no sheep in Shepperd's Dell

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Thursday, February 18, 2010
Shepperd's Dell is home to one of the first waterfalls along the historic Columbia River Gorge Highway. THERE ARE NO SHEEP. For all the years I've driven by without stopping, I always had a vague notion of bo-peep, sheep, and a sign maker who can't spell. This notion is not even a little bit correct unless maybe a person isn't permitted to see the infamous waterfall sheep until the seventh visit or some other complicated rule of waterfalls. (I'm noticing a theme lately where I'm paranoid about complicated rules I'm not privy to due to not being a waterfall or a werewolf or whatever. INTERESTING.)

Unlike some of the bigger falls down the way, the waterfall itself isn't visible from the road - there's no parking lot, just a kind of wide spot just beyond or just before depending on if you're going east or west. (We were going east.) It's easy to miss. If you've driven by and never stopped, don't feel like you've missed some obvious thing. For one, the road itself is very beautiful and it's easy to be distracted by the stonework or the ferns and forest or the flickering glimpses of the Columbia river through the trees. But now you know! I'm telling you: you must stop in the little wide spot in the road and you have to go down the twisty path if you are able because it's worth it.

Here's a little photo tour - this was a sunny, winter day. It would look so different in the summer! (I intend to investigate.) These pictures are kinda blown out, for which I apologize. Nothing was turning out like I wanted which I assumed was because the sun was so bright, but was because I'd accidentally changed my exposure setting. I'm too lazy to fix them in photoshop, but I think you get the basic idea. Just picture everything about 18% greener.

the bridge
This may be my favorite picture from this stop! I like the hazy pink and I love this bridge so much! You don't even know all of those graceful arches are there when you're zooming across the top.

pathway to the waterfall
!!! The path isn't actually very long and the park isn't really very big, but you get good value! This is what the wending path to the waterfall looks like after you round the first bend.

to the left
Okay - here I'm standing at about the point of that first leftward leaning curve in the path - this is looking left. Since the exposure is wonky it's harder to make out, but there's a tall rock wall, lots of moss, trees, and ferns. It's also really loud. Not road noise or river noise, but the pleasant white noise of a waterfall.

to the right
This is what's on the other side of the path from the previous picture, looking to the right. (!!!)

A short walk brings you to this. There are more dramatic waterfalls just down the road, but this one is such a treat! A lovely surprise for the cost of curiosity and actually getting out of the car.

below - a 31 second video clip with thrilling waterfall action:

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