Posts Tagged With: Bridal Veil Falls

GATEWAY TO THE COLUMBIA GORGE

Troutdale advertises itself as the Gateway to the Columbia River Gorge with a huge metal gate at the entrance to town. It guides you onto Historic Highway 30, which at one time was the only way East from the mouth of the Columbia. Now there is an interstate. The scenic drive is typified by sheer cliffs, overlooks, many waterfalls, steep, narrow, twisting  roads in some places.

Vista House sits at the crest. It gives panoramic views of the area and the only “rest stop” with bathrooms. It is dedicated to the memory of Samuel Lancaster, the chief engineer of Highway 30 who overcame tremendous obstacles both political and physical to replace the Columbia Trail with a hard surface road so that millions of us can enjoy the “Poetry and drama of God’s spectacular Creations.”

There isn’t much parking space for motor homes on the various pull outs to its scenic wonders and hikes. Jim hesitated driving into this spot because you couldn’t see far enough ahead to know if you could get back out. The warning on this road is no vehicle over 50 feet long. We are 46 feet with the tow. On the trip we saw one other very small Class C motor home.

The view upstream from the crest.

The first falls was Latourell, I was lucky enough to get from the window. No available parking for us here.

At Bridal Veil falls, I hiked the steep double back trail down to the bottom of the falls. It you go, realize the trails make the walk easy enough and benches for resting on the way back up are strategically placed.

This falls comes down in layers and ripples like a river before it hits bottom.

The falls we wanted to see most, Multnomah, is the second highest year-round waterfall in the U.S. It plummets 620 feet against some beautiful basalt water formations. But, the parking area  was crowded and we couldn’t get off the narrow road enough to walk back to it at any spot. It was just a lucky shot I got out the window. There is a beautiful picture of it at Wikipedia with a daring bridge and both tiers showing. You can check it out at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multnomah_Falls
My point is, if you go, take a car, not a motor home. There is a visitors center here and you could spend some time just drinking in the freshness and beauty of this site.

Again, no parking available at Horseshoe Falls. I caught a shot of it with my head out the window. A woman walking by said to me, “You are the picture!”  We both laughed. One thing about this road, you must drive slowly. It was tight and narrow for the motor home but after Jim’s trip to Central America, nothing daunts him.

In a couple of places the basalt  hung over the road and appeared like it would hit the top of the motor home.
We drove on to the Bonneville Dam. More on that tomorrow.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

YOSEMITE FRIDAY

We arrived at the gates of Yosemite via Hiway 120, quite early in the day. Even so, there was a line waiting to get in. This is considered the Manteca entrance, and it happens to be the entrance that takes you through the recent August fire of over 2,000 acres. Our local paper had plenty of criticism about a controlled burn at the height of the fire season. Pretty ugly and very damaging. In some areas stately old trees that didn’t burn outright are badly damaged and will most likely die. Once past the burn, the views just keep smacking you in the face. Every turn brings about a new rock face. If only pictures could do them justice. We opted for the Yosemite Valley knowing it would be the most crowded area of the park over the weekend. We stopped at practically every picture lookout and for me, the park has changed much since my last visit. Two lane, one way roads in and out. Parking areas with shuttle service to various areas. Guided tours if you want them. The changes are helpful and more sensitive to the ecosystems in the park. The changes were well done and positive in my opinion. The beauty is unchanged, of course. After many years absence it’s like seeing it for the first time and falling in love all over again. We climbed tumbled, car sized boulders  to get closer to Bridal Veil Falls. Even though its late in the season, it still has water. Bridal Veil had no water on Jim’s last visit in August of 2001. The Visitors Center film shows the falls gushing powerfully in winter. Yosemite in winter is probably a sight I’ll never see, nor the signature views at sunrise and sunset. I appreciated the film very much. We hiked from the parking lot to the various sights then shuttled to Ahwahnee Hotel. It knocks your socks off to stand in front of the hotel with glorious views of climbers above you on the granite face. We had lunch at the hotel and took pictures of the massive fireplaces, stained glass windows in Indian motiffs, the mural room, furniture, candle holders, an eighteen foot table, a dining room that seats 491 people. Mind boggling for its time, 1927. I asked the maitre d’ how much it would cost to build the hotel in today’s dollars? He said the original building cost 1.2 million, way over estimates. He told me an architect figured the cost of the dining room alone, in today’s dollars, would run 6 million. What a treasure. No wonder its a national monument. We hiked back to the parking lot and reluctantly said good bye for the day. We’ll return on Sunday for a day trip of the high country. I’ve included a picasa web album of my pictures at this address: http://picasaweb.google.com/1579penn/Yosemite# The signal here is weak and my pictures, some from the car, are unedited. The morning was hazy and needed some subdued light and added contrast. No captions. Most people know half dome, El Capitan, Cathedral Rock,big meadow and other signature points. The fire, by the way, burned right up to Big Meadow.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.