I’ve waited probably more than a year for this day to come. Wait, let me back up just a minute. A bit over a year ago, I saw these amazing photos of a place so green, so lush, so absolutely amazing looking, I just wanted to see it for myself. Heck, this place was in my own backyard… almost. I emailed a friend in Washington to see if he knew where it was and he went out looking for it, but didn’t find it on the first try.
After a bit more research, I found the name of the gorge was Oneonta. Aha! With a name, I knew I could find it. So, on our roadtrip this year, which took us to Yosemite, Idaho and finally Oregon, I got to see for myself, the Oneonta Gorge.
Ok, it’s not quite that easy. First off, it rained off and on all day (which will be important to remember later in this story). When we got to the entrance of the gorge, which is situated in the Columbia River Gorge, we hopped down to the trail and started heading up. I had read that I’d have to go about knee deep in water to get there and get myself over a log jam, which I was prepared to do.
I jumped into the first water to make my way across to the log jam and man was it slippery – remember, I mentioned it was raining off and on all day! Ugh, so I carefully navigated my way to the top of the log jam… crawling on my hands and knees at times, just so I wouldn’t fall into the icy water and get stuck in these freezing pools of water below with no way apparent way out.
It was all a bit un-nerving, but I did manage to get across the jam and start making my way up the gorge, walking through the river. I could no longer feel my feet, and as I continued I could see that I would be wading far deeper than my knees. The water was nearly up to my waist and it was becoming very difficult to take pictures because my feet hurt soooooo bad.
I managed to get a couple of pictures, but then paused for a moment on a log and just tried to get my feet out of the water for a few minutes to see if I could get the feeling back. I’m not sure if you know how hard it is to be walking through a river, on mossy, slippery rocks without anything to hold onto using feet that you can’t really feel. Trust me, it wasn’t easy and it wasn’t pretty. But, no-one was around (because what other fool would do this in May?) and I had the gorge to myself. After a very little while, I started heading back because I figured I had been out there long enough and Rachel and Romero would start to worry about me if I didn’t return soon.
On the way out, I once again had to cross this one huge log that ran the width of the gorge. On the way in, I managed to pull myself up on it because the ground was a little higher on that other side, but on the way out, I really, really struggled to pull myself up on this slippery, slimy log. I didn’t realized what I was doing to my legs during this struggle until I started climbing the log jam a bit further out.
I looked down at my red legs and saw this bubblegum sized purple bruise thing protruding from my ankle area. I couldn’t feel anything so I immediately assumed it was some sort of blood clot. I worked my out and once I was back in the car and warming up, I began to feel all the bumps and bruises quite clearly. I must have really knocked my leg on the logs because that lump really began to hurt as I warmed up. No blood clot, just a good knock to the leg. Well, I had quite a few, but all that was worth it to get inside this gorge.
I can’t wait to go back, perhaps with some waders or in warmer weather. It was a year in the making and I loved every minute of it.