Wahclella Falls, Oregon, USA by Joan Martelli

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Picture Story

This is a photo of Wahclella Falls, one of many waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon, USA. The photo was taken in April 2016, one year before a fire ravaged the area. The Eagle Creek fire consumed 50,000 acres, burned for months, and was caused by human foolishness and disregard for the fragile nature of our forests. I only visited Wahclella Falls this one time, and fell in love with it. We arrived at the falls early in the morning before the many visitors began arriving. Wahclella is an impressive 2-tiered waterfall that is situated in a lush amphitheater.

The falls drop through a steep, narrow gorge, and water seeps over the sides of the vegetation-covered walls of the amphitheater. It was a place that, to me, seemed magical. To get the best view of the gorge and the upper falls, my partner and I scrambled up rocks, and set up tripods there. We had the area to ourselves for quite some time, and it was wonderful to just sit and take in the sight and sounds, in addition to taking photos. I had hoped to return to Wahclella Falls, perhaps in the autumn, when the maple trees turn yellow, but unfortunately didn’t make it. I don’t know how the area looks now, after the fire, and I’m not sure that I’m ready to see it just yet. It was quite difficult for me to let go of the anger I held for the people responsible for the fire, and was able to do so only because I know that the area will heal. Although, for an older person like myself, I will never see it as it looked before the fire. Perhaps it’s best to just visit it in memories.

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