by Jim and Melanie
During one of our days visiting Portland, OR, we drove east along the Columbia River. Over the eons, the river cut a gorge through the land as it coursed to the Pacific from central Oregon. The first scenic part of our drive was on the Historic Columbia River Highway. We stopped at the Portland Women’s Forum State Scenic Viewpoint.
In the image above you can see a structure on the bluff, on the photo’s right side. The building is called Vista House. The rest stop honors the early pioneers to the area. We headed there next.
This video offers a panoramic view from Vista House first toward the west and ending toward the east. You can see how calm the water was, a great contrast to our last visit. About ten years ago we stopped at Vista House. The wind was blowing about 50 mph, and we nearly had to hold on to the railing to keep from blowing over.
Waterfalls plunge into the gorge at several locations on both sides of the river. We visited two near Vista House. The first was Latourell Falls. The drop is nearly 225 ft in a single plunge.
It was easy to walk up close and get into the spray. A side trail led to a spot behind the falls. We walked back there and got some unique views and a little wet.
The rocks on the overhanging cliff face were composed of basalt columns. The volcanic rocks cooled from their molten state and formed six-sided columns. These column structures are found near many volcanic regions of the world. (Melanie LOVES basalt columns. She jumped up and down when she saw these.)
Bridal Veil Falls
Not far down the road we stopped to see another falls.
We reached our farthest east destination of Cascade Locks by noon. The riverfront park was a pleasant place to eat our packed lunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The view to the north side of the river showed the carved bluff faces. Though tempted to cross and explore there, we’ll save that visit for another time.
No trip to the Pacific Northwest is complete without at least one sighting of Big Foot. Fortunately, he was not threatening at all, and we made a safe getaway.