05 August 2009

Walks in His Gardens--the Columbia River Gorge (part of)

The PNW has so many beautiful areas and though I've lived here for almost all of my life, I still haven't seen them all. But--of the places I have visited, one that consistently draws me back, at least twice a year, is the Columbia River Gorge--a gorgeous place with a truly dramatic landscape (no wonder that it is a National Scenic Area)!
It is more then that though--for that same landscape which makes it so scenic also makes it THE place to windsurf and a fertile place of countless fruit orchards and other agriculture (more about that in another post). It is also one of the gateways to Mt Hood, easily visible from many of the areas along the Gorge, where one can ski -- even in the summer!
Windsurfer--west of Hood River.
The day we went through here the winds were high enough that some people decided not to chance it.

To give you a little perspective of the area-the gorge is a river canyon of some 80 miles in length and it forms part of the border between Washington, to the north, and Oregon, to the south. The most westerly part is lush, with many waterfalls, and as you move eastward it becomes drier but still amazing! On this trip we traveled only a little further then Hood River. (BTW-please note that these photos are not in any order and some of them were taken from a moving vehicle so the quality may not be the best)
Multnomah Falls - from the freeway.
The last 2 photos were taken by R. Blessings on the bluffs above the river and are used by permission.
Besides its obvious beauty, this area also holds great historical and familial meaning for me because in the mid 1850's, two of my ancestral lines passed through here--the last portion of the Oregon Trail--to new lives they would make in the not yet states of the PNW (they used the river route as opposed to the Barlow Trail that is in the Mt Hood area). Then, the Gorge was vastly different then today, and sometimes I find myself thinking about what it would have looked like then, before dams tamed its wildness and changed both it and the lives of many Native Americans forever. It is something we will never experience, for now both the Cascade rapids and Celilio Falls lie buried under the dammed up waters of the Columbia River.
Today, some 150+ years later the area is easily traveled. There is now a modern highway that runs along the river and up some on the bluffs above it. Additionally one can drive part of the Old Columbia River Highway, that runs higher up on the canyon walls and affords one many amazing views of the terrain below. I have done this--years ago and it was truly spectacular; now I stick -- contentedly -- to the new highway. (You can also walk part of the Old Columbia River Highway in places)
Part of the Old Columbia River Highway. One part of the old road leads you up to the Vista House--HIGH above the river where you can see spectacular views! Been there and done that; not this time though!
Hope you enjoyed a quick trip in the Gorge! More to come:)
Blessings, Aimee
Links of interest & more photos:
This post only - photos © 2009 R Blessings (as noted above) and A. Blessings (all other photos)

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