Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Falls and Views Along The Gorge

When we arrived here at Columbia River Gorge last week, rain kept us from exploring several of the nearby viewpoints and waterfalls.  Today we tried again despite the rain, fog and low clouds of the morning.  Around noon, visibility was good enough to make the attempt.

Chanticleer Point is the first stop with a view, just a mile or two from the campground. The road sign identifies this vista point as Women's Forum of Portland.   It's a terrific view of the Vista Point House -- from where we took several pictures last week.
From Chanticleer Point, Vista Point House can be seen perched on Crown Point.
It's tiny from here.  The observatory is a memorial to Oregon's pioneers.
This view is of Rooster Rock State Park too.

From Chanticleer Point we also could see View Point Inn along the mountain side. Late in the afternoon one day last week, we heard several emergency sirens passing the campground and learned later that fire had severely damaged this nice old picturesque inn.  We took the road leading to View Point Inn and snapped a shot of the damaged building.
View Point Inn from Chanticleer Point
View Point Inn dates back to 1924 and has hosted Presidents, movie stars and European Royalty. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places and is a popular place for weddings today.  In recent times, the movie Twilight takes place at View Point Inn.
After the fire of last week.

Latourell Falls was our next stop and this turned out to be my favorite of all we saw today. On the information placards I learned that the properties were donated by individuals for nearly all the falls sights along this route.  The road winds around the mountainsides and is narrow in some places and the roadside growth is lush and deep.

Lexie does not like the sounds of the falling water.

This is my favorite of all the area falls.

Next stop was Bridal Veil Falls where we took a 2/3 mile round-trip hike downhill into the forest between Historic Columbia River Highway and I-84. We could hear traffic on the interstate and the occasional train that runs regularly along the river. 
The stream below Bridal Veil Falls.

The moss on the tree to Wayne's right is about 2" thick!
Wayne found this snail along the path.  He was HUGE.

Coming back up the steep hill, we were exhausted and required a good long rest in the car before we moved along to Wahkeena Falls, next along the route.
The stream below the falls.

Remnants of an old tree stump had a really interesting look. 
More thick moss here too.

Wahkeena Falls is much farther away from the viewing area but offers a 1/2 mile hike link to Multnomah Falls, just down the highway.  Enjoying the great outdoors in this rare afternoon without rain, Lexie, in her Outward Hound, and me in my hiking boots, proceeded to wave goodbye to Wayne and agreed to meet him at Multnomah Falls.  The walking trail was really nice but I was hot and tired when I finally did emerge from the trail at the easternmost end.
Heading out for our 1/2 mile hike to the next stop.
Wayne took the car and met us there.

Multnomah Falls is the most famous of the sights we saw today, but we found it to be the least impressive.  Mostly, I think, because the area around the falls has been so commercialized and there are such large crowds of people. 

We passed Tad's Chicken and Dumplings Restaurant the day we drove into Troutdale and after several recommendations, we decided we'd give it a try -- after all, good chicken 'n dumplings are a welcome feast to a couple of misplaced southerners.  Tad's dates back to 1924.
Yea, there really was a Tad.

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