Unkle Sean Manchanda wanted to get up to the Pacific Northwest for a weekend to escape the desert heat of Las Vegas, see some natural beauty, and visit with the boys and me. He suggested Hood River, Oregon, as he has never visited, and I agreed that there would be a lot to see and do, as well as a potentially great drive down from Seattle following the Columbia River. Rhone was still in California, so Carter invited his good friend Jacob to join.
We took off on my Ranger Rover and Carter in the M5 – Road rally taking I90 over the pass, then 97 at Ellensburg, down to Maryhill on the Columbia. We made good time ripping on the highway and more so on the backroads, passing many motorists along the way. We wanted to visit Stonehenge in Maryhill as it is an interesting moment dedicated to the soldiers who lost their lives in WWI.
The monument, vistas of the gorge, and golden hills made for a magical setting.
We next opted to visit Maryhill Winery to taste some wines and get something to eat. It’s located on the hill overlooking the river. A stunning setting.
We continued, crossing the river into Oregon and zooming along I84 past The Dalles, and finally made our way into Hood River and our stay at the historic Columbia Gorge Hotel. Dinner would be at Pfreim Brewery, one of our favorites.
The next day began with brunch at the Egg River Cafe, a great spot I found two years ago after summiting Mount Adams. It’s a charming place with great food.
After brunch, we drove down to the Historic Columbia River Highway 30. Along this stretch of highway is the impressive Columbia Gorge and the highway, which was carved into the hillside with many viaducts and tunnels. This road is commonly known as the waterfall corridor due to the many waterfalls running down the Multnomah Basin. This was the first scenic highway in the US and was modeled after Switzerland’s Axenstrasse.
This is a view up the Oneonta Gorge, now closed from the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire, which burned nearly 50% of this part of the Gorge. Over 50,000 acres were burned, and it took three months to contain the burn, which smoldered into 2018.
Several falls sadly are no longer accessible, including Oneonta Falls, Middle Oneonta Falls, Upper Oneonta Falls, and Triple Falls. I found some images of these falls and the gorge, and ill return once they reopen.
I’ve seen many photos of the famous Multnomah Falls over the years and am very excited to see them in person finally. They are simply spectacular!
We continued on our trek to Vista House at Crown Point. Built in 1917 and conceived by Samuel Lancaster, who also designed the Columbia River Highway, the Vista House was built as a rest-stop observatory for travelers on the old Columbia River Gorge Highway. I have seen Vista House on prior drives but never stopped. Glad I did this time, and super interesting to know it was part of the larger vision for the Columbia River Highway.
Latourelle Falls may be my favorite waterfall on this trip. I love how the basalt columns are formed at the back of these falls and the light green moss clinging to the rocks. The falls splash into a small pool that you can walk into and enjoy the mist or direct spray of the falls.
Our next stop was Syncline Winery, where we enjoyed a tasting on their beautiful grounds and came home with a couple of cases. On the drive to White Salmon for dinner at Henni’s, we were treated to amazing views of Mount Hood. We stopped by a few shops in White Salmon, admired local art, and enjoyed an excellent meal.
Our final day began with a stop at the Hood River Lavender Festival. The drive through Hood River en route to Mont Hood passes through many fruit orchards and wineries, and with views of both Mount Hood and Mount Adams, this is one amazingly beautiful place! Our trip would conclude with a drive to Mount Hood and the historic Timberline Lodge.
Overall it was an excellent trip once again with the Hadlands’ and Manchanda. Unkle Sean is always one for adventure. As always, thanks for #HikingWithHadland, @hikingwiththehad.