A week in Oregon: Columbia River Gorge
On our way down to Bend, we decided to stop by the Columbia River Gorge, which was pretty much recommended by everyone and their moms. The gorge, which we saw in almost its entirety at a viewpoint at the Vista House, is breathtaking, as are the waterfalls that line the surrounding area. Naturally, it's become a very popular destination!
Thanks to a wonderful suggestion from our Airbnb host, we got off Highway 84 at Troutdale and took the Old Highway to Multnomah Falls, which offered a more scenic route in the trees. We stopped at a few waterfalls along our drive, most of which required no more than a half-mile walk to access and gave us plenty of opportunities to practice using the selfie stick.
We continued driving, and knew we were close to Multnomah Falls due to the increased number of cars and tour buses. It was well worth our parking hassles, however; the waterfall was way taller, more majestic, and more picturesque than I expected. (Granted, I didn't look up any pictures of it before we got there - perhaps I should refrain from over-searching more often!)
After walking up to the bridge at Multnomah Falls, we ended up finding a great lake where we swam and sunbathed - it was surprisingly quiet, and refreshing to be away from all of the tourists. It was the kind of lake that epitomizes summer - surrounded by shade-giving trees and just murky enough to be natural but not gross.
We grabbed dinner in Troutdale, a quaint, retro-feeling town nearby, and then let our food digest while we swam in the Sandy River. We bought floaties from Walmart, which we used to ride down a 50-foot portion of the river that had some excitable currents - not intense enough to warrant a legitimate raft, but just rapid enough to give us a entertaining fright as we sped down them.
Realizing the time, we finally got back on the road to catch Mount Hood at sunset and make it to Bend before midnight, where we were welcomed with open arms, cold beers, and cozy beds by Liza's friend, Ryan, who became our tour guide for the next four days!