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Rescue in the Gorge: Right Place at the Right Time

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On Sunday, May 31, we set out for a day hike in the Columbia River Gorge. We had a loose plan to start at the Horsetail Falls trailhead, hike up Rock of Ages, and either come back down the Horsetail Falls trailhead and cross Oneonta Creek or take the longer route around Bell Creek. The hike up ROA was lung busting as usual, but quickly gave way to the lovely rock arch and views of the river, and always exciting (ok, somewhat scary) walk across the exposed Devil's Backbone, and within 3 miles we were at 2,900 feet and at our first trail intersection. 
We headed west on the Horsetail Creek trail, crossed a few creeks, and quickly covered the 1.8 miles to the turnoff for Bell Creek. The last time I had been on Bell Creek was to perform some trail work on this much neglected 3.3 mile stretch of trail. We found the trail to be in remarkably good shape, and got to enjoy some beautiful old growth forest. Stopping to count the rings on one downed tree, it seemed as though some of the tree…