Columbia River Gorge
It was wonderful to spend more time in the gorge. The wildflowers were beautiful, the orchards were blooming, and of course the beer was delicious. Old ranches, unique wineries, ice caves and low snowlines were among some of the other interesting things encountered.
As per usual, there was another low moving through the morning I left Bend which made for some nice clouds and light rain driving north. Once I hit the Mount Hood area though, it turned to an all-out blizzard. I had considered stopping and snowshoeing into Trillium Lake, but wanted to get to the Hood River Valley to see the blooms instead and not knowing the expected amount of visitors for the first sunny weekend in awhile – procure a campsite for a few days. Kimberly was flying in that evening to join me for the weekend. An unfortunate flight delay changed our plans of hitting Cascade as the first stop, but instead we crashed at a PDX hostel, swung by Pip’s Doughnuts for some tasty breakfast and superb chai, then off to camp to drop things off and check out Dalles Mountain Ranch. The flowers were awesome and we even had a (hazy) view of Hood. We picked up a copy of Curious Gorge for excellent reference material (Kimberly used NZ Frenzy on a previous trip and enjoyed it), but unfortunately a number of the places we initially chose in Washington were unreachable due to the low snow levels around Mount Adams. However Panther Creek Falls and Trout Lake Ice Cave were both terrific. An obligatory stop at Cascade plus dinner-to-go at Pok Pok while en-route to PDX to drop her off finished up the visit.
Back to exploring on my own! There were some wonderful clouds one morning as a layer was breaking up in the sun, so I headed back to Dalles Mountain Ranch and got some shots of the rusted car and ranch with big puffy clouds looming overhead. On that note, I wanted to mention that although it was my first visit to this special place, I’ve seen photos for years now. The flower blooms surrounding the car look quite degraded compared to previous years, a thought a local photographer has unfortunately confirmed. It’s great to capture nice shots, but not at the expense of ruining a place for everyone else.
Being on my own didn’t last long either, as a fellow Escayper was coming out for a short visit. We swung by Panther Creek (I wanted to find an easier way to get down to the base of the falls rather then climbing down on slippery rocks), Wahkeena and Upper Latourell falls over 2 days. I had also decided to “quickly” shoot at Rowena Crest one morning right after sunrise and while wandering along a trail, I had done most of McCall Point before I realized it. A bit more then I intended before breakfast and coffee! My buddy and I also shared dinner one night and since he was interested in some local breweries I introduced him to a favorite one I found: pFriem. Another excellent lineup up sours, blondes and the like.
Now back home for a few days. From here, uncertain. I’d like to go back to the PNW to visit a few more areas. But I also am considering meeting up with my friend Sarah in Utah. Glacier NP and Banff are on the agenda for June, but May is up in the air. We’ll see what happens!