Sunday, June 13, 2010

Perfect Day, Part 1!

Yesterday we took a 15hr road trip (Rico drove the entire way - what a champ!), starting out at 3am and returning home around 6pm!  It was a long day but so worth it.  The first 2 1/2 hrs were pretty uneventful driving from Auburn to Portland.

Originally, I had 3 or 4 places picked out that I wanted us to stop at and explore.  We ended up with many more than that because a lot of the waterfalls along the Historic Columbia River Highway are visible from the highway pullouts - which makes it extremely easy to stop and see the sights.

{Left click on the photos for enlarged version}

We started off our day at the end of Larch Mountain Road, which leads to Sherrard Viewpoint.  We were kind of worried at first because on the drive up, it was super foggy and we couldn't see anything beyond the road.  Luckily halfway up, the sun started poking through and eventually at the top, as you can see, we didn't have any issues!

Sherrard Viewpoint boasts a view of 5 mountains.  Mt. St. Helens (left), Mt. Rainier (center) and Mt. Adams (right).

Mount Hood

Mt. Jefferson

Luckily, from the parking lot, there was only a 1/4 mile hike to this scenic viewpoint :) 

After that, the sun had burned off most of the fog so we were able to open the sunroof and cruise around with the windows open.  We discovered that we could usually tell when there was going to be a stop coming up because we could hear the waterfalls through the sunroof which was really cool.  We caught quite a few that weren't listed on the map by listening for them.

Crown Point Overlook Vista House - as you can tell, we couldn't see anything from here...the fog was still too heavy.
Latourell Falls

 Rico insisted on a Vanna White for this one, haha!
 This was one of falls we heard but wasn't on the map!

Sheppard's Dell was right off the road.  The trail led down from the road and right up next to the falls.  It was really cool and it had some great shots from under the bridge as well.

 Wahkeena Falls

 The above shots were from the off-the-road pull off.  But they have a little bridge at the top...I managed to talk Rico into coming up with me - it was only about 1/4 mile up so it wasn't too bad.

Multnomah Falls
One of the most talked about falls of the Columbia Gorge. This is one I insisted on seeing and I'm glad we got there early.  Lots of people were just starting to pull in as we were leaving, so we missed the crowds.  The sun coming through the trees created a really cool lighting effect though it was hard to catch...

 One of the other highlights of the trip was supposed to be the Fruit Loop in Hood River.  The Fruit Loop is a scenic route around the town which is situated in a valley bewteen Mt Hood & Mt. Adams, filled with fruit farms and wineries.  Little did we realize that most of the early blooming fruit had already been picked.  Rico humored me and still drove around and here's what we saw.
 We stopped at Hood River Lavender Farm to see if any of the lavender fields were in bloom but apparently they've been having the same bad weather we've been having and they're blooming season is still a few weeks off.  The manager graciously let us roam around her farm and take pictures.

 I picked him in the garden and decided to take him home!

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