Sunday, July 5, 2009

Video Journal of Oregon's Eagle Creek Trail

(Click the Title to see the Video)


The Eagle Creek Trail is certainly one of the most popular trails in Oregon. It begins at the junction of Eagle Creek Canyon and the Columbia Gorge. Not far from the quaint town of Cascade Locks.

For an Oregonian the trail begins with ordinary features. A thousand Oregon trails begin just like this one. A tumbling trail side creek. A Densely forested terrain. Bridges traversing the canyon’s many tributaries. Thick thatched Paths. Grand Douglas Fir, Western Cedar and Broadleaf Maple compliment the trail. High tree covered canyon walls tower above. Even the usual Oregon trail companion, a Leopard Slug can be found here.

But, not long in to the hike the Eagle Creek Trail begins to show off it’s unique and spectacular features. The trail was built in 1910 by Italian Engineers to compliment the new Columbia Gorge Highway. Portions of the trail had to literally be blasted out of the steep volcanic cliffs of the canyon. At times, one has to hold on to the cables provided for stability while walking the precipice of the trail. Just one of the variety of opportunities to experience the exhilaration of Eagle Creek’s wonders.

Yet, as much as the amazing trail construction impresses one’s mind and senses, it is the creek itself that is the main attraction, drawing sauntering souls to its cascading call. Alfred Billings Street once said, “Nature is man's teacher. She unfolds her treasures to his search, unseals his eye, illumines his mind, and purifies his heart; an influence breathes from all the sights and sounds of her existence.”

As the Eagle Creek hiker encounters one cascading waterfall after another along the creek’s path, all the cares and worries of the world seem to melt away in her waters.

There is a dramatic theme to this trail, as if intentionally plotted out with the wilderness lover in mind. At four and a half miles in to the hike the trail rounds a bend in the canyon to reveal an unnamed deep narrow gorge. From the appropriately name, High Bridge, that spans the gorge, one can stop and look 100 feet below to inspect the geological features of the gorge. It is simply a massive volcanic crack at the bottom of the canyon, creating shear rock walls to funnel the passage of the creek.

In just 2 more miles the drama of the Eagle Creek Trail is realized as the hiker is rewarded with one of the greatest waterfall scenes ever to be experienced. Tunnel Falls. While the construction of this trail and tunnel are extraordinary, it is the natural wonder of the falls that draws one’s attention. As I reflect upon the entire length of the trail to this point, it is clear to me that Man’s best efforts can only compliment what God has already done in nature and the builders of this trail were wise enough to understand this.