Latourell Falls Trail · Columbia River Gorge · Oregon · USA
Warm sunlight gleams through a gap in the spring foliage some eight months after the Eagle Creek Fire rampaged through a once-verdant swath of the Columbia River Gorge just east of Latourell Falls. It was my first time back hiking in the area since those sickening events, and it was modestly heartening to see some familiar stomping grounds spared by the flames. The Gorge will likely never be the same refuge for my senses and sensibilities it once was in my lifetime, but I’m eager to discover new trails to traverse, even if I’ve effectively been given little choice in the matter. But even before the fire I was already conceding the Gorge to the teeming hordes that descended upon it in endlessly growing waves, revelling instead in the obscurity of less-traveled places that may be leaner on dramatic scenery but whose rewards are just as bountiful for those needing regular doses of quiet solitude.
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