Hiking the Horsetail

When Jeff and I asked Lindsay and Daniel to join us on a day trip to Hood River to use our soon-to-expire $50 Full Sail Brewing gift certificate, they had two great suggestions: start with a hike in the Columbia River Gorge, and grab a taco pie at Pietro’s Pizza. Done and done!

The Horsetail Falls view from the road

The Horsetail Falls view from the road

We began the drizzly Saturday before Easter at the Horsetail Falls Loop Hike, which might be my new favorite Oregon hike. Park the car, and boom: already treated to the trail’s namesake falls. Don’t even need to work for it! The four of us climbed the switchbacks surrounded by moss-cloaked walls, gangly alien-like trees, and peeks of the Columbia River. In less than a half of a mile, there’s another reward: the Ponytail Falls. The trail cuts behind the falls into a rocky cavern, and when you look around, all you see is lush greenery and rushing mountain runoff. We creeped down to the pooling water and marveled at the force of the falls. Along the way, Lindsay, Daniel and I snapped pics with our cameras, including their cool, old-timey-looking Hasselblad. We hiked a bit farther before deciding to turn around and head to Hood River for Daniel’s favorite taco pizza.

Daniel grew up in Hood River, which Jeff and I visited in May 2011 and July 2012, so he’s our resident expert for where to go in the river town. Our first stop was Pietro’s for the taco pizza Daniel and his fam would eat decades ago. It lived up to the hype, with the crumbled Doritos delivering the perfect crunch to the medley of beef, bean, lettuce and cheese. After a couple other stops we made our way to Full Sail, where we enjoyed pints and dessert to cap off our little jaunt in the Gorge. Pints, pizza and waterfalls? Perfection.

Hiking (and drinking...and eating) buddies!

Hiking (and drinking…and eating) buddies! *

My mountain man

My mountain man *

Perched in a gnarled, mossy tree

Perched in a gnarled, mossy tree *

The Ponytail Falls around the bend

The Ponytail Falls around the bend (see me there?) *

The view from inside the cavern

The view from inside the cavern

Me checking out the falls

Me checking out the falls

Daniel and Lindsay venturing down to the water

Daniel and Lindsay venturing down to the water

Daniel peering up at the falls from the pool underneath

Daniel peering up at the falls from the pool underneath

The sun trying to peek through

The sun trying to peek through

Green all around

Green all around *

...including here!

…including here! *

Jeff in the trees

Jeff in the trees *

My Hasselblad lesson

My Hasselblad lesson *

Worked up an appetite

Worked up an appetite *

Now that's a gorgeous pizza

Now that’s a gorgeous pizza *

And we destroyed it.

And we destroyed it. *

The draft Coors Light that just wasn't cutting it

The draft Coors Light that just wasn’t cutting it *

...and our pints to close our adventure.

…and proper pints to close our adventure.

* Pics from our Stark buddies.

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