Six years ago today, back before a few teens destroyed it with a firecracker, we hiked Wahclella Falls for the first time. Honestly, I wasn’t much of a hiker then, but looking back now, this is one of my favorite places on earth. One of the more spectacular waterfalls in the Gorge, Wahclella was well worth the 2.4 mile round-trip hike. A 350-foot two-tiered plunge, its upper falls are 15-25 feet, while the lower 60-foot horsetail fall plummets into an enormous splash pool. (source) It will never look this way again in our lifetime. It breaks my heart to think I won’t ever see it again except through my images and memories. When I first heard about the fire (at 3 am while trying to fall back asleep) I was inconsolable. I woke Daniel up and we both poured over images of flames and smoke, hoping fruitlessly it would turn out to be a close-call and spare this area. Sadly, the devastation to the gorge was irreparable – this trail and many others were lost to a whole generation, if not more.
Through these images I hope you can feel the icy stream, hear the thunder of the falls, and imagine the earthy scent of the moss-covered rocks and trees. Nature will renew itself over time, and I am hopeful that I’ll get the chance to see this place again some day. In the meantime, please, please teach your children to respect nature by leaving no trace.