Following the Gorge to Mount Hood

Oregon is a nature girl’s paradise, so Stephanie was excited when our next outing took us first to the Columbia River Gorge and then to Mt. Hood. The Columbia River Gorge, along the border with Washington State, was cut by the Columbia River and contains some beautiful scenery. We first stopped at a couple of scenic overlooks to take in the view. Then it was on to Stephanie’s favorite natural feature – the waterfalls.

John Daddy explained that the gorge is cut much more steeply on the Oregon side, so the Oregon side has all the good waterfalls. The first one we came to was already much taller than we expected. We saw some people at the top of the falls, and then found a path that led up there. While our travel companions relaxed at the bottom, we started hiking through old-growth woods past huge trees covered with moss. The trail turned out to be longer than we anticipated, and we may have gotten a little lost, but it did take us way up to a nice secluded waterfall that not many people take the time to seek out. We eventually found ourselves above the top of the original falls, but we couldn’t really see the water pouring over the edge. At least we got some good views and good exercise.

Next up was Wakheena Falls, which looked pretty amazing. The only problem was, the view was obstructed unless you hiked a trail or two… and we had already used up our hiking time at the last falls! So we continued on to Multnomah Falls – a double falls with a viewing bridge part way up. This one was super tall, with the top section of the falls at a whopping 542 feet! Last but not least was Horsetail Falls which looked exactly like its name. After we had our fill of waterfalls, we stopped at an old-timey restaurant called Charburger. It looked like it could have been decorated by Lewis & Clark themselves, and had killer burgers!

After lunch we drove through dozens of fruit orchards growing peaches, pears and apples on our way to Mt. Hood. At one point we stopped and had gorgeous views of the surrounding countryside and all the orchards. Then the temperature dropped a good 20 degrees as we continued to climb and reached the parking area at the Timbeline Lodge. We watched a movie and learned about the history of the place; the lodge was built under FDR as part of his New Deal plan to create jobs after the Great Depression. It’s built with chunky lumber, and looks as good today as it did when it was dedicated in 1937. Along with Junior, we hiked along some of the mountain trails behind the lodge where we could see the glaciers on the nearby slopes of Mt. Hood.

As we headed home, we stopped to pick up Papa Murphy’s bake-at-home pizza and, of course, the obligatory ice cream.

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