Gillette Lake and Greenleaf Falls on a mid-Winter’s Day

Seven hours hiking, mostly in the heavy rain and gusty winds. The twilight-like atmosphere under the trees and the smell of the wet, loamy soil made me feel I was trapped in a primeval forest.

In stead of looking for deer and elk, I began searching for Sasquatch and leprechauns. But, mostly I focused on staying warm and dry.

After hitting the Pacific Crest Trail from a short connector beginning near the Bonneville Dam, I hiked north past pretty Gillette Lake. In another couple of miles I turned northeast on an old logging road, maybe a wagon road at one time.

For the next several miles the rain began coming down in wind-blown sheets, especially as I hiked below the sheer cliffs of Table Mountain. Finally I reached the double waterfalls of Greenleaf Falls, dropping 200 feet in four plunges.

What a sight! They are one of the few spectacular waterfalls on the north side of the Gorge.

After taking a few photos in the neverending downpour, I broke out some candy bars. My fingers were so cold and wet, it was hard to open the wrappers. Soon I was on the way back to the trailhead, looking like a drowned rat on the trail.

This is one of the hikes I keep in my memory because it forms such a sharp contrast with beautiful summer hikes in the high alpine meadows.

Gillette Lake

Footbridge over Greenleaf Creek

Greenleaf Creek above footbridge

Intersection on PCT leading to Table Mountain

Greenleaf Falls

Small lake along the PCT

Greenleaf Creek below falls (it was pouring down rain as I took this photo)

Why folks don’t hike off the trail much

Looking toward the canyon where Greenleaf Falls is located

Greenleaf Falls on a much nicer day a few years ago

Categories: Columbia River Gorge HikesTags:

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