The Backbone via 8 ½ waterfalls 12-22-20

Discussions and Trip Reports for off-trail adventures and rediscovering lost trails
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Location: SW Portland

The Backbone via 8 ½ waterfalls 12-22-20

Post by bobcat » December 23rd, 2020, 11:58 am

The outing began at Starvation Creek and we walked west on the Old Columbia River Highway path, taking a gander at Cabin Creek Falls and then detouring to Hole-in-the-Wall Falls after admiring the parabola ant nest. We cut up to Warren Creek Falls hoping the heavy rains had allowed some spillage down the old drop, but it was only a disappointing dribble. Looking up from the old highway, the full drop of Lancaster Falls could be seen through the bare maples and alders.

Cabin Creek Falls, Columbia Gorge.jpg
The parabola anthill, Warren Creek, Columbia Gorge.jpg
Hole-in-the-Wall Falls, Columbia Gorge.jpg
Warren Falls, Columbia Gorge.jpg

At Lindsey Creek, we cut in for the first off-trail waterfall, Harrison Falls, around a bend in the creek but not too far in. This one was going at a satisfying full spate. Then we continued on the OCRH to the powerline road between Lindsey and Summit creeks. (The powerline maintenance tracks in the Gorge have been resurfaced this year.)

Approaching Harrison Falls, Lindsey Creek, Columbia Gorge.jpg
Harrison Falls and Lindsey Creek, Columbia Gorge.jpg
At Harrison Falls, Lindsey Creek, Columbia Gorge.jpg
2019 viewpoint and Wind Mountain, HCRH, Columbia Gorge.jpg
Powerline connector off the HCRH, Columbia Gorge.jpg

Once at the powerlines, we headed over to Lindsey Creek, walking an old cat track up the rim and then finding a bit of a path down into the ravine. We reached a trackless bottomland cluttered with fallen trees and a diversity of torture devices, including (rated nicest to nastiest) trailing blackberry, salmonberry, devil’s club, and blackcap raspberry. Soon we were squeezed between the rushing creek and the ravine walls, crossing two small but living slides before arriving at Lindsey Creek Falls.

Powerline corridor between Summit and Lindsey creeks, Columbia Gorge.jpg
Looking at Lindsey Creek Falls, Columbia Gorge.jpg

Floundering back, we took the powerlines west to first get an overhead view of Camp Benson Falls (which some call Summit Creek Falls). Then we crossed Summit Creek above the falls. The brand new bridge here has already been thwacked by a couple of downed trees. We entered the Eagle Creek Fire zone on the east slope of Shellrock Mountain and followed the edge of the canyon up, first overshooting Summit Creek Falls, and then dropping back down to a spot where we could get a reasonable view up Summit Creek’s narrow defile.

Benson Camp Falls, Summit Creek, Columbia Gorge.jpg
Broken footbridge, Summit Creek, Columbia Gorge.jpg
Summit Creek Falls, Summit Creek, Columbia Gorge.jpg

To cap off the bushwhack, we headed over to get some views from the Backbone. A couple of bald eagles were floating along below us. Back at the parking lot, we had to drop in on Starvation Creek Falls before motoring home in separate vehicles.

View to Mitchell Point from the Backbone, Columbia Gorge.jpg
Wind Mountain from the Backbone, Columbia Gorge.jpg
Recrossing the Summit Creek footbridge, Columbia Gorge.jpg
Reuben and Ezra on the HCRH, Columbia Gorge.jpg

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Chip Down
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Joined: November 8th, 2014, 8:41 pm

Re: The Backbone via 8 ½ waterfalls 12-22-20

Post by Chip Down » December 27th, 2020, 9:53 pm

A fun stroll on a chilly damp day. Looks like you had the right company for it.

I kinda laughed at the bridge. Overly expensive and elaborate for a little creek, and promptly smacked down.
I suspect its main purpose is to serve utility crews, so I guess OSHA would gripe if they just threw a board across and called it good.

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