After a few rainy days of exploring Portland and discovering its weirdness, it was time for an epic Oregon adventure. I had read about their magnificent waterfalls, fairylands tucked into deep thick forests, and amazing coastline and beaches. The opposite could be found in Bend, located in the high desert to the east. Ski resorts like Mount Bachelor and Timberline with its historic lodge were places I definitely wanted to check out.
Multnomah Falls is less than an hour to the north of Portland. It took my breath away. Located above the gorge dividing Oregon and the state of Washington, I could see the massive waterfall from the highway before we parked.
As I approached the viewing area, I felt transported into a Tolkien novel with its fantastical bridge and lush surroundings. Mist fell all around us. I half-expected a cloaked man with a crooked staff, long hair, and beard to tap me on my shoulder so he could have a turn enjoying nature’s show.
Latourell Falls is even closer to Portland at about thirty minutes from downtown. The photos I took at the bottom of the falls were so full of mist, refracted, and distorted, I couldn’t use them. We hiked to the top too.
Check out the man at the bottom for scale. It was another monster waterfall.
Fairylands abounded. I could understand why Stephanie Meyer set the Twilight series in the Pacific Northwest. I could almost see vampires shimmering in the foliage. “Look, look! Oh, it’s gone.”
To escape a few days of rain, we drove to Bend, which was about three hours away, and checked into a McMenamins. Like I mentioned in my What Makes Portland Weird post, these enterprises are so fantastic, I can’t believe no one has copied these inventive brothers.
St. Francis McMenamins had been a Catholic school. They kept some of the original buildings and built a restaurant, two bars, game room, a Turkish bath and a theater complete with loveseats and waiters.
Danny and I watched Jumanji while waiters served dinner. Wow!
The bath house has an open skylight. I had worried about how cold it would be but the water was super warm. Check out the mosaic scenes of St. Francis. McMenamins is known for incorporating artwork in its architecture. Our room was completely paneled in wood and decked out in rustic furniture. The border in the bath was hand-painted.
Coming from Colorado I was fascinated by the mountains in Oregon formed by volcanoes. How cool is that? You can literally ski around the circumference of Mt. Bachelor.
On our way back to Portland we saw several of these chimney-like mountains and then drove to Timberline Ski Resort where several happy skiers strode to their vehicles with grins on their faces after a great day of skiing a foot of new snow, or what Danny calls, Sierra cement.
Timberline Lodge is located at the resort on the south side of Mt. Hood. It was the face of the hotel in The Shining. I’m all about that after my night at the Stanley Hotel, which also inspired Stephen King. Not my night, but his night, well you know what I mean. Anyway, this lodge was completely different.
Four stories tall and 40,000 square feet, this almost all hand-hewn structure was built during The Great Depression as part of the WPA which put men back to work.
A six-sided, almost one hundred foot tall fireplace stands in the center of the hexagonal building. It was too massive to get in one shot.
Danny and I shared a plate of charcuterie; cheese, bread, jams, and nuts while enjoying the view. It’s reminiscent of The Shining don’t you think?
Later that week, we made a loop from Portland to the Oregon coast starting in Cannon Beach. A one-hour drive. Its beauty speaks for itself. This is a view from Ecola State Park right outside of town.
From there we drove to Seaside and ran along the beach. It was a brisk day, but it’s always great to see the Pacific when normally landlocked in Colorado.
Then we drove on to Astoria and checked out the Astoria Column. It was painted with Oregon’s history. While walking inside all the way to the top of the one hundred twenty-five foot spire, I got dizzier than usual.
The top of the hill provided a great view of the Astoria-Meglar Bridge spanning the Columbia River. It’s the longest truss bridge in North America. I just looked that up.
From lush forests to the high desert, amazing waterfalls, and snowy mountains, we really enjoyed our trip to Oregon.
Have you traveled to Oregon? Are you into hiking? Any vacation plans this summer?