Portland: July 24 & 25 (Columbia River Gorge)

What to do on a beautiful summer day in Portland?  The sky was blue, the sun was shining . . . and from our current home along the Columbia River there was a beautiful bike path with views of the river, Mt. Hood, and several other mountain peaks.  The girls and I planned to do some walking while Mike made some adjustments and upgrades to his bike. 

Then we unraveled the tie straps and Mike used his pocketknife to cut the zip ties holding the bike onto the truck’s hood rack.       


Taking the velo off the car

. . . and suddenly we found ourselves in the waiting room of Kaiser Permanente Northwest Hospital Urgent Care because Mike sliced his hand with the pocketknife’s blade. 

We debated the need to go in, but in the end, Mike tried to work the brakes on the velo and found he couldn’t do so without opening the wound.  He had a lot of work and a long ride ahead.  Stitches seemed easiest.  In the end, Mike had to insist he couldn’t rest the hand for at least five days before the nurse agreed to stitch him up. 

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Self-posed portraits depicting the lack of urgency in Urgent Care              (almost 3 hours)


3 stitches


The girls look ridiculously pitiful in the hospital photos, but they truly had to work at those while I handled a ton of phone calls.  Mike’s mom just happened to call while he was off being stitched.  Of course, no mother likes to hear her son is in the hospital all the way across the country, so that sparked a flurry of texts and calls from family back in Michigan calling to find out how serious Mike’s “accident” was.  In the end, he only needed 3 stitches and he was fine.  We did laugh, though, because a couple of years ago Mike started out another camping trip needing stitches on the first day.  Those first aid kits I pack just don’t serve his needs lately. 

Once he could work, he immediately took the bike apart, de-greased a bunch of chains, worked on the pedals . . . it was a productive afternoon and evening.  However, the girls and I never got out for our walk.  We decided Monday HAD to be better.  We were wavering between a long day trip to Mt. St. Helens or a shorter trip out to the Columbia River Gorge.  In the end, the gorge won out so Mike could spend half a day working and still spend some time with us. 

We set out for the gorge area around 2 pm.  Our first stop was the Larch Mountain Overlook.  On a clear day, we’re told you can see 5 different mountain peaks from the summit.  As we drove up, we almost turned back, but breaks in the cloud cover made us finish the drive.  Unlike our hike of Hurricane Ridge, however, we never broke through the clouds, so at the summit we didn’t see any mountain peaks; in fact, we could barely see each other. 



The parking lot at Sherrard Point.  Empty today because you can’t see anything!


That was just the beginning of the drive along Old Historic Rt. 30, a narrow and twisting highway that runs along the Columbia River.  We had no map, so we just stopped at most of the overlooks and waterfalls along the way. 

Our first stop was at the Women’s Forum Overlook.  If you look on the right side of the photo, you can see Crown Point, our next stop on the drive. 


The Columbia River Gorge: Just before Lewis & Clark reached the Pacific, they came through here



The Woelmers in front of some “Gorge-ous” scenery


Painting at the overlook




Our next stop, as promised, was Crown Point.  Here the beautiful Vista House once provided shelter or assistance to people traveling the road.  Today it has displays, a gift shop, and restrooms. 



Our first waterfall was Latourell Falls.  It was just a short walk down a mostly paved path, but it was tall and pretty with a lot of water. 








Bridal Veil Falls runs just beneath the highway, but you can only see it by walking a 2/3 mile round-trip trail up and down a hilly path.  It wasn’t as tall as the first, and it was very different. Mike liked how it didn’t have much of a free-fall and actually bounced over small rocks most of the way down. 





Wahkeena Falls gets thumbs-up from tired hikers because you can practically see it from the car.  The gorge walls are high here, and the water just seems to come from everywhere making a random path down the mountain.







Our final waterfall of the day was Multnomah.  As we parked, the nearby railroad sign told us exactly where we were.  This is a fabulous waterfall with multiple layers and a bridge dividing the view.  There is a lodge here serving food and snacks for people who just want to spend a while staring up at the water. 






Multnomah: The view from the main observation area



Multnomah: The view from the bridge


Multnomah Falls


Julia along the path to the bridge

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