Monday, July 03, 2006

Columbia River Gorge

One afternoon of our vacation was spent in driving along the Columbia River Gorge on the old Highway that starts at Troutdale, Oregon. It's a windy, twisty kind of road. It's currently under construction, so it's also very bumpy. One of the first scenic stops is at Crown Point.

I purchased a Woodcentral hat from Ellis Wallentine at the AAW symposium. So, I'm starting a series of hat photos for my blog. This is the lookout view toward the gorge as seen from the west.

Our first walk was at Bridal Veil Falls. It's 2/3 mile loop, down from the highway to the falls. The highway passes over the top of the fall. Of all the stops on the old highway, this always seems to be the least crowded. Maybe it's because you have to go downhill to see the falls and then back up to parking lot.

We couldn't park at the next several waterfalls, including Multnomah Falls, which is shown here to the left. We drove to the next on ramp for I-84 and came back to the freeway parking area, which was also full.

Thousands of tourists are here at any one time during the summer season. You can hardly move at the base of the falls, so we decided to take the walk up to the top of the falls. These falls are about 650 ft high and the trail is about a mile up to the viewpoint, which is just to the left of the top of the falls (at least the top that you can see here - the actual top is a little beyond what you can see in this image).

The trail is actually paved all the way to the top. I wondered about this until we had to back up to the inside wall as an emergency response team ran a gurney up the trail. Someone had fallen or done something stupid up above after we had come down from the viewing platform. That's quite an impressive scene to see when the rescue crew is jogging uphill with a stretcher on bicycle wheels.

Here is the beginning of the falls - just a few meters upstream of the big drop off at the viewing platform.

Here's the view leading up to the edge of the falls. You can see the viewing platform on the right hand side.

Here's the view over the top, looking down. It's a long way to the bottom.

Steve has longer arms than I do, so he was able to take a picture of this view that showed the bridge over the lower falls. Check out his blog to see it.

The view down to the Columbia River and the parking area for the falls.

If you look back to the first picture of Multnomah Falls, you'll see the picturesque bridge above the lower falls. It's always packed with people, including Steve (front, right) who's looking over the falls.

This is the view he was seeing.

Here's my favorite woodturning tree - Big Leaf Maple. I love the wood of this tree for my leaf bowls. Look at all those burls growing on the bole of the tree!

Maidenhair ferns growing on the trail rocks.

Typical scenery from the Pacific Northwest. I grew up in this kind of habitat - playing in the woods as a kid. I loved it!

Steve's reflection on the wall of the pedestrian tunnel as we were returning to the car.

I have a few more days to spend in the Pacific Northwest. We're in Seattle, Washington for the rest of this trip. When I get home I will be taking a hands-on class with Jean Francois Escoulen, who will be visiting the Central Ohio Woodturners from July 8 - 14.

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