Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Columbia Gorge

Monday we made a trip north to Vancouver, WA. It is located just across the Columbia River from Portland and is about 175 miles from Sutherlin where we are staying. Dianna's Jr. Hi. girlfriend, Sue Spink, lives there. We stopped by to visit her on our way back from Alaska in 2007. Sue invited us to come up and spend the night so she could show us around.

From Sutherlin we traveled north on I-5 through the Calapooia Mountains that run East and West between the Cascades and the Coastal Range from The Umpqua River to the beginning of the Willamette Valley at Eugene, OR. The part of Oregon from Grants Pass north to Eugene is all mountainous and very beautiful, but the Willamette Valley is just a wide flat agricultural plain, much like the Central Valley of California. Nearing the Columbia River just south of Portland the terrain changes somewhat. It's mostly hilly and forested again. The lava flows from ancient volcanoes and the action of the Columbia River have sculpted the area into an interesting and scenic place to see.

Monday afternoon we spent a lot of time visiting before Sue took us to Fort Vancouver on the banks of the Columbia. There is a lot of history there involving the land claims between the US and Canada when the area was first settled. Unfortunately we arrived too late for the visitor center, but it was fun just looking around. We too the opportunity to introduce Sue to geocaching. We struck out on several caches that had apparently been muggled, but we finally found one attached to the bleachers at a little league field. It was the tiniest cache we have ever seen. It was about 1/4 inch in diameter and 1/2 inch long. It was not a micro -- it was a nano!

We then all had dinner on the patio of a Mexican restaurant on the banks of the river. However, we had our desert first. Like in most of Oregon, blackberries were growing wild everywhere. We took a walk down the beach and found an area with tons of ripe, sweet berries. I do like blackberries! Monday evening I watched football while Dianna and Sue did a 3 dimensional jigsaw puzzle.

Tuesday we got an early start for our tour of the Columbia Gorge. We traveled up the gorge on our 2007 trip but were unable to stop and see the sights because our rig was too big to fit in any of the parking areas. Our first stop was at Vista House where we had a magnificent view.

We then visited 3 different falls. The first two, Latourell and Wahkeena Falls were really nice, but the best was Multnomah. It is the highest falls in Oregon, and the 5th or 6th tallest in the country at 620 feet.

[caption id="attachment_838" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Latourell Falls[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_839" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Sue standing in front of Wahkenna Falls[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_840" align="aligncenter" width="225"] The visitor center and restaurant at Multnomah Falls. We ate in the view room and had an excellent view of the falls.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_841" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Dianna and Sue walking toward Multnomah Falls[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_842" align="aligncenter" width="225"] The lower falls and the walking bridge above.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_843" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Upper Multnomah Falls[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_844" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Proof we were there[/caption]

After leaving Multnomah Falls we continued about 12 miles upriver where we crossed over to Washington and returned to Vancouver. We said goodbye to Sue and thanked her for a nice visit before returning to our temporary home in Sutherlin. It was a fun trip.


  1. Beautiful pictures. Wasn't Sue the one who did everybody's hair before your wedding? Long time ago!

  2. I love the Columbia Gorge. Do they have anything at Multnomah Falls that talks about the huge rock that came down around 10 years ago (or so)? It was a rock the size of a minivan sitting at the top of the falls and it fell off and landed in the pool below. It should still be there, in 2 pieces.

    I went sightseeing there in 1999 on a trip to a vendor.

  3. I just looked closer at your pictures and you can see the rock pieces in your one of the upper falls.

  4. In my picture the rock is void of any lichen growth.

  5. Yes, there are signs and photos. I believe it was in the early 90's. There was a wedding party on the walkway at the time. A 70 foot wall of water inundated them when the rock fell and created a huge splash. 15 people were injured but none killed.

  6. Mom, it was not Sue. It was a former neighbor of Dianna's named Beverly.

  7. Wow, I really like the Upper Multnomah Falls. Like something from Yosemite.