We got up fairly early to another beautiful day, anxious to get on the road. The weather was perfect, not a cloud in the sky. Another great day for traveling. We are headed to The Dalles area, located on the Washington, Oregon state line. We took Hwy 97 to 82, traveling through Yakima (a favorite city of ours) to Hwy 84. The Dalles was a center for American Indian trade for 10,000 years, making it one of the oldest inhabited areas in North America, representing a historical & geological crossroad on the Oregon Trail.
We have never been to this particular area & are looking forward to it. We hear the Columbia River is beautiful. The second-longest river in the continental United States, the Columbia begins in southern British Columbia, and flows through a major mountain range as it journeys south then west to the Pacific. Today, the 1243-mile river dumps 250,000 cubic feet of water per SECOND into the ocean. The Columbia River Gorge runs alongside the 80-mile and, in places, 4000-foot-deep Gorge that marks the border between Oregon & Washington.
Just a few miles down the road we found the beautiful Memaloose State Park right on the river & for $20 a night have full hook-ups & a great spot! Yea, our satellite works here also. We set up, BBQ'd some steaks & settled in for a little TV. We are anxious to check out the area in the morning, we hear there are several waterfalls nearby. And you know how we love those waterfalls. I know you may have been raised in an area where it was green, beautiful, had lots of rivers & lakes & even the 4 season change. But, being born in California & living in Nevada for the last 30 years, I am more accustomed to seeing the desert & large, tall buildings. And lots of cars! So, this is so refreshing & beautiful. Don't think we will tire of lakes, rivers & waterfalls for awhile!
Today we headed to the Ainsworth State Park, Columbia River Highway. The Columbia River Gorge is famous for its falls. There are 77 on the Oregon side alone! There are actually 8 forms- you will see 3 of the 8 in our pictures. It was a beautiful drive down Hwy 84 headed to our destination. I took a few pictures of the road ahead, the rocks jutting out beside the Hwy, and the Columbia along the way. There were the most interesting sand formations in one area & the change in water color as we traveled along was interesting. There was a pretty good wind, so the river had lots of whitecaps.
Along our route, we passed Beacon Rock, named by Lewis & Clark in 1805, a remnant of an ancient volcano, rising 848 feet above the river. Its shear sides exhibit vertical columnar jointing on a large scale. Beautiful!
The first waterfall we came upon was Horsetail Falls. 1 of the 8 types, Horsetail looks just like a horsetail. Dropping vertically, it maintains contact with bedrock. A smaller fall, but pretty none the less.
The second fall Wahkeena, is classified as a tier. A tier falls, then falls again, then falls again. It has several "tiers" - separate falls that can all be viewed all at once. It was so beautiful & the sound was so nice to listen to. We stood there for quite awhile taking it all in.
The third fall Multnomah Falls is classified as a plunge. A plunge drops vertically and away from the cliffside, losing contact with bedrock. Multnomah is the highest waterfall in the Columbia River Gorge with a total drop of 620 feet. The waterfall is visually complimented by Benson Bridge, built in 1914 by Italian stone masons. We had a wonderful time there, took lots of pictures, so I will try to refrain from posting them all! We took a pic of a spider we found very interesting, his web captured a leaf in midair & he was hanging there just watching us! So, we stopped to watch him...a little further down the path, a caterpillar caught our eye, so we have a pic of it also. We don't want to bore you with too much water!!
We then continued our journey, stopped to take a few pics of all the greenery, and then stopped at Crown Point State Park, a 14.5 million year old Columbia River basalt flow which filled a former canyon of the river, rising 733 feet, offering a 30-mile view of the Gorge. We went through Vista House a beautiful, octagonal stone structure built as a memorial to the pioneers in 1916. It was to be "simply a great rest-house for the sightseers traveling over the road." The windows were beautiful as was the view! The newly restored historic building reopened in April 2006. Very interesting.
Well, we are starving to death, so it is back to the rig & little Onyx who we left home today. We will be heading into the Portland area tomorrow to see some old friends. And more sightseeing. Can't wait...