Monday, March 3, 2014

Ruckel Creek. Three trips and counting. Trip 3

On this trip I knew we were not getting past the first falls but I wanted to see what things looked like in the summer as well as show my father the drainage. We got a late morning start and headed out of town. After arriving at the usual parking spot we hit the old highway and were soon at the trail head for Ruckel Creek trail. The first thing I noticed was how low the water was.
Low water in Ruckel Creek
Low water in ruckel creek
The water was so low that I was not sure what the water at the first falls would look like. We headed up the drainage quickly by just walking up the creek. This did make things easier but I missed all the water. Soon we were at where the first small water fall was and there were no falls at all. Just a small pool.
Reflection pool.
we moved on quickly and found our self's at house of the hollies in no time and this time I got to walk through.
My father walking through House of the hollies.
Going through the boulders there was no visible water in the creek. We wondered at this point if there would be a falls at all. Soon we got our answer.
Mossy Grotto Falls.
Mossy Grotto Falls.
Mossy Grotto Falls.
Mossy Grotto Falls.
From the falls the water traveled for about 200 feet before it went into the ground. The time of year is mid July and I think I like it better in winter to be honest. We decided at this point to finish the day off by finding a small trail that went from the Ruckel Creek trail down to this falls.
Low water flow for sure.
After a little searching we found it and made a quick trip up to the Ruckel Creek trail. This is definitely the best way in if you just want to see the falls. The trail starts a the back of this scree slope and is not hard to find.
This is were the trail heads down.
A nice walk down the Ruckel Creek trail and back to the car finished the day. I will soon be back to check out the rest of the drainage. When that happens I will put it all up hear. I just wanted to thank the people over at the Off Trail Forum on PortlandHikers for all the great information I found there. DFTBA
Portland Hikers Off-Trail Forum

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Ruckel Creek. Three trips and counting. Trip 2

It's a could day in the winter again and my brother wants to head back to Ruckel Creek. I am in of coarse but there is only a couple of hours once we get there. I ask "have you seen the lower falls?" After a strong no we head out from the car park across from the fish hatchery for a second adventure.

Damp Holly Berries
 The nice thing about the lower falls is it is right next to the old highway. Simply walk to the trail head for Ruckel Creek and look over the north side of the road. A quick scramble down on the west side and a nice 40' falls awaits.
Lower Ruckel Creek Falls
Lower Ruckel Creek Falls
Lower Ruckel Creek 
My Brother at Lower Ruckel Creek Falls
After some time at the base we decided to burn the rest of the daylight on the creek above. It was not a lot of time but ow so pretty.
Ruckel Creek
Ruckel Creek
Ruckel Creek
As the sun fell low it was time to go and a BLT from the east wind drive-in was calling my name. Grabbing my camera gear we headed for the car.
Old Highway
Evening Sky

 When we got to cascade locks the sky went wild so the dinner would just have to weight. Sometimes the shots are more important.
Looking toward Washington
Sunset under the Bridge of the Gods
Brother and the sunset
Bring on the color.
Night fell and we had our BLT's. A great little trip and a return for sure as the night lights came into view.

 Hit Ruckel if you get a chance, it is so worth it.

Ruckel Creek. Three trips and counting. Trip 1

It's 2009 and my brother is back for Christmas vacation as is the case most years. Because he lives in the flat lands of the mid west an adventure is always on his mind and it is my job to come up with that adventure each year. This time around I chose to do some off trail waterfall hiking and Ruckel Creek in the Columbia river gorge was at the top of the list.
Spawning Salmon
Ruckel Creek is the next drainage system to the east of Eagle Creek in the gorge. The Salmon above was spawning in Eagle creek just north of the fish hatchery. We parked our car across the street from the fish hatchery to start our hike in.
As the day starts we hiked along the old highway till we reached the trail sign for Ruckel Creek trail. Following this for about 25 feet was all the trail we would see for quite some time.
Creek at the trail head.
Considering that it was the day after Christmas the water was up from winter rain and the temps were in the low 30's. Everything was supper green from the recent rain fall so the forest was full of beauty.
Ice sickles over Ruckel Creek
Time for a crossing.
Creek crossings were not to bad even with all the water but the thought off falling in was always on our minds. Soon we came to the first falls. I was a little surprised as it was about 10' tall but very load and pretty.
I had been told there would be very large boulders before the falls and there were not any but soon we found out what was up.
Small falls one.
We crossed the creek and got around it on the right side and before we new we were met with a second falls of similar size. This time we headed right again but up a very steep slope for about 30'. Once we reached the top our current location in the drainage was apparent.
Ruckel Creek
House of the hollies boulders in the background.
House of the Hollies is the name given to the corridor formed by three boulders as big as houses. Ruckel creek travels right through the middle of the boulders on it's way down the drainage. Under normal conditions people get to walk right through the boulders along the creek drainage but the water was to high and to cold on this day. This did tell me that we were close to the first true falls on Ruckel Creek.
This small falls blocked our way and up the slope to the right we went.
Through the forest was easy going and soon we could hear the sounds of what we new lay ahead.
Mossy Grotto Falls Ruckel Creek
Stopping to take in the seen it was clear how it had gotten it's name. I ran up the slope to the right to get some photo's of the world before me.
Mossy Grotto Falls
Mossy Grotto Falls note the ice on the right wall.
My brother and I move on up the creek for some more views and a closer look.
Mossy Grotto Falls
Mossy Grotto Falls
Me and the Bro at Mossy Grotto Falls
Mossy Grotto Falls
My brother at Mossy Grotto Falls
After we spent some time enjoying the falls we headed up and around it on the left. This took a little doing but soon we were back down near the creek and headed to number two. I had been told it was not far so I did not think it would take that long.
Mossy Grotto Falls from high on the left.
As it turns out they were right and soon we were at falls number two. It had been awhile since we had started so lunch was in order as well as more pics.
Middle Ruckel Creek Falls
Middle Ruckel Creek Falls
The snake stick.
The time had gone and it was time to leave. There was only about one hour of light left and we needed to be out of the drainage by then for sure. I thought to my self that the Ruckel Creek trail was way up to the left some ware so we headed up after it. After about 30 minutes of very steep hill climbing we found a large scree and the trail on the other side. I new we would get down safe for sure after that.
My brother in the scree

Ruckel Creek trail and the way home.
Down the trail and back to the car we got in just as full darkness set in but what a day it was. I could not wait to do it again and that is just what I did.