Monday, August 13, 2007
Along An Old Highway
Last week I shared here about the visit of family from out-of-state and about our wonderful day trip together. I shared about the Historic Columbia River Highway and our visit to Vista House at Crown Point high above the Columbia River Gorge. As we continued driving east on the old highway we stopped at one of the many impressive waterfalls that can be seen from the road. Nearby, a wonderful old bridge caught my eye and captured my attention. I love the design detail and the texture of the old concrete and moss.Down the road a ways we came to Multnomah Falls, Oregon's most visited outdoor destination - the 2nd highest waterfall in the United States. Nearly two million visitors come to see the waterfall every year! The falls are fed by underground springs from Larch Mountain. Seasonal rains and snowmelt result in heavy winter and spring water flow and lighter flow in the dry summer months. For the first few years of our marriage we lived about an hour east of the falls. We never lost the sense of wonder and amazement as we viewed the falls each time we drove to Portland. You should see it in the winter! It's absolutely spectacular when it is full and overflowing and when it is surrounded by snow. But it nearly takes your breath away when freezing temperatures cause some of the spray of the water to freeze into giant icicles cascading down the rocky bluff. A U.S. Forest Service brochure describes it best: "Winter turns the Falls and cliff face to a towering crystal edifice."A short hike up a well-maintained trail took us to the Benson Bridge that was built to replace a log bridge built by the railroad in the 19th century. A viewpoint along the trail provides an incredible view of the top of the falls.The bridge was built in 1914 to allow visitors to cross the falls between the upper and lower cascades. The trail continues beyond the bridge allowing hikers to climb to the top of the falls. The view from the bridge is spectacular.A look up from the courtyard near the lodge gives a glimpse of the top of the falls.A few minutes down the road we found a picnic table beside Horsetail Falls - a picturesque place to enjoy our picnic lunch together.The breathtaking view from our lunch table and the sounds of the falling water made our lunchtime very special.While we ate lunch a train slowly came into view just across the parking lot from where we sat.After lunch our trip continued as we drove east to another special place. I'll share more of our trip and the sights we saw with you soon. Until then, if you are near our corner of the world I hope you can visit some of the places we enjoyed on our day with our family.