Oregon is gorge-ous

I’m a bit of a gorge snob after all the time I’ve spent in New York State’s Finger Lakes but the Columbia River Gorge, just east of Portland is nothing to sneeze at. The waterfalls are very different from the ones around Ithaca (see the photo above) but just as spectacular in a different way. I think it may have to do with the scale. The waterfalls we saw yesterday during our drive along the old scenic highway30 were very high and a straight shot down, unlike the Ithaca waterfalls which meander, with the water spreading out across a wide rock face. The Oregon falls were very powerful, thanks to the snow melt and spring rain, kind of the effect you’d get draping a hose over a high mountain and turning the water on full force.  At Multnomah Falls and several smaller falls en route, the water came crashing directly downward with furious force, hitting the rocks and pool below with a steady crash that caused water and mist to shoot up.

It’s a sight I wasn’t sure we’d have time to see but I’m glad that rainy weather forced us to take to the car sooner than expected so we had some time to travel along that charming old highway, past heavily moss-coated trees – kind of looked like a green version of andora, or whatever that mythical land is in Avatar. There were surprises along the way including an old observatory with gorgeous marbled stain glass windows and a glorious view of the Columbia River gorge. We ate mediocre – as expected – food at the charming Multnomah Falls Lodge, in a high-ceilinged dining room with walls made of giant rough-hewn grey stones. We made it as far as Stevenson, Wash., crossing over the very cool steel Bridge of Gods spanning the river, and  had hot chocolate at a funky little coffee shop – Bahma Coffee Bar.

Our four-and-a-half hour drive south on Highway 5 to Medford turned into a white-knuckle journey about midway when we hit rain and then, all of a sudden, snow flurries as we drove through high curving mountain passes – we for some reason didn’t realize we’d be driving through mountains. Googlemaps doesn’t really fill you in on the topography – or maybe it does and we didn’t think to ask. But during our trip west to the coast, we’ll definitely have to take the mountains into account. And travel by day not eve.

Dirck’s sister D. lives in a lovely 1920’s bungalow on a quiet residential street – with hammocks on the front porch and a beautiful red-and-white camellia tree (bush?) in the yard. The sky is a flawless blue for the first time during our trip and the grass is so green it looks like the set of the movie “Blue Velvet.” A sight for sore eyes coming from grey snowy/muddy Iowa!


Filed under On the road, Oregon

2 responses to “Oregon is gorge-ous

  1. That must have been Bahma Coffee Bar in Stevenson, Wa. Glad you had a good time…and a comparable experience to NY’s Finger Lakes.

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