Sunday, February 5, 2012

Columbia Gorge-ous Winter Afternoon

I took a quick trip out to the Columbia Gorge on the last weekend in January, to see the falls in their full winter glory (must be all that pluviosity - lots of rain the week before), and to celebrate my mom's birthday.  She chose the destination, and I thought it sounded great.

Multnomah Falls

It was a cold but beautiful, sunny afternoon.  (The north-facing Oregon side of the Gorge doesn't allow much of the winter sun to hit the ground, but still...)

Here's a quick post to share a few pictures.

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Multnomah Falls
There was a lot of water coming over the cliff at Multnomah Falls!  There was even a "bonus fall"off to the right a little bit.

Multnomah Falls
As we drove along the Historic Columbia River Highway to visit some of the other falls, we saw several sort of impromptu falls - streaming down in places that are normally dry.

Most rock surfaces were alive and green because everywhere you looked there was moss...


and more moss!

I love this last moss here.  It's tiny leaves almost look like one of Oregon's native succulents.

 The next fall we stopped at was Wahkeena Falls.  The name Wahkeena comes from a Native American phrase meaning "most beautiful", and I tend to agree.  The way this fall comes from both sides at the top, then twists and tumbles its way down into the gorge is incredibly beautiful.

Wahkeena Falls
 Next up was Latourell Falls.  This is another straight drop, more similar to Multnomah Falls, but it's even more free-hanging than Multnomah.  The water absolutely thunders as it hits the rocks at the bottom, unimpeded by the cliff face. 

Latourell Falls
View East from Crown Point

We came to Crown Point and Vista House as the light was turning orange.

A final look back at Vista House overlooking the Columbia Gorge, taken from the Women's Forum viewpoint.

An excellent day enjoying some of the beautiful scenery very close to Portland.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

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