Monday, April 12, 2010

Columbia River Gorge

As I had said in the previous posting, Saturday was a long day. Everything I wanted to say about that day could not be covered in that one posting. So, now back to the rest of the story.. The traffic was heavy on Highway 26 around Mt. Hood. There seemed to be a lot of sightseers on the road, like John and I, as well as people there to get in some snow sledding on the lower slopes. The picture below will give you an idea as to how much snow is still on the ground.
 Driving out of the park and into the lower elevations we passed by many orchards. The orchard pictured below is not in bloom yet, but we did drive by some orchards which were stunningly beautiful with their pink and white blossoms. Some of the orchards must be plum- we saw one sign on a closed fruit stand which announced: "Purple Pit Stop".
After getting our visual fill of Mt. Hood we turned onto Highway 35 and drove along the Columbia River Gorge. The scenery was fantastic with the river on our right and shear cliffs rising to about 2000 feet on our left. Also a lot of unusual rock formations. We stopped at the state-run  Bonneville Fish Hatchery.  Many of the ponds there are empty, maybe some of the fish nurseries had to be scaled back due to lack of funds (no pun intended there). On the grounds is an indoor viewing area- how about this big sturgeon, he seemed willing to pose for me so I snapped his picture.
We stopped at Horsetail and Multnomah Falls. The latter is the highest of all of the eleven falls located in this river gorge. It has a height of 620 feet, the second largest waterfall in the nation. We started hiking up to the top of  those falls, but we stopped at the bridge (see picture below) because it was getting late. We still had a distance to go to return home.  It had been a very long day, but one filled with incredible natural beauty.

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