped for a burger at the462663076_f55d07feaf_b 462662906_ea66a5112d_b
Micky-D's Lounge in Newport before heading back to Corvallis. All told, according to my GPS since last night after my SAR training I
had hiked, biked and ran a total of 44 miles, running only on the energy of a one pound slab of 80% beef and a candy bar... not bad... Let's see vegetarians do that!  haha.   Anyway, it's 10pm now and I'm beat... Laters


Saturday, April 14, 2007

Search and Rescue Helicopter Training

Today we first had fire building and shelter building for the Benton County Search and Rescue class out on Mary's Peak. Nate and I made a fantastic natural shelter out of downed trees, bark and moss but we had a bit of trouble starting a fire out of the wet vegetation in the area. If we had had a machete like our buddy Mike had (teacher of the ROTC at OSU) we would have been able to chop down to dry wood but instead we ended up using a small candle to start our fires. Nate and I stopped for a quick lunch at Poor Boys and then headed to the Corvallis Airport for Helicopter training.

It was a cold excersize (helicopter not running) but we were able to go check it out and learn all about how they run their operations. I even got to sit in the cockpit. I felt like I was in Air Wolf and wanted to rise out of a dormant volcano (points if you get that reference). I honestly don't know how they fly those things because there must have been over 100 buttons, nobs, dials etc in the chopper that I had no idea462646418_f99c9907d8_b
how to read. There are about 20 people stationed there and 3 are on call at all hours. They can be in the air in less than 7 minutes, have a range of ~150 miles and the bird flies at 175mph fully loaded. They run on average atleast one mission a day and all, even the pilot, are medically trained so they can freely rotate positions. It was truly amazing to see how specialized and well trained the personel were. Later this year we may also be able to train with a hovering Black Hawk helicopter such as the ones used on the famous Mt. Hood rescue where one crashed. Check my flickr site for photos under the CMRU set.


Friday, April 13, 2007

So long Mr. Baur

So last night I got to say a great farewell to my lab mate and good friend Jan Baur.  Jan is a geophysics student like myself working with my advisor's husband on siesmology also.  He just finished his masters here and is now moving on to the amazing country of New Zealand to continue his studies.  He is originally from Germany and463828529_d265af1174_b
I'm going to miss giving him shit for his accent and for not knowing common English phrases like "dirty blonde".   Last night was the send off party at his place on 13th street.  It was packed as it usually is at his parties.  Anna, Eleanor, and I rolled up to the party around 11:30 after playing kickball (I nailed a bunt home run cause they weren't fast enough to actually peg me with the ball) and going out to dinner at McMennamins with Brendan.  Apparently the  
cops had come early in the night and given them a warning as they were having a 463829537_e9e83c9553_b_1
bbq.  Everyone was dressed up in some sort of crazy outfit - guys as girls, cowboy hats, and Toshi even put on what looked like an ice skating or luge outfit - who knows what you'll find at th477927372_847544d89e_o
at place.  Jan ended up burning an old snowboard in a bonfire out back and Anna continued hers streak of shot-gunning beers at parties lately.  After playing slap-the-bag of wine for a while Jan pretty much lost the ability to speak English, Hartz was out of control, I was raging on a bowl of Jan's garlic pasta salad, and Anna was hammered, all in all a great night.  I left around 3:30am against the wishes of Jan who wanted to party more but I had to get up at 7am and boy was it rough when I did....   Gonna miss ya buddy! 


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Exploring MacDunn with the Tiffster & Anna

Today I decided it was time to go for a bike ride with Tiffany again and Anna joined us.  I wanted to explore some of the unmarked trails of MacDunn again so we parked on Skillings Road off Oak Creek and road up some forest service roads to about 1700 feet where we followed a ridgeline through forested lands.  It rained pretty hard on the ridge but we had rain jackets and I had brought towels for my truck on the ride home because I knew we'd be covered in mud.  When we got to the end of the ridge a rainbow came out that stretched across all of Corvallis in the Valley below - Beautiful!  Anna's knee barely held together and both girls were super cold by the end of the ride but we all had a great time and plan to ride again next week.


Sunday, April 8, 2007

Happy Easter!

Well, didn't really seem like Easter today until I got to Kristen Splinter's house for the Easter Potluck with Eleanor & Anna.  I had just enough time to get home from my hike, shower, throw in a box of potatoes au gratin and then walk over.  We made it right when they were serving everyones dishes.  Meribeth had on a cute kitchen smoke her mom had made for her and there were a bunch of people I knew and didn't know there.  The food was amazing and the ham was cooked perfectly.  There ended up being about 4 potato dishes but they were so different that it didn't matter.  We had an easter egg hunt for about 50 eggs that were hidden around the apartment and despite Eleanor cheating and starting the hunt during dinner about 30 minutes before anyone else Kerri still won the grand prize of a soap bottle to blow bubbles with.  The desserts were amazing especially the strawberry pie Suzie made!  After finishing a bit more wine and a very terrifying story by a guy with a french accent about yeast, bread, and Seattle hippies we thanked everyone and took off back to my place so the girls could give me a quick hair cut in the kitchen.  I haven't really check it out yet because I'm afraid to so I hope it's ok and they didn't carve any words into the back of my skull!  Happy Easter!


20 Falls Trail - Canyon Trail

p>Got up around 10 today and decided to go for a nice ~10 mile hike in the very scenic Silver Falls State Park just east of Salem about an hour away.  When I got there I realized the ticket machine for the parking pass couldn't break a ten so452032593_73ac77802d_b
had to beg for a buck from passing motorists in the parking lot.  The first guy I asked, a nice looking older guy, happily gave me a buck (I love the friendliness of people in Oregon - especially the outdoorsy types).  After parking I got started on the hike which was very well maintained.  So much so that I saw elderly people walking it with canes and families with young children as well.  It was more of a very well built and well maintained walkway path through the woods than a trail.  It led past well more than the ten waterfalls the book wrote about although the others were smaller ones. 

I can't say enough about this hike.  It starts off walking behind South Falls which is easily 90+ feet tall and drops to a gorgeous pool below then continues for 5 or452039639_8da6c3940c_b
so miles along multiple streams and rivers past many more enormous falls.  I believe I literally walked behind 4 falls in total.  When I mean behind I mean you 452034849_1335e3b550_b
can literally follow a path underneath the falling water cascading off the cliff above your head.  I took lots of pictures and stopped multiple times at each waterfall but I have run out of picture space on this blog to post them unfortunately.  Click Here to see the full set of pics from this hike as well as many others from my travels in the Pacific452040423_0752ff271b_b
Northwest so far.  When I got to the end of the Canyon Trail I turned around and literally ran the Rim Trail so I would get home in time to go to Kristen Splinter's Easter Pot Luck.  Awesome hike.  The 10 mile hike took me about 3 hours and that was with a whole ton of stops for pictures as well.


Saturday, April 7, 2007


After SAR training today and putting my crank arm back on my bike... (I went riding with Chris on Wed and got all the way to the trailhead from town and my damn pedal fell off... pretty awkward goofy looking ride back to town with one leg) I met up with Anna, Brendan and Eleanor to go to a Rodeo!  Eleanor and Anna had cowboy boots on and for the first time in a long time I saw Anna in skirt... pretty cute!  Brendan showed up in an all denim outfit and we rolled out to my first rodeo.  It was just outside of town and they had barrel racing with the "queens of the rodeo" girls, horseback riding, bull riding, and a cute egg race for the little kids.  I saw a ton of people from school there including Jan in a cowboy hat, Pam, Tiffany, Hartz, Toshi, the bucket of hair, Shilo etc.  It was really cool to see all the competitions and all the tough cowboys get their asses handed to them by the animals.  One guy even got dragged two times around the entire place by his hand still attached to the strap on the horse all twisted up.  It looked like he should have been dead but he just got up and walked it off.  Another kid flew off a bull and landed on his head.... so messed up but he decided to take a 2nd turn and got his ass handed to him again... poor guy.  He was the last one and as we left he was still hobbling around in the dirt.  Eleanor was nice enough to get a poster signed by all the rodeo queens for me which I now have stuck on our whiteboard.  After the rodeo the four of us came back and watched Die Hard in my room which Eleanor hadn't seen before.  It was a long day and a cool night but I'm happy to get to bed now cause I'm going to go for a 10 mile hike tomorrow.


Human tracking

This morning I got up very hung over to go to the Search and Rescue field Training for Benton County to learn how to track human beings that are lost through pretty much any terrain.  The trackers who taught us were experts and can find a trail in any conditions.  It was sad to hear that they often aren't called out on rescue searches and because of that rescue teams often head off in the wrong direction based on incorrect information that the trackers would have picked up on easily.  I learned a bit but definitely not as much as I'd like to.  I really want to take more tracking classes and get certified so that I can bring that skill to CMRU when we are out looking for lost people but right now I don't have enough time in my life.  Perhaps next year or the year after.


Friday, April 6, 2007


What a first week of school!  Three of my classes were cancelled so I now have only one class.  I do have a reading and conference with my advisor that will be as tough if not tougher than a class as well though.  It's been beautiful all week long so today Anna and I decided to go for a hike up nearby Mary's Peak at 4pm.  We got pretty close to the summit but turned around because Anna's poor knees were hurting her.  I didn't mind.  Once I have a summit I could care less if I make it to the top or not... wierd huh?  At 7 we met Chris Holm and Tiffany at the climbing center for a couple hours of climbing.  Tiffany is pretty damn good and has obviously learned a lot from Anna.  Chris was a sweaty bastard, and I of course stuck to only 5.9's. 

Another interesting story from the day is that I went to the OSU doctor for an x-ray of my back and it appears to him that I may have a compound fracture of one, if not two of my vertebrae in my mid-upper back!  No wonder my back has been hurting for so long!  Maybe I should stop flipping upside down into pools of water and racing my mountain bike downhill for a while?   Well, we might be able to add a broken back now to my list of injuries! 

After eating some bratwurst at home I met up with the gang (Abby, Brycen, Robyn, Eleanor, Anna, Chris, Aaron, Toshi, and Brendan) at Crowbar downtown for a quick drink before heading to Platinum to see Amadon Play.  There was a $10 cover at Platinum which we decided we didn't want to pay so we headed to the Peacock for some Karaoke instead.  What ensued was hysterical.  Eleanor and I stole the show of course singing multiple songs including a horrific rendition of "Barbie Girl"!  Apparently, I did a pretty good job on "Ice Ice Baby" and "Busta A Move" giving several shoutouts to Anna, Eleanor, and Hartz, "the heart breaker" whome I found out the next morning after watching a video of myself Brendan taped, I called a "table cloth"!.  Hahaha.  It was a great night with all my buddies and I got to rock it like a rockstar for atleast a little while until the Lord of the Rings "troll" DJ decided not to play anymore of my songs so we left.


Sunday, April 1, 2007

Eagle Creek to Tunnel Falls

On Saturday morning after waking up and a great breakfast from Eleanor at the Cabin, Chris, Toshi, Emily and I headed around Mt. Hood down to the ColumbiaEagle_creek_tunnel_falls_33107_008
River Gorge for a hike I had found in one of Jason’s books up Eagle Creek to Tunnel Falls.  Chris had done the hike several times before and knew some secrets the book didn’t tell so he was to be our guide.  We got to the trailhead around 1pm and toEagle_creek_to_tunnel_falls_33107_013
my amazement I found that I had forgotten my approach running shoes…. This posed a HUGE problem.  Nobody else had a size 10 shoe and I only had my Mick Fanning Reef flip flops or my ski boots… I chose the flip flops.  It was about 50 degrees out and rainy so I made sure Emily wore my REI gore-tex jacket and I through on my old EMS one as well.  The hike was a 12 mile round-trip hike out to Tunnel Falls and back. 

I’ll be completely honest right now when I say I was really nervous about it.  I have extremely tough feet but 12 miles over volcanic rock and terrain in flip flops seemed to push it a bit, but I wasn’t about to cancel a beautiful hike because of my mistake and was determined to suck up any pain that might occur from me being a dumb-ass.  At first I started off switching back and forth between barefoot and the flip flops but then just chose to keep them on because the rocks were so sharp.  My feet were definitely soggy and cold and I know my body was working extra hard to keep my extremities warm.  I the beginning of the hike the sun was out occasionally as it was also at the end of the hike but in the middle deep in the forest it was cold and pouring rain so all of us were a bit cold and wet but ultimately it was all worth it and I can safely say that it was one of the top 5 best hikes I’ve ever been on.

The hike itself followed Eagle Creek deep into the mountains surrounding Columbia River Gorge.  The trail was mostly perched on the steep slopes of the hillsides above the river and often had steel cables bolted into the wall for safety.  The trail was very busy with a lot of people who gave my feet funny looks as they passed by in their mountaineering boots…  Many of the walls we walked Eagle_creek_to_tunnel_falls_33107_007
around were dripping water off the top overhangs so we were actually walking behind tons of little water falls on the way up (weeping walls).  We continued on to Punchbowl falls which was a 25 foot waterfall into a pool of water below.  We scouted it out and noticed a perfect place to cliff jump there possibly later this summer when it was warmer and the water was less dangerous.

As we continued on the trail become a lot steeper and elevated above the river
Eagle_creek_to_tunnel_falls_33107_025 Eagle_creek_to_tunnel_falls_33107_023
which funneled through a chute that kayakers were taking.  We stopped several times to check out the kayakers from a bridge
up the trail.  We were also trying to determine how high of a cliff jump I would be from where we were standing.  I was estimating 100 feet but I couldn’t tell for sure.  Check out the picture here, blow it up, and look at the top right corner to see a man standing on the trail for a reference scale of how big the Eagle_creek_to_tunnel_falls_33107_097
area was.  The kayakers looked like they were having an amazing time running the rapids.  One flipped his boat and almost got pulled back but righted himself just in time. 

We continued on and after a while of sludging through the rain
Eagle_creek_tunnel_falls_33107_037 we came upon Tunnel Falls.  There is absolutely no way for me to justify the beauty of this place in words.  It was absolutely amazing.  Due to spring snow melt and the rain all morning the
raw power of the water pouring over the edge 50 feet above youEagle_creek_to_tunnel_falls_33107_048
to 50 feet below you was amazing to behold.  The best part is the “tunnel” part – a hole blasted in the rock for the trail to walk directly behind the waterfall.  Blow up the pictures again here and look closely at them to see how big the falls were compared to ourEagle_creek_tunnel_falls_33107_045
bodies.  It was absolutely nuts!  I actually got so close that I stuck my head into the falling water briefly for a few shots.  This is usually where people turn around and head back but Chris took us a little further up the trail to another awesome waterfall gushing over a ledge right next to us from a different tributary of Eagle Creek. 

By this time I was getting really cold as was the rest of us so we picked up the Eagle_creek_to_tunnel_falls_33107_090
pace and actually made it back to the car in about half the timeEagle_creek_to_tunnel_falls_33107_092
it took us to get to Tunnel Falls.  Thankfully the half inch piece of leather holding each of my flip flops together actually held (I will forever by Reef products now).  When I got to the car the leather had rubbed through some of my skin on my feet and they were bleeding.  It felt so good to occasionally stop in creeks and waterfalls on the way back to cool my sore feet off. 

We decided to take a small trip on the way back to Multinomah Falls because there was so much water we guessed it would be much bigger and powerful then when Kenny and I saw it last September during the dry season and we were right.  On the way Emily and I decided to stop to get gas and while we were Chris and Toshi passed us only to be pulled over on the highway by a dumb cop that obviously didn’t have his bifocals on and couldn’t read chris’s inspection sicker or something leaving Chris with an unnecessary warning.  Emily and I did get a laugh as we drove by them pulled over though!   

After checking out the falls Emily and I thanked Chris and said goodbye to Toshi and took off to Portland for a wonderful dinner at Steamers (I’m in love with Pacific Northwest Oyster Shooters now) and overnight at a motel there.  In the morning we got a quick breakfast and I said a painful goodbye to her.  It really sucks living so far away from her but hopefully this trip led her to fall in love with Oregon and possibly visit again soon!