Our last day at Portland …
we had a pre-booked tour of The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. The bookings were done online from India itself. As usual, it was via VIATOR…they have never disappointed us…The local agency assigned to us was Hub World Travels..Portland.
The tour was scheduled for the afternoon and so we took a late breakfast at the hotel and took the Tri Met train to town. One of the most beautiful sights in Portland is The Willamette River...As we traveled to town on the train, we crossed the Willamette….
The Willamette River
The Willamette is a tributary of the Columbia River and we can see how the lives of the people in Portland are so intimately connected with the Columbia River
Alighting at Lloyds centre station, we took a quick round of the Lloyds centre.….the high end shopping mall. Once we were inside, we were in for a very pleasant surprise…an ice rink in the centre court of the mall and a couple skating gracefully to the strains of music.….Mesmerized by their graceful moves, we stood and watched in awe….Unfortunately could not film it for you…privacy issues are sacrosanct in these countries…
After a quick round of the mall, we waited for our tour company to pick us up and soon we were on the tour bus. As we left the city ,the beauty of Portland unfolded itself in front of us…
Before we actually reached the destination , our guide gave us a brief about the place. Let me share it with you….
The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic area is located 40 km from Downtown Portland, and is a naturalist’s delight!Extending more than 100 miles, the Columbia River carves this canyon on the Cascade ranges. In the process it creates innumerable waterfalls.
The Gorge itself is up to 4000 ft deep at places and forms the border between the states of Washington and Oregon.It is an ideal place for outdoor adventures like hiking, camping, mountain biking, fishing and windsurfing .Over 90 waterfalls dot this area; notable among them being Latourell, Multnomah, Wahkeena, Bridal Veil and horsetail.Some of these freeze in winter.Further east , is the Hood River which is also a popular destination with recreation facilities.Breweries and wineries are an added attraction.
In 2017, a lot of destruction took place in this gorge area due to a forest fire triggered by a teenager.As we drove along, we could see the aftermath of wild fires at several places .
The road skirts the Columbia River as it turns and twists between the mountains and it provides loads of beautiful view points. Our first halt was at Latourell Falls. The peculiarity of this waterfall is the straight fall from the height unlike various waterfalls where the water trickles along the edges of the slope…
The Latourell Falls
After spending some time at the falls we drove down to Crown point Vista House. Located on a 730 feet cliff, it offers a panoramic view of the Gorge, and has an observatory and museum.
The Vista House and the Columbia River with adjoining hills in fall colours
A short video clip of the Columbia River and Gorge as seen from Vista House
From Vista house, our next destination was:
Located on the Columbia River Highway and fed by rain and melting snow, it is a year round attraction and partially freezes in winter
The peculiarity of Multnomah Falls is that it is a two tierd waterfall..two levels with a wooden observation bridge( Benson Bridge) in between. One can take a short hike up to this bridge.
The two tiers of the waterfall with the Benson Bridge spanning the lower falls
The lower falls as seen from the wooden bridge
On the Wooden bridge with the upper falls in the backdrop
There is a small picnic area close to the falls with a coffee house and a trinket shop. We sat around sipping some hot coffee enjoying the sound of the falls.
After that, we returned to Lloyd centre station and took the train back to our hotel marking the end of our Portland holiday…
See you next week at….Las Vegas!!!