.All Trips / North America / Oregon / Pacific Northwest / Washington

The Amazing Columbia River Gorge!

Columbia River 3-2006 020  Oneonta Gorge  Beacon Rock in distance.

One of the most scenic road trips anywhere in the world is on the Oregon side of the Gorge, on the Columbia River Highway (I-84), between Portland and the Dalles.  Besides a smooth drive on the freeway, an excellent diversion here is to head up the old Historic Columbia River Highway, a narrow road that twists its way through the mountains and cliffs, past dozens of waterfalls, including the beautiful 620-foot (190 m)  Multnomah Falls.

The Columbia River is one of North America’s longest, at 1200 miles (1930 km) long, starting in southeastern British Columbia, Canada.  The Columbia River Gorge was carved by glacial floods (especially the Missoula Flood) thousands of years ago and is the only sea-level passage through the Cascade Mountain range.  …

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“Pic of the Week”, August 29, 2014: Vista House and the Columbia River Gorge

03 Columbia River 3-2006 057 Vista House

One of the most dramatic road trips one can make in the United States is through the Columbia River Gorge.  The Columbia River, the mightest river in the American West, originates in British Columbia but near its entry to the Pacific serves as a dividing line between Washington and Oregon State.  This historic river route was traveled by the Lewis and Clark expedition over 200 years ago.  The drive along the Gorge just to the east of Portland is breathtaking!

A favorite stopping point along the way on the Oregon side is Vista House, constructed on the Crown Point Promontory.  Once called “Thor’s Heights,” Crown Point is a basalt rock formation created by volcanic lava and sculpted by the elements.   …

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“Pic of the Week”, July 4, 2014: Multnomah Falls, Oregon

Columbia River 3-2006 055

One of the great drives in America is through the Columbia River Gorge west of Portland.  There are lush green mountains, steep cliffs and numerous (77) waterfalls to enjoy.   Of these many waterfalls, Multnomah Falls is the grandest of the them all.

Multnomah Falls drops 620 ft (189 m) in two steps, and is a popular destination.  Only three waterfalls in the USA are higher, and none are in a more lovely setting.  A trail from Multnomah Falls Lodge takes you across the arched Simon Benson Bridge (1914) over the shorter lower cascade, then the trail switchbacks up towards the top of the upper cascade.

It’s a beautiful, misty place.  Hard to keep the lens dry but that didn’t stop me from …

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“Pic of the Week”, August 2, 2013. Japanese Garden, Portland

2013-031-August 2

One of the finest Japanese Gardens in North America — perhaps the best anywhere outside Japan — is found in Portland, Oregon, in the hills near downtown.  Covering five and a half acres of Washington Park, it’s a setting of calm and tranquility, as all Japanese gardens are.

I’m always been inspired by the asymmetric balance and harmony of these gardens.  The methodical selection, placement and pruning of trees and bushes, the blending of colors, the judicious use of water and stone make me want to do better in my own yard (though somehow I always fail with this).  It’s a great place to go for a slow relaxing walk.  The garden is open throughout the year and its character changes with the …

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.All Trips / North America / Oregon / Pacific Northwest

Portland, Oregon — The Cozy City of Roses

Portland 2013-001 intro.  Mt. Hood and city view

I can enjoy a visit to a large city as much as anyone — seeing the Eiffel Tower, Sistine Chapel, Buckingham Palace or Statue of Liberty are as exciting and fun for me as for any traveler.  But overall I’m more relaxed and comfortable, and derive greater pleasure from visiting smaller cities and towns than I do a huge metropolis.   Such places are easier to get around in and lend themselves well to exploration on foot.  They often have quality attractions not as well known or as busy as those in larger cities.

Downtown Portland and Willamette River

Such — sort of anyway — is the case of Portland, on the lush green banks of the Willamette River where it joins the mighty Columbia River …

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.All Trips / North America / Oregon / Pacific Northwest

Weekend escape to Portland!

Weekend escape to Portland!

Portland, Oregon, is one of our favorite destinations for a weekend getaway.  It is not a large city, but big enough for our tastes and is beautiful and vibrant.

Portland has a highly functional Metro, and its easy and cheap (just over $2) to get into the heart of the city directly from PDX airport.  The airport is modern and very functional, and highlights Oregon’s fine restaurants and shops; if you have to linger here for a few hours you can easily spend the time windowshopping or enjoying a coffee and pastry.

There are a great assortment of accomodations in the city, including a variety of quaint older hotels.  In Portland we generally stay at the downtown Marriott, which we prefer because of its central location, access to the …

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.All Trips / North America / Oregon / Pacific Northwest

Crater Lake — The Most Beautiful In The World?

Crater Lake — The Most Beautiful In The World

The phrase “most beautiful in the world” is batted about with relative ease.  I’ve heard it used to describe dogs, cats, flowers, homely children and assorted celebrities.  Always it denotes something special to the observer but sadly only to that observer.  When referring to Crater Lake, however, the phrase “most beautiful lake in the world” may indeed be accurate.  It is a striking deep blue lake  — “The Jewel of the Cascades” — placed in an improbable location, near the top of an volcanic crater.

Crater Lake National Park is located in South Central Oregon.  Some might say it’s in the middle of nowhere but I found the drive along the Rogue River to the park to be beautiful.  The park is fairly …

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