We started pretty early today and drove all the way to Columbia Gorge to see a couple of amazing waterfalls. There was a lot of traffic and parking spots were pretty hard to find, but we were lucky every once in a while, especially next to the most beautiful waterfalls. The first waterfall we saw was the Multnomah Falls, where we hiked all the way to the bridge. I wanted to hike more, but daddy was already tired from carrying me all the way. Here are a few pictures:
After this exhausting hike, we had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (generously provided by Roslyn) for lunch. Then we moved on to our next objective: Latourell Falls, where we stood so close to the waterfall that we got wet. On our way to Portland we stopped at the Vista House for a few pictures of the Columbia Gorge.
Daddy took me to Sacajawea State Park this morning to learn something about the native tribes that used to inhabit these land before the arrival of the white man. I visited a few tents, admired lots and lots of beads, beat some drums, touched some fur and took a short tour of a bus / museum. We also witnessed two canoes bringing Lewis and Clark to the shore with their Corps of Discovery. I added gun shots to the list of things I am afraid of along with baloons, thunder, and fireworks.
Daddy was fascinated by the idea of starting fires and took a bunch of pictures of this guy who demonstrated the procedure. Here are the most important steps:
Today I noticed a change in my daily routine: instead of going to bed after lunch, my parents buckled me in the car seat. I took my nap while they were driving and I woke up only after we made it to the Palouse Falls. We stared at the falls from the view point only for a few minutes, then we started hiking. We went all the way to the left until we could not see the falls anymore. The only significant elevation change during our hike happened at the train tracks: we hiked down into the canyon close to the same level as the water at the top of the falls. It didn’t take long before we reached a big stone, where we rested. There is a trail going down to the base of the falls, but that was outside the scope of this trip. Here are some pictures of us during the hike:
Remember the big stone where we rested in pictures above? Try to find it in the pictures of the waterfall below:
Every year Battelle Staff Association organizes a trip to the Christmas Lighting Festival in Leavenworth. The trip is a little overpriced: driving is cheaper and offers increased flexibility. This is why on this particular Saturday morning we were driving to Wenatchee instead of sitting in a bus heading to Leavenworth. Wenatchee is quite a big city (compared to Richland) and it has at least one European-looking street, where you don’t need a car to go from one building to the next one. After lunch at a chic cafe (Caffè Mela), we left the city to get closer to the nature. In less than an hour we were taking pictures of Lake Chelan.
We made it to Leavenworth about an hour before the Christmas Lighting Festival. The Front Street was extremely crowded and every single store was full of people. Lots them were waiting patiently in long lines to buy things they would never use. When the time came to light up the Christmas lights, some city authority was coordinating the hostilities from a gazebo. Two people carrying big crosses started walking toward the gazebo and the trees were litting up as they were passing by. Another trick was used to light up the buildings: the crowd had to yell something three times in a row. The city looked really pretty lit up in the night, especially after the tour buses started to leave, taking with them a good part of the crowd. Staying longer to enjoy the view was another advantage of driving to Leavenworth.
The day started with a pathetic Azalea Lodge breakfast and an one-hour drive back to Bandon. The highlight was, of course, the Face Rock, which was initially somewhat difficult to spot in the ocean. Even if we had time for a walk on the beach, the cold weather and strong winds would have made it less than pleasant. This was the most spectacular area of the beach in Bandon, even though there are several others worth seeing along the Beach Loop Road. Another place that invites visitors to walk on the beach is Port Oxford. We only stopped at the Battle Rock then moved on.
There were so many other beautiful places along the South Coast, that I decided to declare it “the most scenic stretch along the Oregon Coast”. The Samuel H. Boardman State Park is especially interesting with named rocks like Arch Rock or Whale Rock. Unfortunately the fog caught up with us and we couldn’t see the others. On our way south, Brookings was also covered in a thick fog; we finally got rid of it only when the road took us inland. The road home took us through tall redwoods and the Smith River Canyon before hitting Highway 5.
A disappointingly foggy and cold morning seemed to anticipate a repeat of the previous day… except for the breakfast, which was a joke compared to the one we had the day before. With unobtrusive optimism, we drove from Florence back to Newport and parked in the Yaquina Bay Bridge Park. It didn’t take long until the weather spirits felt bad for us and started to dissipate the fog.
At the Seal Rocks State Wayside we admired the large rocks dispersed into the ocean and smelled the poop produced in apparently significant quantities by the marine life. The next short stop was at Cape Perpetua, which offered an impressive view of the coast. After lunch at the Carl G. Washburne Park, we walked on the beach observing the different patterns produced on the sand by water and wind. We found the Hobbit Trail and felt like hobbits while hiking through the woods. The hobbit feeling disapeared soon, leaving us with an Olympic National Park deja vu. It was too late to hike to the Haceta Lighthouse; nonetheless, we saw it from an observation area further south.
The last buggy ride on the sand dunes was gone by the time we made it back to Florence. So we settled for the next best thing: hiking part of the John Dellenback Dunes Trail. Walking in the sand was tough, but the views were rewarding. With a little bit more than one hour left until the sunset, we drove to Sunset Bay State Park and observed the sun going to bed from Cape Aragua. The moon light cuddling the large rocks in the ocean was very distracting while driving in the night. In hindsight, we should have booked a hotel in Bandon; unfortunately we had to drive all the way down to Gold Beach.
To wake up as close to the coast as possible, we spent the night in Vancouver, WA. The hotel was just another place to spend the night, but they gave us a very nice suite, which raised our standards and put to shame the accommodations we booked along the coast (have I mentioned that they also served a very good breakfast?).
Our first target was Astoria, where we wanted to see the column. Going up to the observation deck was not an option because they started some maintenance work. The weather was not very good anyway especially because the fog was seriously limiting the view. While driving back to the docks, the steep slope of the streets (unfortunately not much else) reminded us of San Francisco. Seaside was very lively/crowded and finding parking was close to impossible. I am not sure if the vintage car show was the main or only one of the reasons. Even though I didn’t find anything particularly interesting, Lida enjoyed the short time we spent there.
The highlight of our day was the Ecola State Park, where we had lunch on the hill overlooking Cannon Beach. Despite the fog that kept coming and going, we caught a few extraordinary views of Haystack Rock and Indian Beach. They restricted the access to Indian Beach because the parking lot was apparently full; new visitors were allowed to drive down only when others would leave. The line was long enough to inflict significant delays in our schedule, so we moved on to Cannon Beach. The beach was soaked in a fog that killed our hope to see the Haystack Rock with a beautiful blue sky in the background.
The fog became our permanent beach companion; strangely enough, there was no trace of it just a little bit inland. We heard that Lincoln City was a popular destination on the Oregon Coast, but we couldn’t figure out why. Depoe Bay was too foggy to convince us of its (self-proclaimed?) status of whale watching capital of the Oregon Coast. Despite all the fog, it was clear that the Yachats area was simply beautiful – this is one of the best places to spent the night and explore in the morning. Our plan was far from optimum, though: we booked our next hotel in Florence.