Hood River, Multnomah Falls, Bonneville Lock and Dam
Hood River, the wind capital of the West, is our playground for the morning. A crisp snap in the morning air brings our senses to abrupt attention. Pairs of bookends, volcanic bookends, frame our destination of the morning, Mt. Hood Winery. Prepared by caring hands we have a selection of fresh baked breads, omelet quarters, crepes, and fresh fruits to satisfy our morning appetites. Yields of the Hood River Valley include cherries, pears, apricots, plums, pluots, and apples. Everyone is satiated with the breakfast and we mosey through the vineyards and pear orchard to the Gorge White House. It was a bit cold these last few nights and a killing frost has decimated the dahlias. Giant sunflowers have fared a little better and hang their petal fringed faces towards the earth. Hanging upside-down, goldfinches busily work the seed heads. Their golden bellies matching the frost-wilted petals of the flowers. Enchanted by the idyllic setting, we settled ourselves at the outdoor picnic tables, basking in the sun.
Entering the nook of Multnomah Falls, we were immediately cast in shade, moisture, and mosses. Nature is celebrating fall, and the big-leaf maples were warming up to become riotous splashes of color. Ambling up the trail we reached the scenic footbridge, which offered us a unique perch to view as well as photograph the dancing waters. More options topped off our travels as some of us continued on to the Bonneville Dam Visitors Center. Yearning to see fish going up river, we practically pressed our noses to the glass, so as not to miss a fish.
Lacking any clouds to break up the sunlight streaming on our partly sunburnt faces, we squinted westward as we navigated through our last lock of the voyage. Our lock was shared with a small replica paddle wheeler, giving us a flavor of the days when the Cascade Locks were used to avoid the Cascade Rapids of the Columbia River. Vibrating in the confined walls of the lock, our voices rang as the miter gates opened and the lyrics of Woody Guthrie’s “Roll On Columbia” spilled downstream.
Enthralled with the day, the explorations, and the warm autumn afternoon, we proceeded on.