Upwardtrails a Christian Activities Organization, Portland,Ore.USA.tr.4.19.09
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Cape Horn

May 23rd, 2009
About 7 miles***11 people including 5 new & 2 dogs***

Really nice weather

There’s a new bus stop in an unlikely place, seemingly, in the middle of nowhere along Hwy. 14 just east of Cape Horn in Washington. This is where we all met up to start the hike. It was a popular choice that day as there were other groups going up. One guy who had hiked it before, said he couldn’t recommend it for either kids or dogs. I’d have to agree with him.

The trail starts down through lush, deep woods with scattered Larkspur, crosses a little creek, then starts climbing steadily for the next mile or so. The fast hikers went on ahead. The rest of us came to a gravel road and walked that till we saw the trail again. After we sat down to rest a bit, the fast hikers caught up to us. (lol - They had also sat down to wait for us, but they were on the trail, so that gave us time to catch up to them.) Now that we were regrouped, we continued up the trail passing viewpoint after dizzying viewpoint of the river and fields far below.

We leveled off along a gravel road passing some private, green fields of grass dotted with oak trees. Following down the road took us back into the woods and the top of more lofty viewpoints. There’s a stretch of Hwy. 14 that hangs out over the cliffs on pilings which are visible from the Oregon side of the river. The trail goes over the top of the cliffs above this section of highway and drops down to the west.

Just before dashing across the highway between cars, we walked through a natural garden thick with blue Larkspur and pink Honesty flowers (aka dollar plant).

After another viewpoint near a little waterfall, the group separated with the faster hikers going on ahead, while us ramblers, stopped for a leisurely lunch break. We continued west, down a rough scree, till we came to a viewpoint overlooking the train tracks just as they disappeared into a long tunnel.

From here, we turned east, and hiked up a second scree in the hot sun. Just as we could really use some shade, we rounded a corner and came face to face with a beautiful waterfall raining down from a basalt cliff high overhead. The actual waterfall is several hundred feet high, but it drops in several sections, so the entire falls can only be viewed from the river or from the Oregon side. This section is a little over 100’ tall. It felt like an oasis deep in the jungle. The backlighting of the sun created a rainbow at the base of the falls. The trail passes under the waterfall, but the water was just too inviting to resist, so I walked through it a couple of times to cool off.

After this the trail rambles in little hills up & down, passing some rather scary spots and the other end of the train tunnel before dropping us out on a private road.

Walking up the road, we could look up to the west to see several tourists looking down on us from the highway viewpoint way above.

After the hike, some of us stopped in at the Jerusalem Café in Vancouver to try some middle-eastern food for dinner.

The camas flowers were late this year, but the group enjoyed the leisurely stroll on this sunny day. Some of the group stopped at DQ on the way home.

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