Hardy and Rodney Falls
For my final day of the Going to the Water Tour I turned to Mama Google. Sitting in a lovely little coffee shop in Hood River, I pulled up Google maps, typed in 'falls' and found this gem of a trail over on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge.
The first mile or so of the trail contains most of the elevation gain, so it's a little tedious and a lot of up for little legs. But after that it's pretty level, enters some lovely thick forest, and then it's not far until you come to the falling water.
Hardy Falls are only visible (as far as I could tell) from a lookout off the side of the main trail. You can just make out the falls through the forest. Don't linger too long, the real goodness is ahead!
When you get to the next junction, head left and up to the Pool of Winds. This was such a magical little nook. The upper falls have carved out a cave in the rock with a gorgeous little pool concealed inside. It was difficult to get a good look, as the opening where the falls continue out was pretty slippery and exposed, but while I was there some teenagers did climb around and go for a swim inside. So that's an option!
Below the pool is the rest of Rodney Falls. A lovely, long, meandering waterfall, very different from the plunging basalt cliff behemoths across the gorge in Oregon. Here the water flows over and around and sometimes through the rocks. And there are lots of little bowls and rounded edges that have been smoothed over by who knows how many years of running water.
A relaxing waterfall, if you will. A great place to climb around and explore, and in my case get a little practice on this whole meditation thing.