July 4-6, 2011 – Columbia River Gorge Continued

July 4th we drove the Mt. Adams View Tour.  Mt. Adams is the 2nd tallest mountain in the Northwest at 12,276 ft. – only Mt. Rainier is taller.  We drove north to the town of Trout Lake, WA and got this great view of Mt. Adams.

Outside of Trout Lake we drove into the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and stopped at an ice cave.  We only went as far as the bottom of the stairs as it was very cold and dark in the cave.

This ice cave is a lava tube that has an ice floor, ice stalactites, and masses of ice throughout.  Although much seasonal melting occurs, these persist throughout the year.  This occurs because the lower eastern end of the cave acts as a trap to retain heavy cold air which has settled into the cave during the winter.  It served as the ice supply for the towns of Hood River and The Dalles during the pioneer days. 

East of Trout Lake we stopped along the Klickitat River Gorge and ate a picnic lunch.  The scenery in this area is beautiful.

The farther east we traveled the scenery changed drastically to a more arid and brown landscape.  We headed back south to the Columbia River Gorge and stopped at the Maryville Museum of Art.  Sam Hill, a famous road builder and entrepreneur, built this beautiful house on a bluff 900 ft above the Columbia River Gorge.  He donated the house for an art museum shortly before he died. 

We walked around the beautifully landscaped grounds but did not have time to go inside the museum.  This is a view of the town of Biggs, OR, across the river - Sam Hill built the bridge. 

Just down the road from the museum we stopped at the Maryville Winery and bought a couple bottles of Muscat Canelli. 

We had a very nice quiet day without a lot of crowds.  In the evening we were tired and decided not to go to the fireworks in Hood River. 
Tuesday, July 5th, we took the Mount Hood Railroad Excursion Train from Hood River to Parkdale.  This is a four hour ride following the Hood River.  We passed lots of pear, apple and cherry orchards.  We were told that 80% of the US pears are grown here. 

On the way we got many great views of 11,245 ft high Mt. Hood.

We stopped in Parkdale and found a great place for a BBQ lunch.  They also had some really good huckleberry pie.

We really enjoyed our ride and had great views from the dome car but were disappointed that they did not have an open car.  We guess we are spoiled by the open car on the Cumbres/Toltec.

Cody’s red, itchy belly is not any better so we took him to a vet in Hood River after our train ride.  She also thinks it is an allergy but was skeptical that it was caused by the crab he ate a few weeks ago.  She thinks he was just not on the heavy dose of Prednisone long enough.  She did a skin scraping to rule out a bacterial infection which came back negative.  So we started another regime of Prednisone and hope this works.
Summer has definitely arrived – it has been sunny and warm the last few days.

July 6th was another great sunny day that got to the low 90’s - a great day for a cruise on the Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler.  This is an actual working sternwheeler built in 1983.  It is powered by a diesel/electric motor but only uses the paddlewheel for propulsion. We cruised down river from Cascade Locks to Cape Horn.

Our cruise started with a great continental breakfast with scones, pastries and all kinds of fruit.  We went through the navigational locks at Bonneville Lock and Dam.  This was our first time going through a lock and it was really interesting.  We entered the lock and tied up to the side.

Then the water was dropped 50 feet to the level of the river below the dam.  The gates opened and we cruised on through - it took about 30 minutes.


Down river from the dam is a volcanic cone that Lewis & Clark named Beacon Rock.  It is now a Washington State Park and has a trail to the top.

We were able to see Multnomah Falls from the river.

About halfway through the cruise we had a great lunch buffet with chicken, pork and lots of salads.

On the way back to Cascade Locks a kite boarder followed us a while and skied in our wake.  This kite boarder was very good and even caught some air – we think he was showing off for all of us on the boat.

These are fishing platforms used by the Native Americans, who have commercial fishing rights along the river here.  They use 8 ft hoops with nets attached to catch the fish and are able to sell them along the bank.

At the end of the cruise we saw this buoy with an Osprey nest on it.  The parent Osprey flew off when we got close and we were able to see the two babies in the nest.

This was really a wonderful cruise and we would recommend it to anyone visiting the area. 

On the way back to the campground we stopped at a pull-off where over 100 wind surfers and kite boarders were on the river. It was windy which must have brought them all out.  It was a site to see so many in one area.

Another great day in the Gorge!


Popular posts from this blog

July 20-24, 2012 – Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, Utah

July 30 – August 1 , 2013 - Revelstoke, BC