Thursday, June 14, 2007

A DAY IN HOOD RIVER

Last September, we went zipping through the Columbia River Gorge in just a few hours, rushing over to the coast to meet our friends at the annual crabfest. Ever since, I have looked forward to a return visit to the gorge.

Hood River, Oregon, seemed a good spot to set up our home: a great central Gorge location on a bluff above (not beside) the busy railroad that runs right along the edge of the river, with a direct road south to explore Mt. Hood.

Washington is across the bridge to the north, orchards and farms all around... sounds like a good place to stay awhile, doesn't it? It took a lot of web-surfing, but we found a small campground that works for us, and we will be here in Hood River for a week.

Our first stop this morning was at a nearby golf course where I took this photo (above) of Mt. Hood, another of the shockingly massive volcanos of Cascade chain. Then I turned 180 degrees, to the north, and took a similar shot of Mt. Adams, a snow-covered cone in Washington. I can't get over the size of these peaks!

We took off for the eastern stretch of the Columbia River Scenic Highway, the original route from Portland to the east via the Gorge. I took this photo from an overlook were we began a hike along the bluffs above the river. The road was engineered for Model T's, the auto of the time; the grade could be no more than 5% and the turning radius (the curves) no sharper than 100 feet. It must have been a real adventure to make that drive.

The original road is now obsolete, bypassed by a major, 4 lane, high-speed interstate right along the edge of the Columbia River through the gorge. Far more efficient, but the historic, scenic highway (where it is still maintained as a road) is a fun alternative for sight-seeing.

On our way home, we stopped at Hood River Lavender Farm. It is on the top of a ridge about 10 miles out of town, with the same fabulous views of Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams that we saw from the golf course - but the blooming fields of lavender and the large cutting flower garden were a beautiful distraction.

Tomorrow we plan to head west to drive another section of the historic highway and hike to the most famous of the Gorge waterfalls, Multnomah Falls - the second tallest waterfall in the US (by the way, Yosemite Falls is the tallest in the US). More photos, I'm sure!

2 comments:

  1. Bautiful Pictures! I've made the one of Mt Hood my new desktop picture at work. Takes me away....!!
    donna

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  2. Paws & HoovesJune 15, 2007 at 9:27 PM

    Gorgeous!!!!! These pictures remind me of the time when all of us kids LIVED in that area. I wonder if we truly appreciated the beauty back then. tee hee

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