Sunday, January 11, 2015

Tamanawas Falls

Tamanawas Falls is one of those hikes at Mt. Hood that are a must for families.  It's a short hike with a spectacular waterfall, the trail curves along a really beautiful creek and through a talus field where picas live, and the trailhead is right beside Hwy. 35.  I was tipped off recently that it's also a must this time of year, when it's a winter wonderland.  And it really was breathtaking!  We noticed right away that much of the snow was quite blue. All around the waterfall it was especially so.  I found this explanation-
Why does snow sometimes look blue?
"When snow appears to be blue, it’s very pure. The phenomenon is called blue coloration in photography. Light has different wavelengths that we perceive as colours, and blue light is the light that goes through ice most readily. The same phenomenon makes the sea and the sky blue."
There were a few downsides to this hike, which definitely did not ruin it for us but will change our strategy for deciding when to go in the future.  The trail was pretty crowded on the weekend we went. This didn't really bug us; in fact lots of foot traffic made showshoes completely unnecessary and our hiking boots that kept our feet warm were more than sufficient.  But we were quite unprepared for the huge number of off-leash dogs, despite signs that prohibit them.  I do expect to see them in Forest Park (where it's not legal either and owners are sometimes ticketed) and at the Sandy River Delta (where I believe that it is legal).  But we've never encountered them here.  Much of the trail was lined with "yellow snow" and plenty of dog poop.  I happen to know two kids that had their faces mauled by off-leash dogs, have a friend who had to take a guy to the ER after her off-leash dog bit him, and once witnessed two off-leash dogs that crossed paths and decided it was time for a fight to the death while the owners watched helplessly.  The owners all swore they were wonderful sweet dogs, because otherwise of course they wouldn't have off-leashed them.  As a parent, if the only thing I know about a total stranger I meet on the trail is that they don't have any respect for the leash laws, I'm not about to trust them with the safety of my family.  So I sincerely wish they wouldn't do this. 

In the future, when going there in the winter, I think I'll aim for a Monday when the weather has been clear for a few days.  That way, the snow should be well packed from so many weekend hikers and easy to walk without snowshoes.  I'll try getting there either very early in the morning or late enough that we should expect to finish the hike just before dark (with flashlights just in case.) Hopefully there would be fewer people out, and it would be much more peaceful and keep our focus always on the beautiful surroundings.

No comments: