Waterfalls and Mountains, Northern Oregon
Visiting the Columbia River Gorge was high on Luke’s list of places to go in Oregon. We were not disappointed, despite the rainy day. The Gorge sits on the border of Washington and Oregon, the last stretch of the mighty Columbia River before it meets the sea. The Columbia is heavily dammed and itself not overly exciting, but the steep cliffs here are full of interesting places to explore.
We stopped at 6 waterfalls along the way, most with a good hike to get into them. Two of the standouts were Multonmah Falls and Oneonta Falls. Multonmah is probably the one you will see a picture of if you google the Gorge, a bit of a tourist trap as it’s right off the road, but stunning none the less. I’ll let Luke’s photo do it justice.
The Oneonta gorge however is well off the beaten track, a narrow canyon up the river with a fall at the end. The path is probably more popular in the summer, as it goes right up the river, which is pretty cold at the end of February. We anticipated getting feet and ankles wet, but when I was standing in frigid water up to my waist I started to wonder if this was the best idea. The gorge was stunning though, steep mossy sides dripping with water, narrow little river, well worth it even if we didn’t get to the very end as a rather deep pool deterred us.
Our last stop of the day was the Bonneville Dam, we’d read that you could go and do a self guided tour. Not expecting it to be very exciting we were pleasantly surprised to be able to drive right out onto the dam, see the locks, and get a close up look at the fish ladder they built for spawning salmon and other fish. All pretty cool actually (and totally free) and worth a visit. Linked to the dam was a big fish hatchery where we saw giant sturgeon, another highlight of the day for us.
After another road side camp we left bright and early for Mt Hood National Park. As it had been raining heavily the day before there was a dusting of fresh snow on the road up towards the mountain, making it very beautiful and a little slippery. It was Saturday and a long line of traffic was going up to the ski field. We hiked into Mirror Lake instead and were rewarded with stunning views of the mountain.
We have now been on the road for over a week, and tonight is the first night we are in a campground, thought we’d treat ourselves to a real shower! It was amazing. I know this kind of travel is not for everyone, but for us living like this means we get to travel longer and see more, which is our ultimate goal.
Next up, the Oregon Coast. It’s as good as you’ve heard.