Monday, June 1, 2015

Leave Part 2: Columbia River Gorge

Oh my goodness, we realized pretty quickly that we should have come here for his entire leave instead of just the last two days like we'd planned (see part one of our leave in Portland here). It's seriously one of, if not the, most beautiful parts of the country I've ever seen. Warning, if you don't like pictures of waterfalls and puppies.... turn back now.

As we got closer to our destination we pulled onto the Columbia River Scenic Highway. Since we couldn't check in until later that afternoon we decided to take our time and explore along the way.
God really outdid himself here, countless waterfalls, towering pine trees and cliffs, eagles soaring, and of course the expansive Columbia River winding along beside the highway. With the exception of the paved roads, it still seems so wild, so untamed, and like we were explorers of the new frontier. And when the traffic started to thicken we knew it was time to pull over.

There it was, the Multnomah Falls. Something I'd pinned a bunch of times on Pinterest and had tacked on to my bucket list years ago. And even though I would have loved to see it without the other gawkers around, it's impressiveness could not be diminished. It feels like Rivendell, like another world.
We hiked to the bridge that cuts across the middle of the falls and felt the spray of the cool mist, and then we continued on to the top to stand where it pours down to the earth below. It's almost not real, it looks so perfect, so dreamy.



After taking in as much as we could we loaded back in the car and followed the Columbia River on to our hotel, only detouring a couple times to drive across the Bridge of the Gods.
We were booked at the Columbia Cliffs Villas which are located on the property neighboring the historic Columbia Gorge Hotel. I had checked ahead of time to make sure the place was dog friendly and the website said it was. However I made the mistake of not calling ahead to let them know about our last minute furry addition. It ended up working out for us though as we got upgraded from our single room into a suite with a living room, kitchen and just in general more space for our pup.

The villas are right on the Columbia River, perched on rocky cliffs overlooking it's majesty. Once we got checked in we wandered around our new home for the next two days. A streams runs through the property and flows into the Wah Gwin Gwin Falls running right into the river below.

We decided to venture out again and headed to a vineyard across the river on the Washington side called AniChe Cellars. They have fantastic views of the river and Mt. Hood in the distance. We wandered around their farm and sipped wine before heading back across the Hood River bridge and into the cute surf town of Hood River, Oregon.
This is such a fun little town with tons of shops and restaurants and just a laid back vibe. While waiting for a table outside at Solstice Pizza we watched the kite surfers and let Hunley dip his toes in the cool water. Then he scouted for crumbs at our feet while we enjoyed pizza and topped it off with gelato from the food truck next door before calling it a night.

The next day T.J. ran in to town and grabbed us breakfast sandwiches so we could fuel up before another big day of hiking and waterfall chasing.  We headed back to the scenic highway detour and parked at the Horsetail Falls trail head.
 Since we were getting an earlier start it was much less crowded and we pretty much had the trail to ourselves. We ascended higher and came to Ponytail Falls which you could walk behind.

We ascended even higher above the pine trees and reached Triple Falls- three falls that braided together perfectly.
We trekked back out (carrying our pooped puppy most of the way to the parking lot) and had another perfect lunch outdoors in town. We relaxed in our villa for the rest of the day, napped and stalled our departure for as long as possible before taking one last meander around the property and then heading home.  
I stood in awe of creation in this beautiful place. It makes you want to sing praise, shout hallelujahs and fall to your knees in worship of our Lord. You can't help it, the scenery overwhelms you and demands it. Take me back, please! 

3 comments :

  1. What fabulous pictures! Looks like a beautiful spot, and how fun to see something you had on your list of to-sees in this world. I look foward to seeing it all in person too : )

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  2. Very cool pics. HSK. OXOXOX. Miss you.

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  3. Beautiful photos and memories made! Thanks for sharing!

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