Thursday, July 14, 2011

July 14 – Historic Columbia River Highway

This narrow 2 lane road used to be the only way to get up the Columbia Gorge until it was replaced by Interstate 84. It is now the road of waterfalls. We visited 7 of the more easily accessed one but there were many more if you really wanted to hike.

First up was 620’ Multnomah Falls.


My turn.


They say this is the most visited natural site in Oregon so we got there early.

It is a short 1/4 mile hike of to the bridge, in the middle of the picture above.



Looking back.


Then another another steep 1 mile hike with 11 numbered switchbacks up to the outlook at the very top.


Not a great view of the falls but the view of the Columbia Gorge was worth it.



The trail to the top continues along the creek another 1/2 mile in to very nice 60’ Weisendanger Falls set in a deep green ravine.

A huge snake face.






It was a long hike back to the trailhead to fetch our lunch.


We ate at the viewpoint at the base of the Multnomah Falls which was packed with visitors by now.

Further along the highway we did a short hike into Wahkeena Falls. In a lot of these pictures the game will be to find Jennie’s red hat.


Next was a 1/4 mile hike down to Bridal Veil Falls, a nice but ordinary falls.


Everybody ignores the official viewpoint.


Next was a drive up to the Crown Point Vista and the historic Vista House for a view of the gorge.



These pictures are from another viewpoint farther up the road. You can see the vista house in the middle right of the picture below.



520’ Latourell Falls was next. The first short trail showed us this view.


We thought nice but not a great view. Then we saw people around the bottom of the falls so off we went to find the trail.


A much better view. The cliff had been undercut by the water exposing the basalt columns. To get an idea of the size, each of the ends of those exposed columns on the right were easily 1 to 2 feet wide.


Since the cliff was undercut you could actually walk behind the falls. We keep clothes for every occasion in the car so we made a quick trip back for the rain coats and in we went.


The view from behind.


You could also get pretty close to the front.


Our pants and shoes got completely soaked and climbing up behind the falls on the slippery rocks was a bit treacherous but we had a blast. Definitely the highlight of the day.

Number 6 as the Horsetail Falls which was right beside the road.


The ranger at the visitor’s center in the morning had told we should hike up behind this falls to the shorter Ponytail Falls (#7) because we could definitely get behind that one.



The little white spot in the middle is Jennie. The trail curves around this huge undercut of the cliff. We estimated it went back 40 feet from the cliff face. Here is the view from the inside looking out. Don’t miss Jennie in the bottom right.




We were headed home but saw a gourmet pizza place, Pizzacato.  We ordered a chicken and roasted garlic. The crust and toppings were great but I have never seen so much garlic on a pizza. I counted 4 buds on one piece. We could still taste it the next morning.

Another amazing day but I think we have seen enough waterfalls for a while.

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