Unnamed tributary · Wahkeena Creek · Columbia River Gorge · Bridal Veil · Oregon · USA

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Mid-afternoon sun lends a shock of subtly auburn highlights across the top of Fairy Falls. I imagine this is the scene that greeted the discoverer of the falls a century or so ago, accounting for its original name of Ghost Falls.

A stretch of unbelievably sunny weather has driven me to the mountains and lakes this summer, and as spectacular as golden hour light can be, I was sorely missing the more considered and meditative aspects of waterfall photography. It was with equal parts relief and pleasure, then, when my buddy Jeff suggested we do the ol' standby (but unanimously favorite) Gorge hike that loops between Wahkeena and Multnomah Creeks on a day forecast to be another cloudless scorcher. The 5-mile, 1600-foot ramble circuits up through the lush verdant ravine that cradles Wahkeena Creek and then traces a contour line through an old-growth Douglas-fir forest high above the Gorge floor before descending into the hellish swarm of humanity massed at Multnomah Falls. The saving grace, of course, is everything besides that last part, and as oft-photographed as it is, Fairy Falls never fails to amaze.

Oh, and the soft-serve ice cream that awaits you at Multnomah Falls Lodge doesn't hurt, either.

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