|We left this morning driving the Mt. Hood Loop which takes one beside the Columbia River which separates Oregon from Washington. It is filled with trails and hiking paths and many beautiful waterfalls. Our first stop was the Vista House at Crown Point which was built between 1916 and 1917. This is the Western gateway to the Columbia Gorge and provides shelter at a scenic promontory. Much of the lands surrounding the waterfalls has been donated by philanthropists to the city of Portland and to the state parks and national forest systems. Latourell Falls is one that was donated in 1929 by Gy and Geraldine Talbot. Timber tycoon, Simon Benson donated the site of Multnomah Falls along with 300 additional acres that also included the Wahkeena Falls. Wahkeena Falls is 242' tall and the name is from the Yakima Indians meaning "most beautiful" We also walked in the Oneonta Gorge and saw the Horsetail Falls. Some of these we walked to, but some we did not because of the continuous rain through-out the day. The Columbia Gorge has the highest concentration of high waterfalls in North America. Horsetail Falls is one example of the many types of waterfalls whose plunge pools and tributary systems provide habitat crictical for the survival of many species.
We ate lunch in the town of Hood River. Just outside this town are acres and acres of orchards and vineyards. I do not know what type of fruit trees they were, but they certainly have a lot of them. This is a very beautiful area located beside the Hood River and in sight (on a clear day) of Mt. Hood.
Mt. Hood stands tall at 11,239 feet. We drove into Mt. Hood Meadows ski resort. It was raining and the temperature was 41 degrees. We passed a small group of deer grazing along the road bank (which was pretty steep) which had green grass. In the forest, lining the road, there was quite a bit of snow still present.
We drove on to The Mt. Hood Ski Resort at 6,000ft and is the only ski resort in the USA that has skiing all year round. The Timberline Lodge is the signature structure here and was built in 1935-36. This hotel was dedicated in 1957 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Hand-crafted by WPA artisans, Timberline Lodge is an all-seasons' reflection of the majesty of Mt. Hood. Known as "The People's Lodge," it was hewn by public workers into a monumental masterpiece. Timberline is finished with museum quality original paintings, carved linoleum, mosaic glass, sculpted wood, stone and metal work.
The temperature here today when we arrived was 34 degrees, it was snowing and so enclosed in the clouds you could not see anything except what was directly in front of you and within a few feet. Needless to say, Lynd was not able to take any pictures here. There were lots of people and the lodge was full (no vacancies). There were 2 weddings scheduled for the afternoon. We saw quite a few people either going to the slopes or returning from the slopes. There were many smiling faces!
This has been a spectacular day even though it was rainy most of the time. As beautiful as it was today, I really cannot conceive how spectacular it would be on a bright sunny day. The waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge are worth the entire trip and the majestic evergreen trees just cap it all off. What a special place this is.
Tomorrow is a travel day for us as we head to Umatilla, OR which is just across the border from Washington. This will be our last stop in Oregon. What a journey it has been. If you have never been to Oregon, try to put it on your bucket list. It will be worth it.
Have a great evening and peaceful and healthy Sunday.