The gorge is an amazing place at any time but even more so on those choice occasions when the thermometer heads for the basement. The first couple of weeks in January, 2017 were noteworthy with a persistent cold weather system keeping the gorge especially chilled. I concentrated on the Eagle Creek trail, logging 65 miles and over 10k’ EG over seven days. Then the increasing accumulation of ice and snow forced the road to be closed and that was that for a few days. This is the story of one of those days, Thursday, Jan. 5th, 2017.
By the 5th, the cold had been continuous since early on the 1st, below freezing all day and dipping in to the mid to low teens overnight. I wanted to hike as far as I could on the trail, taking in what I knew would be some great views of icy waterfalls.
Unusual for Eagle Creek, the TH was deserted but at 14 degrees on a weekday, not unexpected! On the way, I paused briefly at Horsetail falls for a photo presaging what I’d see later:
At the start of the trail the icicles were growing:
The trail became increasingly difficult less than halfway to Tunnel Falls:
After over 6 miles, I finally made it to Tunnel Falls, and it was amazing. This was the first time I’d ever seen it so iced up. I walked through the tunnel and took a couple of apprehensive breaths before continuing:
Here’s a short video:
Here are some still shots taken after passing through the tunnel:
Now the trail got even worse, but I wanted to see the next falls before I headed back.
A quarter mile farther is Criss-Cross Falls:
Above Criss-Cross falls, the trail got decidedly narrow and even slipperier, so I called it a day.
One last look at the inside of the tunnel:
A look back:
13.3 miles RT, 1,880′ EG.