So, three of us went on a drive through the scenic Columbia River Gorge! Funny story: some of us were (read: mostly me) under the impression that Big Sur was close enough to drive to, but after much research and minimal deliberation, we/I figured out that 1) Big Sur is in California, and 2) the closest scenic drive to us that we hadn’t already done was Columbia River Gorge. With little else than a map and no particular destination within the Gorge in mind, we set out!
This is what adventures are made of, right? RIGHT?
After much driving (getting back through Portland during rush hour was a traffic nightmare), we reached the start of the Columbia River Gorge. We didn’t really know anything about it–just that it was scenic, and on the other side of the water was Washington.
So we kept driving. And driving.
We wondered where to stop–was there anything to pull over to look at, something close enough that would allow us to get back in time for a late dinner?
Luckily, we noticed a little waterfall in the distance, and found a place to pull over. Multnomah Falls!
Oh, and the waterfall turned out to be bigger the closer we got to it.
The parking lot we pulled into had a little pedestrian underpass that led to the opposite side of the highway. We walked further in, and across the bridge pictured above. While waiting for F to return from checking whether he locked the car doors or not, I peered over the edge of the bridge… and spotted two eels! Looking like they were making a nest or something.
Further in, there’s another parking lot and a restaurant. Behind them is the waterfall–lean, tall, and spraying a nice cool mist for any hot tourists.
I don’t know these people. It was the only decent shot I got before more people started showing up, though.
As we stood admiring the falls, we noticed there was a lookout point at the top. 1 1/4 miles away.
Lookout point 1/4 of the mile up.
Now, 1 1/4 mile sounds like nothing, right? 11 switchbacks… not too bad.
Oh, except we didn’t realize we’d be doing a little hike today. So with flip flops, boat shoes, casual boots and decidedly casual clothes, we slowly made our way up the falls.
Surprise hikes! Wow.
I personally was definitely not prepared.
Turns out, the view was worth it.
My two fellow adventurers!
I spy with my little eye… Washington state!
The view was amazing! Totally different from being on the other end of the waterfall. So worth it.
Back down the waterfall. I don’t think the little lookout point we were on at the top is visible here.
Unfortunately, when we got down, tired and famished, the food kiosk was closed and all that was open was a sit-down restaurant whose prices (the menu was outside) boasted what we assumed would be a far fancier meal than we wanted.
Plus, if we started driving now, we’d get back by 8:30pmish.
We were at the end of our Oregon trip. Tomorrow we would drive home–after scrubbing away the zillions of bugs splattered across the rental car, of course. It was getting hard to see.
But back to today. On the way back to Seaside, before hopping into the hot tub and settling in for one last cozy sleep in our hotel beds, we stopped by a Safeway and bought a bunch of sandwiches and snacks, and I wrote down all the little odds and ends that happened on our Columbia River Gorge road trip. Things like F saying, as he’d been saying every day of our adventure, “bless Eisenhower, patron saint of highway driving”; a lengthy discussion on imagined highway driver fraternities; and me screaming “deer!” whenever I saw deer off to the side of the road, effectively making F’s heart stop, taking my outbursts of elation as driver warnings. (I learned to stop doing that.)
There were so many funny little things to jot down. And not just today–every day, really. I started this Oregon trip in the passenger seat, writing down little memories for later, and I ended it the same way, too.
This post brings to a close our Oregon trip. I am now home in Vancouver, taking a summer school course, working, and hanging out with friends. I had so much fun in Oregon, and would love to travel more, but for now, it’s time to enjoy summer in Vancouver!