When in doubt, travel.
Yesterday was a gorgeous day in the Pacific Northwest--clear, sunny, 60s. The East Coast just got socked with another snowstorm, but spring has sprung here and I didn't want to let such a beautiful day go to waste. I considered the nearby national parks, but they all involve mountains--mountains with significant snow still, with closed roads and chain laws in effect.
So I decided to save those for next month, and instead we went to the Columbia River Gorge just outside Portland, OR.
You may remember that when we drove through there in January, it was too fogbound to see anything. Yesterday was the perfect day for revisiting. We saw two waterfalls (Bridal Veil and Multnomah Falls) nestled among moss-covered forests straight out of a Tolkien illustration; we saw the river itself, winding among cliffs and mountains (very similar geography to Big Sur); and we took a detour to drive around Mt. Hood.
Mt. Hood was completely snow-covered (it's the only place in the lower 48 that offers year-round skiing), so seeing it rise up out of green fields was a little disconcerting. In the span of twenty minutes, we went from blooming fruit orchards in sixty-degree weather at the base of the mountain, to a snow flurry, thirty-degree temps, and icy road warnings about halfway up.
Then we drove back down, stopped in at a couple of Portland liquor stores (to avoid that 35% Washington state tax on booze), and headed home.
I didn't get any good pictures of Mt. Hood, but here are some of the falls and the Gorge:
|Bridal Veil Falls|