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.
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!
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.
The hike to Bridal Veil Falls is short hike of about 1 mile roundtrip, though it does involve elevation loss and gain.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 🙂
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!
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).
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!
Here’s to starting off 2022 with a bang!