I've been feeling really stifled and claustrophobic lately. It makes me feel uninspired in creating blog posts, as well as frustrated, moody, and depressed. The thing about blogging is, there is never any real break or vacation unless you make one. And even then, I am constantly taking photos and writing down information for when I do blog about it. I love sharing things with all of you via the blog, so I don't want to stop anytime soon. But I've let a lot of the behind-the-scenes frustrations of it get in my head. I was in desperate need of a breather.
On a Saturday a few weeks ago, when we were free of gatherings and responsibilities, Sean and I set out on a little day adventure to clear our heads. We are fortunate enough to live in a gloriously beautiful part of the country. I love being able to get out and view the mountains, trees, and river. We've driven down the Columbia River Scenic Highway many times, but it never gets old. The location of our wedding, McMenamins Edgefield in Troutdale, is near the start of the scenic byway. Waterfalls, scenic viewpoints, and hiking trails can be found along this stretch of road.
We decided to drive along the Columbia River to Hood River, Oregon for the day, taking in the beautiful views and relaxing along the way. The weather was a bit warm at the start, but we enjoyed every minute of it. For your viewing pleasure (and in case you want to take a little trip yourselves), I present a photo diary of our trip. Enjoy!
This was Finn's first road trip and the longest time we have had him in the car. He didn't do too well inside the car, but he was an excellent boy outside of it. He never barked or growled or freaked out around people and other dogs, though a loud motorcycle scared him. A giant Mastiff came close by our picnic blanket and Finn didn't bat an eyelash. He simply laid on the blanket and people watched with us. Hopefully, we can get him more used to car rides so he isn't super stressed about it in the future.
Our first stop was Vista House at Crown Point. "Vista House was built between 1916 and 1918 by Multnomah County as a comfort station and scenic wayside for those traveling the Historic Columbia River Highway." It is also a memorial to Oregon pioneers. The view from Vista House is gorgeous, but on the weekend, and during great weather, expect a ton of people milling about. The crotchety old lady in me would also like to point out that most of these people have no manners and no common sense. They will walk in front of your car as if there is no sidewalk and dawdle like there is no one else in the world but them. So be prepared to deal with stupidity in these people-heavy locations. Say "Serenity Now!" and enjoy the view. That's what I did.
I would also recommend stopping by the Portland Women's Forum State Scenic Viewpoint a little before Vista House to get some pretty pictures of Vista House sitting above the river.
As mentioned, there are many beautiful waterfalls to check out along the way. Multnomah Falls is the most visited natural attraction in Oregon with over 2 million people stopping by each year. If the weather is fantastic, this is another one of those people-heavy locations. On the day we went, the parking lot was full and people were parking at various points along the road to walk back to the falls. Now, we've seen it and hiked some of the way up for our engagement photos, so it wasn't our main point of interest. If you decide to visit, there is also the Multnomah Falls Historic Lodge with a restaurant, bar, and snack bar, as well as hiking trails.
FLASHBACK to 2006:
We bypassed the massive crowd and stopped by Latourell Falls instead. There is a small parking lot and a steep but small climb up a paved path to a viewing area. There is a hiking trail that goes down past the base of the falls that I really, really want to trek down to, but we didn't have a lot of extra time during our day trip. Sean and I are already planning a couple little hiking days while the weather is still decent.
We decided to stop at Bridal Veil Falls also. There is a parking lot and access to two different trails - one to the falls and one to viewpoints. Both trails are pretty short, but there were lots of people headed to the falls and it was pretty hot. We were kind of cranky and worried about dealing with Finn, who was stressing out a lot at that point, so we chose the shorter trail that takes you to a few viewpoints. This particular trail was paved well all along the loop, so we meandered leisurely and took lots of photos.
From there, we set off to Hood River. The town is known as the "windsurfing capital of the world", so it was no surprise that windsurfers and kiteboarders were out in abundance. We headed down to the waterfront to watch. Sean and I laid out our picnic blanket, pulled out the cheese and crackers we brought along, and snacked as we people-watched. The weather was amazing in Hood River, with a great breeze. Finn laid down between us and watched people and a cute little pug behind us. We relaxed there for a bit before packing up and heading back home.
On our way home, we decided it would be awesome to make it back to Vista House for the sunset. So did everyone else apparently. There was even a large wedding party posing for photos. Still, we found a parking space and walked down to a lower sidewalk away from all the people. It was a lovely end to a day full of nature's beauty.
A few extra photos of my darling baby boy:
Have you traveled this scenic highway before? Do you have any recommendations for other local areas we should visit, trails we should hike, things we should do? Do you like to get out in nature in your neck of the woods?