On this lovely holiday weekend, we celebrated the fact that we now live so close to the Columbia River Gorge (45 minutes, rather than 3 1/2 hours!) by crossing one of our Oregon to-do items off the list: hiking Oneonta Gorge.
I guess “hiking” isn’t the most accurate term, since there’s no trail. You just walk up Oneonta Creek, over an enormous, tricky log jam, and get completely soaked in freezing water that was up to my shoulders. It was pretty glorious.
We went on Labor Day, so we were right to expect an enormous crowd, which made for a bit of a traffic jam when it came to navigating the log jam (and resulted in way too many “jam” puns from the Ringers). Luckily, everyone was super nice, patient, and willing to help one another on the slippery parts. I imagine there’s a pretty limited season when doing this hike is possible, since water levels would be higher (and so much colder) any other time of year, so big crowds are probably pretty typical during August and September weekends.
The walk up the creek (around a 1/2 mile) ended in a lovely waterfall, which some people were crazy enough to stand under. My shivering body was content to just admire it from afar.
These next two photos (along with the rest of the 10 photo progression of me crossing the deepest part of the creek, which I won’t make you see) make me laugh out loud every time I look at them. I look like I’m just helplessly drowning, but that’s how deep the water was. (And you’ll just have to trust me because all of the other people in the photos are only in water up to their knees.)
A few tips for this little trek:
-Wear water shoes with some good grip for climbing over the log jam. (Our Chacos were great.)
-If you bring a camera, make sure some member of your group is tall enough to hold it over their heads to keep it dry (one of the many benefits of marrying a man over 6 feet tall).
-Bring towels to dry off afterwards. (Since all of our belonging are currently in storage during the move-that-would-never-end, we had a single hand towel that wasn’t super helpful.)
-Get there early to avoid the crowds. The parking situation was pretty insane as we were leaving around noon.
To get to Oneonta Gorge, take I-84 east of Portland. Avoid the Multnomah Falls traffic jam by following I-84 to exit 35, and backtracking just a few miles west on the Historic Columbia River Highway. Parking is a free-for-all on the side of the road, but Oneonta Gorge is well-marked. And you can follow the trail of wet, shivering people.