Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Tour of Portland: Day 2

Our second day in Portland was predicted to be the most hot, so we decided that it would be the perfect day to escape to the Columbia River Gorge and Mt. Hood. Just an hour drive out of Portland and you will find yourself in the midst of God's beautiful, grand, and detailed creation.

The Historic Columbia River Highway was the first planned scenic roadway in the US. It has sweeping views of the Columbia River Gorge, and winds along the "tour of waterfalls," as I like to call it.

The first stop you should make is at Chanticleer Point, at the Portland Women's Forum. We loved watching the gathering of painters who were there that morning capturing the beauty of the view!

And don't miss the Vista House at Crown Point. Another picture perfect spot for views of the Gorge.

There are many pull-offs along the route where you can park alongside the road and take a short walk or a long hike to view majestic waterfalls that dot the drive. We stuck to the shorter walks and easier hikes, but still saw a breathtaking array of waterfalls. The power of the thousands of gallons of rushing water was stunning. To truly experience the beauty of the scenic byway, you definitely need to plan for a block of several hours to explore all of the stops along the way. I'll share just a few of our stops with you....

Bridal Veil Falls
And the most well known of the falls, Multnomah Falls. Multnomah Falls drops in two major steps and is the second tallest waterfall in the United States. Truman hiked to the top of the falls, while I waited near the bridge. We took a little break and had a relaxed lunch on the Multnomah Lodge patio with a great view of the falls, before continuing on the drive.

Wahkeena Falls
Each waterfall along the drive is identified with a name, often reflecting its unique & distinguishing characteristics.

Horsetail FallsNear the end of the Historic Columbia River Highway, you can pick up the Fruit Loop. The Fruit Loop winds around orchard after orchard, neat rows of trees with a few vineyards tucked between, and the backdrop of Mt. Hood, the tallest mountain in Oregon.

It is a beautiful drive and you can follow half the loop to the highway entering Mt. Hood National Forest. We then continued on into the National Forest and up to Timberline Lodge at the top of Mt. Hood.

Despite 90 degree temperatures in the city, the mountains were still covered in snow. We took in both the cooler temperatures and the grand views before heading back to Portland. We spent about 10 hours making the round trip up the Historic Columbia River Highway, on to Mt. Hood, and then back to Portland. It was a really full day, but so worth it!

We were obviously tired and hungry when we arrived back at the B&B! We headed out for a late bite to eat & loved our dinner at the unique elementary school turned hotel & restaurant, The Kennedy School! It is one of the most original restaurants we've ever been to, maintaining the historic character of the school with a funky twist.

The old cafeteria has been transformed into a restaurant, the gym an eclectic movie theater where you can order from the menu during the show, and the classrooms have become hotel rooms in an adjoining wing. There is even a pool. It seemed to be another fun option for accommodations in Portland. It was a pleasant evening to enjoy a meal al fresco on the patio.


Kimba said...

Thanks for stopping by and for the sweet comment. I usually feel the same way about yellow/black but for some reason it worked on that project. I'll look forward to seeing your craiglist find all fixed up. Have fun!

And thanks for posting pictures of Portland. I've never been there but I've always wanted to go.

Cindi said...

Amber, so nice to "meet" you! I didn't realize your mom's name was Cindi.... there was some pretty loud noise the night we met and chatted! Your photography is beautiful... Thanks so much for commenting on my blog.