Camping, Hiking, Oregon, United States, Washington, Waterfalls

MLK Adventure Weekend

Take the chance, buy the plane tickets, wake up in strange places!

A chance “follow” on Instagram led to reconnecting with a long lost friend and proceeding to plan all the adventures. With an upcoming long weekend, I nabbed flights to Portland, Oregon on sale, tossed on the brand new mountaineering boots and stuffed clothes into a backpack, and jumped into the first adventure weekend of 2022!

Early wake up came thanks to a miniature rooster that sounded like a squeaky dog toy at the AirBnB, and we quickly packed up and headed to the Hungry Heart Bakery in Portland for breakfast before heading east through the Columbia River Gorge.

This little guy…
Breakfast and pastries at Hungry Heart Bakery
I was in love with my breakfast burrito, what can I say?!

If you’ve ever read this blog in any capacity, it becomes obvious I’m a wee bit obsessed with waterfalls. So that goes without saying the gorge was heaven to me! After a quick stop at Vista House, I was treated to Latourell Falls, Sheppard’s Dell, Bridal Veil Falls, Multnomah Falls, and Horsetail Falls (along with plenty of little ones along the way). Pretty much this was Iceland, with trees. Lots and lots of very tall, thick trees!

The Vista House sites 693 feet above the Columbia River and was opened in 1918. It was closed for construction, so we just wandered around the outside.
The Columbia River

Latourell Falls is right off the old Columbia River Highway. One word to sum it up is: BASALT! Gorgeous columnar basalt!! There is a whole 2.4 mile hike that can be done from the parking lot that goes to the upper falls, but we just visited the main fall.

An unnamed roadside waterfall I had to see!
Sheppard’s Dell
All the moss

The hike to Bridal Veil Falls is short hike of about 1 mile roundtrip, though it does involve elevation loss and gain.

Bridal Veil Falls
An elkhorn lichen

Next up was the craziness of Multnomah Falls, which actually has a reservation system in the busier months (over 2 million people visit every year!). Is it work the hype? Yes! But it did cause some headaches trying to park three vehicles, so we drove on further down the road, parked, rearranged people, and headed back up.

It is possible to do a much longer hike from this area and see more waterfalls, but we just jaunted up to the Benson Bridge and then back to the gift shop on this trip.

Multnomah Falls
Apparently this is my waterfall face!
The view from Benson Bridge
My new mountaineering boots were already seeing some super amazing things!

Next up was Horsetail Falls, along waterfall along the roadside (that can be used as a starting point for a longer hike and more waterfalls!). I took the opportunity to test out new gear and headed into the waterfall in my typical fashion.

There Heidi goes, trying to stand in all the waterfalls again!
Horsetail Falls

After lunch at Solstice Cafe in Hood River and grabbing Sno-Park permits for the next day, it was time to cross the river and adventure in Washington for a little bit.

My mac and cheese at Solstice Cafe

Strangely enough, I managed to get to adulthood as a mountain kid without ever snowshoeing… until this day! The destination was a lava tube outside of Trout Lake, which to me sounded like a great reason to get on snowshoes, since I love geology and volcanoes and all.

The sun was setting and fog thick as we got ready
Trying out this whole stompy feet thing!
Not sure what I was getting myself into, ha!
Starting out

Lava tube time!

From Wikipedia – A lava tube is a type of lava cave formed when a low-viscosity lava flow develops a continuous and hard crust, which thickens and forms a roof above the still-flowing lava stream. Tubes form in one of two ways: either by the crusting over of lava channels, or from pāhoehoe flows where the lava is moving under the surface.

The more you know 🙂

Nothing is sketchy about just going into a huge hole in the ground after sunset, ha!

Time to explore underground! The entrance was down a ladder (pretty sturdy!) and then a scramble down hardened lava and sheets of ice. Definitely a hands on scramble!

Ice stalagmites!

After a decent wandering underground, we reached the end of the easy part, which is a staircase leading to an old building. Blue cheese was aged down here back in the day!
Life in complete darkness
My first subterranean cartwheel!
Back up the wall of icy death!

The next morning I woke up above the Columbia River surrounded by moss, which was pretty damn fantastic.

We ate breakfast in Hood River at Broder Øst, a Scandinavian restaurant. I was excited to see Finnish porridge on the menu, but I ended up getting the crispy smashed potatoes and eggs. And all the coffee!

Bellies full, it was time to go play in the snow around Mount Hood. It was a gorgeous sunny day perfect for a few miles on snowshoes all the while staring at a volcano (that I want to climb one day).

I found moss to wear. I’m a dork
Guys, it is a VOLCANO!
Mount Hood is an active stratovolcano in the Cascades volcanic arch, and is also Oregon’s highest point at 11,249 feet.
Mount Hood handstand!

After some parking lot tacos while waiting for checkin at the campground (which I’m discovering are the best things ever), it was time for cosmic tubing at Mount Hood. (Another first, I’ve never been tubing!) The best thing was hands down the sunset! Once I got over going head first on the tube, it was fun, and a great way to wrap up a busy, but awesome, weekend!

Parking lot tacos
Amazing sunset and Mount Hood
It’s me and a volcano!
Cosmic tubing
Wrapping up the evening with s’mores and a campfire!

Here’s to starting off 2022 with a bang!

Nothing is boring in Oregon!

7 thoughts on “MLK Adventure Weekend”

  1. Great post and so many wonderful photos especially the ones with all the beautiful waterfalls! The Columbia River Gorge is a truly stunning place to explore and photograph – I can’t wait to visit one day ☺️ Thanks for sharing and have a good day ☺️ Aiva


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