Thursday, February 12, 2015

Columbia River Gorge

In late September, we arrived at the Columbia River Gorge.   

We turned east on interstate 30 toward Ainsworth State Park, our campground destination. The Columbia meanders slowly through a wide valley floor and the views are beautiful - waterfall after waterfall. Wow! There are 238 waterfalls in Oregon with 27 in the Columbia River Gorge area alone. We were in heaven!

We got to our chosen camp site late and found it busy and nearly full.  Even today, when we see campgrounds or other public lands full on a workday and during the off season, we ask ourselves, "Doesn't anybody work?" or "Why aren't these kids in school?" LOL

We had to disconnect the Jeep and back into our site - a rarity for us as we usually find pull thru sites. The site was not level and we used all twenty leveling blocks under the rear tires.  At least this time we didn't tear a mud flap like we did in Tok when we leveled the rear of the RV. Our neighbors, who were loud tent campers smoking weed, watched us try to level ourselves. Welcome to Oregon. After dinner, it got really dark and by 9:00 the crying baby and all the neighbors were asleep.

We awoke early as usual, drank one cup of coffee and had a quick breakfast. Kathy walked the dogs and we headed out on Scenic Highway 30.  Although it was cloudy, it was fairly warm and dry.  We rolled up on our first waterfall before 7:30 am, long before other tourists and sightseers were even out and about.  

A few pics and we moved on to Multnomah Falls, Joys favorite. We had owned a Bierstadt lithograph of these particular falls for years.  It hung in our Austin living room until someone mentioned it looked like a cross and it was promptly removed.  It was relocated to a TV room and then to our bedroom for staging purposes as we tried to sell our Houston house. Kathy wasn't fond of the dark fall colors and heavy wood frame so Joy eventually re-framed it and tried to sell it during the downsizing.  No luck and it was finally donated.  Joy always said that painting made her see God and she cried as we approached the actual falls.

Listening to the water, she felt God’s presence and she connected to her inner peace.  Even for Kathy, who won't have anything to do with that god business, found herself a bit emotional as she looked at the amazing site that she had seen in a print for so many years. She allowed Joy to enjoy her moment and then suggested a hike up to the top.

A trail invites travelers to hike a one mile trail consisting of 11 switchbacks to an overlook at the top of the falls.  Joy made the first 1/4 mile of the trail before having to stop due to its steepness.  Kathy was heading for the top with no water and no cell phone.  45 minutes later she finally made it back, meeting Joy who had kept plodding on at her own pace.  After walking back down together a hot dog and a coke from the snack bar was a great reward!

We drove on and eventually made our way to the Vista House - an observatory at Crown Point in Multnomah County that serves as a memorial to Oregon pioneers.

The scenic drive brought us to many different waterfalls and was simply yet another beautiful journey through this beautiful country we live in.

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