Columbia River Gorge in the Winter
For Frozen Waterfalls in the Gorge, click here
We decided to spend the afternoon at the Columbia River Gorge.
We had had rain for a month, from mid-December to mid-January,
so we figured the falls would really be spouting.
First, some unnamed seasonal waterfalls.
We were right. There were waterfalls all over the place.
We took the Columbia River Highway, also called the Historic Highway.
This waterfall is a pretty much seasonal waterfall under Crown Point,
unnamed, as nearly as I can determine.
We passed many falls I had never seen before.
Winter weather in the Gorge can be pretty unpleasant,
so we don't go out there much, but this time we
decided to venture out, even though we might get soaked.
We can see it will be worth it.
It's not even raining at the moment. About 45 degrees (F). Bit windy, but not too bad.
This is the bridge high over Latourell Creek, from which you can see Latourell Falls.
Another view of the bridge; Latourell bridge is one of the original bridges
on the Columbia River Highway. Nearly one-hundred years old, the highway was completed in 1915.
The yellow area on the cliff is lichen. Makes Latourell Falls easy to identify.
We walked a little way up the trail to a viewpoint.
A farmer, named Latourell, owned a boat dock on the river below the falls.
He thought it would be a lucrative tourist attraction if he offered tours to the falls.
To enhance their beauty, he brought in a fire truck and hosed down a part of the canyon wall
so the falls could be seen better. The dirt washed down the creek and silted up his boat dock,
so the whole venture was a bust. The area where the yellow lichen grows is where he hosed away
part of the canyon wall.
You can walk clear down to the base of the falls,
but we didn't want to get soaking wet,
so we stayed up by the bridge.
However, a week later my son and I went back to the Gorge,
and walked down to the base of Latourell.
Wet, wild, windy, wonderful, and worth it.
What can I say.
My guidebook says you can see Mist Falls from the Historic Highway
right about along here, so this must be it.
The best viewpoint is from the west end of the I-84 Multnomah Falls parking lot.
There's an easy walk up to a footbridge across the creek, which offers
a spectacular view, but it was raining and we didn't feel like walking up there.
It's about a third of the way up the picture.
Wahkeenah (which can be spelled with or without the final “h”) has at least two distinguishing features:
the main falls is fan-shaped and there is a series
of cascades above and below it.
First glimpse of Multnomah Falls from the I-84 parking lot.
Lotta watta flowing over that precipice.
I love these old Columbia Highway bridges. There are a lot of them left,
and they aren't all the same -- there are several different designs.
They are all close to one hundred years old now.
The weather isn't horrible today -- it's cold and rainy, but not enough to
discourage people from viewing the falls after this month-long rainy spell.
On hot summer days the plaza is full of people.
I'm just going to show you the pics I took, mostly without comment.
At the moment I can't think of anything to say.
Just drink in the beauty.
Close-up of the falls, taken from a little ways up from the footbridge.
If you look closely you can see that the splash pool of the main falls is clear full,
and then some. Ordinarily you cannot see the water in the pool from this point,
but there is so much water coming down the pool is filled above the rim.
I like these mossy trees. There are lots of them roundabout.
The Man! (Photo by Gareth Mark)
From the trail about half-way to the footbridge, I looked out toward the river,
and this is what I saw. I had never noticed this scene before. Sure is pretty.
Even after a dry spell, Oneonta Gorge is difficult to walk into.
I think you always have to walk part-way through water.
But after this long rainy spell, it's impossible to enter.
I've never been very far into Oneonta Gorge, but I've heard it's a wonderland in there,
once you get past the narrow part, with many plants you never see anywhere else.
And the falls is one of the most spectacular in the whole Columbia River Gorge.
The “new” bridge replaced the old bridge many years ago; the old one is now a footbridge.
If you look at a spot a little to the left and below the center of the picture,
you see a light-colored sort-of-a-triangle. That's the narrow passageway
into the main part of Oneonta Gorge.
The Columbia River Gorge cuts through a series of lava flows of different geologic epochs,
plus it has been shaped by the Missoula Floods and the Bonneville Flood.
It has a geologically violent history.
Mosses and lichens and ferns — oh, yes — all kinds of plants and trees
grow on the Oregon side; the Washington side, being dryer, is not as diverse.
Columbia River Gorge Scenes
These next few pictures are just scenes in the Gorge.
Horsetail Falls is my favorite, because it is so easy to get to. It's right on the highway.
That water is really shooting out there. Wow.
Tad's Chic Dump
We ended our afternoon at the Gorge by having chicken 'n dumplin's at Tad's,
our favorite place to eat in the area. I like their chicken 'n dumplin's best,
but my friend prefers their fried chicken. Their halibut fish and chips is/are good, too.
See my other GORGE
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All photos on this page ©Copyright 2006 by Donald L. Mark
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