Relaxing in our tiny mountain cabin here in the San Bernardino Mountains of Southern California, I am astounded to find myself another year older, but not necessarily another year wiser. I wish I could reverse that last statement – you know, “Another year wiser but not another year older”. Has a better ring to it doesn’t it?
We wound up our road trip with a five-day dash from Whidbey Island back to Los Angeles. Personal highlights included sharing a couple of meals with dear friends (Mike and Macki) from my high school days. We also made time to see more scenic wonders along the way. In fact two of the 7 Wonders of Oregon: the Columbia River Gorge and Crater Lake.
Also known as the Columbia River National Scenic Area, it comprises 292,500 acres along Southern Washington and Northern Oregon. We headed east along Highway 30, starting in Troutdale (just east of Portland).
Chanticleer Point (aka Portland Women’s Forum Scenic Viewpoint) offers stunning views of the river gorge with Crown Point and Vista House visible on the right side.
Next stop which caused a few more ahhhs, was Crown Point. Vista House was built in 1916-1918 and affords sweeping views of the surrounding area and the river which flows 733 feet below.
“With its marble interior and brass fixtures, some Oregonians at the time derided it as the “$100,000 Outhouse” ~ Wikipedia
Today, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There is also a gift shop, small museum and coffee shop inside.
Interesting fact: The Columbia River Gorge area has the greatest concentration of waterfalls in North America and most of them are on the Oregon side.
We spent the better part of a day with short hikes to check out several of the better known waterfalls, including Latourell Falls, Shepperd’s Dell, Bridal Veil, Wahkeena and the crown jewel, Multnomah Falls.
“At 620 feet, Multnomah Falls is the tallest waterfall in Oregon and the second-tallest year-round waterfall in the United States.” – TravelPortland.com
What is the difference between a plunge, tier, horsetail, block, cascade, punchbowl or fan waterfall? Why are there more falls on the Oregon side? To answer these questions and find out more about the individual falls along the gorge, click here.
Could have easily spent a couple of days in this area alone and hope to return in the not too distant future to explore further. There are numerous hiking trails from easy to challenging. The Pacific Crest Trail also transits through here.
Other things to do in the area include golfing, fishing, boating, white water rafting, visit the Bonneville Dam, windsurfing and kiteboarding, winery tours, zip line and/or check out the towns of Hood River and The Dalles.
Heading south at Hood River, we continue to appreciate the natural beauty of Oregon.
The drought is starting to become more and more evident. Even the tall mountains that normally keep a snow pack year around are down to sparse bits of glacier ice. Really quite sad and more than a little frightening.
Coming next: The continuation of the “last lap” of our road trip with Crater Lake National Park.
GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful for all the wonderful birthday wishes I received from friends around the world. I have mentioned before, but so worth repeating – it is the relationships that are formed along the way that make every trip we take worth it’s weight in gold. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for making me feel so special.