Kevin Hylton

1986 discovery

I find the reports interesting that the falls were discovered in 2006. I came across the falls in 1986 while walking up Ruckel Creek. I started at Ruckel Falls, at the Old Scenic Highway Bridge, and slowly walked the creek up the gorge being careful not to disturb the surrounding vegetation. It was a very difficult and dangerous creek walk. I had spent nearly 10 years exploring the Eagle Creek area and alot of time around Ruckel Creek, which was largely unknown by the public in the 70's and 80's. As I walked up Ruckel Creek in 86 I was amazed to come upon one of the most beautiful falls I'd seen in the gorge (now known as Mossy Grotto Falls). I think the experience was magnified by the realization that the falls were virtually untouched by man. I can still remember how spectacular the Falls and Grotto were - and even though I have done hundreds of hikes over the years - Mossy Grotto remains as one of the most spectacular - mainly because of the remoteness of the setting. That said, I am saddened to hear how the area has been damaged by heavy use. I was planning to visit the falls again this summer after 31 years, which is what led me to this site. Hearing the heavy damage reports I will not be making the trip. Having grown up in the Columbia River Gorge I have watched man's ever increasing footprint change this area over the years for the worst. I would strongly discourage anyone from attempting to access the falls by way of walking the creek. Not only was my one trek very dangerous, but it would cause the destruction of yet another pristine natural area. I was 19 and foolish at the time and if I had to do over again (though I thought I was being careful not to destroy the landscape) I know better now than to take the risk and hike off trail which inevitably will destroy the natural landscape.