Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Traveling to Portland

I am writing this from a coffee house in Portland.

I'm sitting here with my dear friend Wendy, who is also a writer.

As she so succinctly put it, is there anything better in the world than writing in a coffee house with a dear friend?

I traveled to Portland yesterday on a long but uneventful drive. I passed through the verdant Palouse region and noted how many crops I could see: wheat, lentils, garbanzo beans, barley...

Sometimes the fields stretched to the very edge of the sky.

Often I got shots merely by holding up the camera to the window while driving and hoping for the best.

That's a farm, waaaaaay off in the distance, almost on the horizon. (Click to enlarge.)

After about four hours of driving, I passed the Tri-Cities area of southeast Washington and hooked a right toward Portland.

The landscape got much drier, but we were paralleling the mighty Columbia River. This is a huge river. Eventually I also got to see Mount Hood looming up in solitary splendor (middle left).

The Columbia River Gorge is perpetually windy, so it's a natural place to put up those huge windmills, of which there are hundreds.

The farther west I got, the higher and rockier the cliffs become.

And all the time I'm following that mighty Columbia. Here's a barge.

Gradually the terrain became more verdant the closer I got to Portland.

About 30 miles outside of Portland I decided to take a small indulgence, which was to get off the main highway and follow the Historic Columbia River Highway for 14 miles, which has spectacular scenery and many waterfalls.

I stopped at Horsetail Falls to stretch my legs.

Here's the very very top of the falls. Notice the log across the stream.

Here's the bottom of the falls.

Next I stopped at a place called Oneonta Gorge.

The bridges along this historic highway are works of art.

The path along the road had a pedestrian tunnel through the cliff.

This gorge has a logjam that occurred a few years ago. You can see the scale of the logs by the people nearby.

But the highlight of this scenic area is Multnomah Falls.

At 620 feet, it has to be seen to be believed. Spectacular.

The falls are in two sections: the upper fall is 542 feet, the lower falls is 69 feet. There is a bridge spanning the break between the two. Here a party is horsing around on the bridge.

A few years ago, the girls and I stopped at Multnomah Falls and we hiked up to the bridge. It is spectacular, except the moment -- literally the moment -- you set foot on the bridge, you are instantly drenched with a powerful misty spray. Nice on a hot day, not so nice on a cold day. But oh my gosh, the power of the water!!

The nice thing about Multnomah Falls is it is right off the highway. At 620 feet high, it's a little hard to miss.

Anyway, enough sightseeing. I made it to my friend's house, where I was thrilled to see my book in a place of honor in her kitchen.


  1. How funny! We just went to those same waterfalls over 4th of July! We really liked horsetail falls and it was nice because unlike Multinohma there was no crowd. I love the waterfall senic byway. It may take a little longer to drive but it's worth it.

    Have a great trip!

  2. Patrice,
    Keep your eyes open around John Day Dam on the rocky cliff side. Twice we saw a large group of big horn sheep! The first time we thought we were imagining things, but the second time confirmed it. They were right down by the highway otherwise they would just blend in with the cliffs.

  3. thank you patrice for the mini vacation and the ride along with you. i have never been to idaho or oregon but your photos sure have me wanting to see more.

  4. oh my goodness, for some reason I thought it was a tankard business trip.

    The gorge is beautiful. When my kids were middle school age we would hike Oneonta on the last day of school. The waterfall emptys into a beautiful pool at the end. Glad you made it out this way and home again safely.

    God bless!

  5. Enjoy your stay in our neck of the woods! We are not in Portland, but it's not far. :) Enjoying your book, by the way! :)

  6. Patrice, last year your photos of the Palouse region inspired me to take a little trip to that part of our glorious country. Now your photos of the Columbia River Gorge have inspired me to plan a trip through that region next spring, providing I can afford it.

    Thanks for the inspiration. Hope you sell lots of tankards so you can get a good brush cutter or a new tractor (wouldn't that be great?!!) or whatever your farm needs.

    Anonymous Patriot

  7. What familiar trip. We just made it 7 days ago, in reverse! :) We've officially made the move from just outside portland, to your neck of the woods. I am the one that emailed you a few weeks back asking for your experience getting high speed internet out here.
    I am so excited & overwhelmed by .... everything out here. It's so gorgeous. And so full of ticks. ;) My husband & I are having the times of our lives, laughing at our clueless urban selves learning to be country bumpkins (we've got 20 very rural acres). I haven't yet posted about our move. I have no idea where to start! But my blog will soon be filling up with pictures of amazing pasture land, really weird bugs, and tales of urban dorks figuring it all out. :)

    Thanks for everything. I've been absorbing every last word of your entire blog, working my way backwards, for a lonnng time while I obsessed over our move up here to fantastic rural north Idaho.

    ( )

  8. Your pictures make me miss the west. It's so beautiful out there! Our deal fell through and we won't be moving to Idaho. We fell in love w/ the landscape out there when visiting in June, and now I'm thinking we need to go see Oregon, just gorgeous! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Wonderful pictures. Thanks for sharing!