Passage Through Time – Oneonta Gorge

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Oneonta Falls is a beautiful waterfall at the end of Oneonta Gorge, a slot canyon in Oregon's Columbia River Gorge.

This is Lower Oneonta Falls, an intimate waterfall in of Oneonta Gorge, in Oregon's Columbia River Gorge. Oneonta Gorge seems like a landscape off another planet. It's a narrow gorge reminiscent of the slot canyons of the American Southwest, but with one huge difference. Instead of desert, it's in the middle of a lush temperate rain forest, with walls clad in moss and ferns. Instead of shedding dry eroding sand, the narrow walls are dripping with moisture. While hiking up the gorge, at first I was struck by the similarity to a slot canyon, but then I began to ponder the different ways they were created. The slot canyons of the Southwest form when rain water drains through existing sandstone channels, further carving them with every downpour. Oneonta Gorge, however, likely formed as the waterfalls eroded their own precipice, marching backwards in time. As I considered this, the trek upstream began to feel like a march forward in time, mimicking the path of the waterfall but at a much faster pace. It's a truly remarkable piece of wilderness, and well worth the tricky trek over logjams and slippery boulders.

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