Cascade Locks, Hood River

Apr 26, 2019 - National Geographic Quest


If today were a movie, it would be a full-feature, 5-star, action film. By 6:45 this morning we were sailing through Bonneville Lock in the soft morning light. Soon we reached Cascade Locks for our morning activities. The short zodiac ride to shore, gave us practice in donning our life jackets and stepping in and out of the rubber boats.

A small group of intrepid travelers boarded an awaiting van which took them to the White Salmon River for a morning of white-water rafting. The sun was warm and soothing as the cold waters of the river’s rapids reminded us that snow melt is never warm. We paddled a stroke or two, at the direction of our guide, then rode along under trees in flower and the sweet smell of the conifers. Dressed head to toe in gear provided by the rafting company, we kept fairly warm but eventually water found its way through the layers. It was a deeply satisfying experience with big smiles all around.

Meanwhile the group on land headed up along Beacon Rock. This volcanic neck of a cinder cone, remains from a previous eruption, stands 850 feet high. The switchback trail of one-half mile was covered by all who attempted it, and the views from the top were worth every step. Tiny chickweed monkey flowers displayed in small yellow puffs along the gravel and blacktop trail. The wind was picking up now as we headed back down the path to the coaches.

The most popular option of the morning was a visit to Multnomah Falls. This is the second-longest water fall in North America, second only to Yosemite’s Bridal Veil Falls. The lacey white water spills from a flat ledge then begins its 620-foot plummet to the pool churning below. A beautiful stone bridge, the Benson Bridge, spans the falls a third of the way up and provides a spectacular photographic opportunity.

A visit to Bonneville Fish Hatchery finished off the morning activities.

WHEW!

After lunch, back to shore for our awaiting coaches and a ride through the fertile orchards of Oregon. A winding road of hills panning this way and that through vineyards and orchards has been nick named the apt name of Fruit Loop. The trees were filled with flowers. The Draper Girls Farm provided a fun stop with a wide variety of apples to sample and pens full of friendly goats to pet.

Others went to the Western Antiques Automobile and Aeroplane Museum. Here cars and trucks from every make and model are restored and operable. Next to them are airplanes of every make and model, also operable. Wooden biplanes stand handsomely beside gliders, and WW1 fighter cubs fill no less than two and a half acre’s worth of hangar space. There are memories here for every one of us.

The day wasn’t over yet, though. After dinner we passed through the Dalles Lock, with commentary by our on-board historian, Junius Rochester. With the sun set, we were ready for a good night’s sleep.

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About the Author

Marylou Blakeslee

Naturalist

For the past 20 years, Marylou Blakeslee has traveled the world sharing her love of wild places. She lectures on a number of topics from the bears and wolves of the Arctic, to the leopard seals and whales of the Antarctic, as well as the turtles and fishes of the Great Barrier Reef.

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