Sunday, July 28, 2013

Portland, OR

We have been in the Portland area for a week now and still no sign of rain or showers at all.  We have not seen rain since June 27th.  I don't understand all the complaints about the rainy northwest (ha, ha).  We have really continued to luck out with the weather.  After my whirlwind week on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington, I took it kind of slow my first few days in Oregon.  Amazingly enough, things like laundry, vacuuming, dusting, meal planning, grocery shopping, etc. continue to be necessary.  I did venture into the city of Portland to get to a Whole Foods market. 

After a few days of resting and getting caught up, I ventured into the city to visit the International Rose Test Garden which is a beautiful garden with thousands of roses on beautifully kept grounds.  It was amazing to find this in the city and free of charge.  The roses in this garden certainly rivaled those found in the famous Butchart Gardens in Victoria, BC.  I found that the rose scent was much more pronounced here that in Butchart and it further enhanced the experience.  There was also a nice view of Mt. Hood in the background but it was just hazy enough in the morning to make it difficult to capture on film.  It was a wonderful way to spend a couple of hours .

From the Rose Garden, I was able to walk across the street to the Japanese Garden which is a tranquil and serene space set on 5 1/2 acres in the city.  It was truly amazing the feel the peace and quiet surround me.  I spent a lovely 1 1/2 hour exploring this beautiful haven.  

 This Poetry Stone in the Garden has a haiku carved in it which says "Here, miles from Japan, I stand as if warmed by the spring sunshine of home."

A beautiful view of Mt. Hood from the Japanese Gardens!

I rounded out my garden day by having a late lunch in the heart of the city from one of the many food carts in the city.  I decided on Indian food and sat in a nice shady spot in a park just across the street from the carts.  It was a perfect day!

On another note, we played a 9-hole round of golf on a beautiful, sunny 80 degree day and thoroughly enjoyed the lush golf course.  We used pull carts instead of riding in a cart and so enjoyed a little exercise as well.

We spent the day on Saturday exploring the Columbia River Gorge area.  We drove on Route 30 which is the Historic Columbia River Highway (a winding two lane road so I wouldn't call it a highway).  The Historic Highway follows the river and is surrounded by trees creating a canopy over the road which made for a beautiful drive.  Along this 30 mile or so drive are lovely scenic overlooks and 7 different waterfalls.  Each waterfall was a little different, both in flow and height.  

The first waterfall we came to was Latourell Falls which we thought was fabulous.

Next on the tour was Shepperds Dell which was a little shorter but more powerful.

I thought Bridal Veil Falls was appropriately named because of the white splash caused by the strong flow of these falls.  These falls were simply beautiful!

Wahkeena Falls came next and were quite smaller and set back quite a bit.

The most spectacular of all, were the Multnomah Falls which actually had a bridge about halfway up, across the front of the falls.  These were absolutely the most crowded of all the falls and so it was impossible to snap a picture without lots of people being included.  These falls are 620 feet tall and the tallest waterfall in the state of Oregon.  These falls were truly stunning!

We stopped at Oneonta Gorge which required a hike to view the falls and we decided to skip the hike on this one.  We had already done short hikes to a few others and Newman was ready for a break.

The last of the falls was Horsetail Falls.  (I'd love to know how they came up with these names since I found them quite amusing).

We rounded out our day with a stop at the Bonneville Dam and the Bonneville Fish Hatchery.

It was another fabulous day of exploring the area and immersing ourselves in nature even with the crowds of people.


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