Saturday, May 15, 2010

Beacon Rock

We are now parked back at Vancouver Washington. We resided in this area a few weeks back and  have returned. Yesterday we drove along the scenic Columbia River Gorge on state highway 14. We had been on the north side of the gorge when we were in this area before to view the falls, you may recall that posting. Yesterday we again headed to the gorge to hike Beacon Rock. The rock is the core of an ancient volcano. As you can see in the picture below, the rock rises steeply up to a height of 848feet.
When William Clark saw the rock in 1805 he described it as being a "remarkable high and detached rock" and gave it the name of "Beaten Rock". A year later, returning to the area, he called it "Beacon Rock". We did take the trail to its pinnacle. The trail up has 52 switchbacks, and no, I was not the one who counted them; I found it enough of a challenge to walk the mile up! Fortunately for John and I we had a sunny day with a light breeze blowing. The face of the rock which we hiked on was in the shade so our walk up really was not all that uncomfortable. Several chipmunks greeted us a the top, looking for handouts of food.
 The climb was worth it. At the top we had a breathtaking view of the Columbia River Gorge. The foothills of the Cascade Mountains surround the river valley. To the left of the rock we could see the Bonneville Dam.
Directly below us we could see railroad tracks. Sunday we will be coming through this area on a train going east to Richmond Virginia. Our daughter Melissa will be graduating Friday from Virginia Commonwealth University and receiving her Masters in Social Work. From there we will fly to a nephew's high school graduation in Omaha Ne. After returning to Vancouver on the 28th of May we plan to start our journey north to Alaska for the summer.

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