April 2011

April 2011
Boondocking at my brother's in Reno, April 2011

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Gorging on Sunshine

The day was bright with sunshine and warmth (comparatively speaking!) when we set out to drive the Historic Columbia River Highway.  The entire Columbia River Gorge is home to some of the most magnificent scenery in Oregon.  The new highway, I-84, goes for miles with the Columbia River on one side and ragged cliffs on the other.  We were high above I-84 on the old Highway 30, a twisty, turny scenic route dating back to the 1920s.

We started at exit 22 off the I-84 and stayed on the old highway to exit 35. The first few miles from exit 22 are very steep and twisty and I would not recommend taking a motorhome on this part.

hwy 30 

Our first stop is Chanticleer Point where the Women's Forum Overlook provides sweeping views of the river and surrounding mountain.  It is also the place to be if you want a photo of Crown Point and the Vista House (see yellow arrow).  Crown Point is only accessible from the old highway and that was the next stop on our journey.

womens overlook

The view from Crown Point is equally impressive.  Far below you can see the river and the I-84 interstate highway.  The Vista House was closed for the season but was still an impressive structure.

vista house viewpoint

view from vista house2
 Yours truly checking out the view from the Vista House parking lot.






view from vista house
The highway and the river are far below our vantage point.





The road winds around the mountains, with stunning views around each curve.  The road itself is a joy, even though it is narrow and twisty.
the road

There are numerous waterfalls along this route, many of them small, unnamed demonstrations of the melting snow above.  We purposely did not take any photos of the most famous of these waterfalls, Multnomah Falls.  We could not do it justice and there are lots better photos than mine out there.

We stopped at some of the falls.  There are trails at every stop, from short .2 miles walks to more strenuous hikes to the top of some of the falls.  If you are a hiker, you would never be bored here.  Wahkeena Falls was a great stop.

wahkeena falls collage

A little farther along we stopped at Horsetail Falls. Russ couldn’t resist snapping these shots of a noisy crow on the parking lot sign.

bird brain

This was what we saw through the dirty windshield as we sat in the car and enjoyed our sandwiches.  Pretty hard to take!!
P1030853

Here’s a short video of Horsetail Falls.


We made a couple more quick stops and then it was back on the main highway for our trip back to town.  This was a great way to spend several hours and we did not have time to make all the stops we wanted to.  We will definitely drive this highway again and enjoy this bit of Oregon history and beauty.  Well worth the time.

21 comments:

  1. Love those falls. We'll probably do it again this year when we get back up north.

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  2. Great story and photos on I-84. I hope we get to drive part of this route this fall on our way to the Oregon Coast.

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  3. Gorgeous! I'm heading that way this year.... I gotta see it one more time ... I'm going all the way up Highway 1 then over East and wherever...

    I remember a salmon hatching place there? somewhere going east up the Columbia... can't remember where it was exactly.

    I was totally fascinated. One woman's job was to sit in this glass enclosure and COUNT the fish..

    just cracked me up.. she was wonderful and had some fish named...

    Fascinating to watch....

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  4. Carolyn, you are probably thinking of the Bonneville Dam fish hatchery. Fascinating place just a little further east on I-84. They do have windows where you can watch the fish and there is indeed a ranger who sits and counts them.

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  5. What beautiful photos. I love the one with the mountains in the background.
    Not sure we will be through that area but I have it bookmarked in case we are. Too beautiful to miss! ~wheresweaver

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  6. Stopped by Multnomah Falls on the way home from Hood River today. Going this morning it looked like the falls were coming right out of the clouds, because they were hanging so low. It was beautiful!

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  7. well since you were gorging on sunshine..we were drowning in rain!..glad that you got out and about to explore some of the great views!!

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  8. Thanks for the memories. Sure hope we get to do that again sometime in the not too far future.

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  9. We loved the falls and trails when we visited a few years ago on vacation. We plan to go along the west coast near in our RV.

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  10. Old Highway 30 is one of my favorite drives. We are lucky to live so close to it. I enjoyed seeing your pictures and your captions!

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  11. One of my favorite highways when I was driving truck cross country wat the Columbia Gorge. Thanks for the pictures.

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  12. Thanks for the different perspective of the Gorge. Can't believe it's only been two years when we drove through it on I-84 on our maiden voyage bringing the Phaeton here from Portland. The exit to Multnomah Falls was a siren call, reminding us of our 1983 drive through the Gorge (and visit o the falls) when we were relocating from Washington to Utah. Alas, we had just a week to make the cross-country trip this time and had to take a pass on revisiting one of our all time favorite falls.

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  13. I feel like I'm on the drive with you. Not only are photos great but the way you present them says so much! You are my inspiration to learn how to "blog better".

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  14. We love getting in the truck and just wandering down the road, soaking up the beauty of this country, too! Thanks for sharing!

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  15. We never got tired of hiking all the falls trails when we volunteered at Bonneville Dam. That is such a beautiful area. Too bad the interstate and railroad tracks are so close, though.

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  16. Wow guys, great blog. Although we didn't make it out there this trip with the coach, I do believe we will hop a flight and just do the hotel/motel circuit this summer. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Just BS!(Bob and Sue)

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  17. I loved revisiting this beautiful road again from your perspective. As beautiful as everything is on that gorgeous old road, my favorite part are the short stone walls that serve as guard rails. Once again the incredible CCC created something beautiful and useful.

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  18. I made that drive years ago before purchasing my RV. I hiked to the top of the Multnomah Falls. It was a fabulous view. I love that area.

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  19. What a great drive! Beautiful photos, and of course, I love the crow photos and story. Funny! My grandkids love that kind of photo story. :)

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  20. Beautiful, sure an area I would like to visit someday. Thanks Russ for the great crow pic's and my morning chuckle! Have a great week!

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  21. thanks so much for the trip down a favorite nostalgic drive! we've stopped at each of those places and hung out just as you described!!! and each one is more beautiful than words can fully describe, but you did a great try!!!

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