Thursday, September 29, 2016

Columbia River Gorge Waterfall Hikes–Part 1…

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We moved only 20 miles from Viento State Park to what we hoped to be a somewhat quieter park for a couple of nights at Ainsworth State Park.It has indeed been much quieter than our two day stay at Viento State Park where a very close road crossing had trains often rumbling through with horns blaring.Trains run near this park as well but not anywhere near as loudly as in Viento.…

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Our main goal for staying at this park was to revisit many of the beautiful waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge. The first day we focused on the part of the road going east on the old Columbia River Historic Scenic Highway. Our first stop was at the John B Yeon State Park to visit Elowah Falls. As we made our way near the cutoff trail to the falls I noticed a sign for another falls hike to McCord Creek Falls, further up the slope.

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So straight up the hill we went and in about half a mile we came to McCord Creek Falls, and it is one we haven’t been to before. What a beautiful cascading falls and we were so glad we made the turn on the trail to this one…..what a beauty. After enjoying the spectacle for awhile we headed back down and took the turn to the Elowah Falls. This one is more of what I  would describe as a ponytail falls (long narrow waterfall). It is beautiful too but we really enjoyed the one nearer the top of the slope more than this one.

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With it getting late we headed back home for dinner and to plan for the next day of waterfall hikes….  

NOTE: We are currently in Portland Oregon where at the Columbia River RV Park where we will leave on Tuesday, October 4th.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Driving the Fruit Loop and Hood River, Oregon…

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We left Washington fairly early since we were driving around 130 miles to Viento State Park where we planned to grab a walk in site for a 2 night stay. This 130 mile drive was no ordinary drive as it traversed through the awe inspiring Columbia River Gorge. Prior to choosing Viento we read the not so kind reviews of this state park about loud train noise but we are not usually bothered by noise too much with our double paned windows so we decided to give it a try anyway.  However the negative reviews were spot on because the tracks are actually within the park and the trains along with their horns are very active!

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Not to be deterred from our not so perfect sleeping conditions we decided a drive on the Fruit Loop outside of of Hood River Oregon was the thing to do. With near perfect weather and clear skies we chose to enjoy a self-guided tour along this scenic 35-mile loop in the Hood River Valley. This area is the nation's largest pear-growing region but has plenty of other fruit bearing trees to see.

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The orchards as well as the fruit stands are a treat to visit and most allow sampling of the fruits. We love sampling all the varieties of apples, pears and plums since there are so many different ones. Many of the varieties we have never seen in a store and some were quite tasty  so we will keep a lookout for them in the grocery stores.

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The drive also was magnificent in that we had many views of two of the huge mountains in this area. Mount Hood can be seen to the south and Mount Adams in Washington can be seen to the north. These beautiful snow capped peaks were perfectly visible on the clear and sunny day providing quite a treat for the eyes.

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After the drive we found a nice hike called the Indian Creek Trail in Hood River. Better yet there were still some blackberries available for the picking even though it appeared many of them had already been nipped by a recent freeze in the area. Still we were able to pick enough for a nice cobbler, crisp or for snacking.

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While we were near Hood River for two days we also enjoyed walking around the quaint town and visited a couple of its breweries. While the fresh hop beers at Big Horse Brewpub were delightful the fresh hops beers at Double Mountain Brewery were a bit better. Big Horse does however provide great views into the Columbia River Gorge. We certainly wouldn’t hesitate to return to either one…

Note: We are moving today from Ainsworth State Park where we stayed two nights and moving over to Portland Oregon where we will stay a week at Columbia River RV Park.