Sunday, October 31, 2010

the Oregon Trail

WARNING: Lots of scenery photos ahead.

This year for our anniversary, Garth and I headed to Portland, Oregon. We decided to go there, one, because it was the only western state we hadn't been to. Two, we had heard that it was beautiful and three, it was the only place we could still use our free airplane tickets by the time we decided to go over October Break.

We picked up our rental car and headed up the Columbia River Gorge and decided as we looked for some place to eat that we wouldn't eat at any chain restaurants on our trip. So we choose Tippy Canoe because one, it looked interesting and two, it was the only place we could find once we got out of Portland and three, we were starving.

We chose well. Not only was the food and service great but it was all decked out for Halloween. The waitress told us that we should come back at Christmas if we really wanted to see it decorated.
I had emailed Janice, an old Texan friend, who had grown up in Oregon and she had given me great suggestions for our trip. Our next stop was at Vista House where we were blown to death. Both Garth and I were raised in pretty windy places but I had never experienced anything like this place. I couldn't even stand still to take a picture. It did have beautiful views of the gorge. though.
We headed up the river gorge and stopped at all the waterfalls along the way. Most had short hikes to the base or top of the falls. Of course I wanted to go and see every vantage point but the day was getting late and we still had so much to see that I had to make choices - darn.
This is Bridal Veil Falls.
And this is Multnomah Falls, one of the tallest waterfalls in the US. It was the most developed and had the most people as well. There was a story that in 1995 a bridal party was standing on the bridge you can see in the background and a rock the size of a bus fell off the side of the cliff. It sent a 70 foot wall of water out of the pool and over the bridge drenching the whole bridal party. I'm sure that made their wedding memorable and it gave me a good laugh.

More pictures of Multnomah Falls.

We finally made it to the town of Hood River where we would spend the night and decided to take a drive around the fruit loop as they call it. We headed towards Mt. Hood (the large snow covered mountain in the background) and drove through apple orchards. It was beautiful and reminded us of Amish country in Ohio last year.
Here is a picture of our hotel, The Columbia Gorge Hotel, which is almost 100 years old. It had beautiful gardens that we wandered around in and even had its own waterfall.
This is a picture of the Columbia River from our hotel as the sun was setting.
The next morning we headed back down the river gorge with a small stop at Beacon's Rock. It is the 3rd tallest monolith in the world at 848 feet high. It was just about a mile to the top but one of the steepest miles I've ever done - straight switch backs. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera so no aerial views from the top. Once again the wind was blowing like crazy and we were glad that most of the trail was on the lee side of the rock.
One last photo of the river.
We headed to the Oregon coast and Cannon Beach. We weren't disappointed by what we found!
Our first stop was at Ecola State Park and we did a couple of hikes to different look out spots and were thrilled by each new view.
This is Tillamook lighthouse. Said to be in one of the most exposed lighthouses in the country.
More views from Ecola State Park.
We then headed through town and found our hotel. It just had 5 rooms and they had these chairs we could sit in and watch the sun go down.
I sat for about 5 minutes until I realized that we needed to walk up the beach to get the best pictures of Haystack Rock (very famous). Reluctantly Garth followed me along. He was glad he did though when we were treated to beautiful views of the rocks, sunset, ocean spray and sand reflections. Here are just a few of the hundreds of pictures we took.

Thursday was our only rainy day while we were in Oregon. I think we were very lucky. After breakfast at Pig in a Pancake, we still stuck to our plan and headed south along the coast stopping at all the lookout spots and hiking to the beach.
When our family went to Alaska, we hiked in a very similar forest and I have a picture of Preston posing in a hole in a tree. I found one similar and posed the the same way.
We did some shopping the town and then headed back to see if there would be another beautiful sunset. Since it had been cloudy all day, we didn't expect much and we could tell no one else did either because there were very few photographers out. But we were amply rewarded and thought the sunset was even prettier that night because of the clouds. So here are some more pictures of Haystack Rock.

Before we headed out Friday morning, I had to take one picture of Haystack Rock in full sun.
We stopped at Wanda's for lunch. To say the decor was unique would be an understatement! That is an old TV with a fake fire going in it at the end of our table and a genie lamp on it with the skeleton faced native guy in the sombrero. Unique decor and great food!
We then stopped by the Tillamook cheese factory and watched them process their cheese that Garth eats every night. Garth's dad loved this cheese as well and we both wished we could call him and tell him where we were.
We headed back to the coast and stopped by a lighthouse and the Octopus Tree that has 8 trunks.
It is in Ripley's Believe it or Not.
We sat on the coast as long as we could just watching the waves crash on the rocks and then headed back to Portland. We found the Portland temple and were so impressed by it. Garth decided to tell Jason to look for a girl from Oregon to marry, because it was such a beautiful temple.
We hit horrible traffic in Portland and it look us much longer than we had anticipated, but we eventually made it to the Rose Garden in Washington Park. It wasn't the season for roses but we were still treated to some beautiful roses.

The next morning we headed to the Saturday Market and had a good time realizing where all the hippies from the 60's moved to and what they are doing now - selling stuff at the market!
I cracked up at the headbands with pencils, hatchets, screwdrivers, hammers, etc. on them. They looked really good but didn't stay on your head very well or we would have bought a couple.
One last photo of a beautiful city and state before we had to head back to the desert. Oregon is definitely a place we want to return to.
One last look at Mt. Hood from the air.
We loved the lush green vegetation, all the waterfalls and especially the coast. We had had wonderful food and were glad of our decision not to eat at any chain restaurants, it paid off.