In the middle of December, Mama Nomad’s parents came to visit us and spent a week traipsing around Oregon and Northern California with us. And what a bit of traipsing we did. You will read about all of the adventures in subsequent posts. The first place on the list is a famous spot located about 30 miles east of Portland, Oregon called Multnomah Falls. We never get tired of water falls and Mama Nomad’s Mama has a similar affinity.
Early Tuesday Morning, we all piled into Ebony (yes…she fits 7 people comfortably) and headed out. Believe it or not, it was not raining! I have an even better one for you (a little bit of foreshadowing), it did not rain the entire time Mama Nomad’s parents were here. Well, at least not on the days we had plans to go out. That was a new one for me and it was sincerely appreciated. Thanks for your cooperation Mother Nature.
When we got to Portland, the traffic wasn’t too bad. We sailed right on through and headed eastbound. As we drove down the Interstate, we could actually see the 2nd most climbed mountain in the world in the background, Mt Hood. For any of you who have seen a movie made by Paramount Pictures, you know what Mount Hood looks like. One of the Nomad Boys commented as such. What a beautiful site she was in the backdrop of our drive.
We were on Interstate 84, which runs along the Columbia River, headed east and left the Interstate on exit 28. This puts you on East Historic Columbia River Highway. This will bring you by a quaint little post office as you exit, then by Shepperd’s Dell State Park, alongside a Fish Rearing Pond and then you will arrive at Wahkeena Falls. I honestly knew nothing about Wahkeena Falls until we happened upon it. But, as we passed, I had to stop. It is a 242-foot cascading type waterfall with an arched bridge up where it initially plunges before the cascade.
From the parking lot there is a viewing area where you can see the plunge of the falls from afar and the cascading part will actually flow right past you as it heads towards the Columbia River. To the west of the viewing area is a foot path. We learned that this path went up to the bridge. Now, let me give you a few words of caution. If you are a novice hiker, only proceed during non-winter months and do so with proper foot gear and a walking stick. If you are an intermediate hiker, you can make it in the winter with proper foot gear. Although a metal tipped hiking stick will make your hike much easier. If you are an advanced hiker, no need to take advice from me, you know what to do.
We, the Nomad Boys and I, headed up the foot path as it headed west for a bit and then did a 180 degree turn back east, towards the falls. Snow had been packed down and melted, then froze. So, we dealt with a mix of some soft snow, packed snow and straight frozen snow. For the most part, we could navigate with carefully placed footing, mostly along the edges where the snow was still unfrozen. Part of the way up, a guy in shorts and what looked like special tennis shoes, bounded past us like we were on a sidewalk in the summer. Mind you, we were all bundled in jeans and heavy jackets because it was below freezing. The concept of what is cold to many Oregonians is very different from our perception.
We made it most of the way and we came to a stretch that was almost entirely frozen snow. We had to hike high on the ridge to find snow that was not packed down. We made it across that section of pathway and across an area bridged by ice to finally arrive at the arched bridge. Although I had made this type of hike before, it was new to the boys and they did fantastically. We worked as a team, concentrated on safety and accomplished our objective. And what a beautiful view we had from the top. After a bit, we proceeded to hike back down to the parking lot where Mama Nomad and her parents waited patiently for us. We jumped into Ebony and continued our trip to Multnomah Falls.
Within a few miles we had arrived. I did not know it was so close. The parking lot was packed but we wiggled into a spot. We got out and saw that there was a restaurant, gift shop, bathrooms and a coffee shop there. The pathways were cleared of ice and snow and were completely paved. So, we all took a short walk to the viewing area to see Multnomah Falls, a 620 foot tall waterfall. The view was just gorgeous. It is a place where they rent it out for weddings due to the natural beauty. Mama Nomad asked if I wanted to hike up to the arch bridge here. I told her that 1) it would not compare to the hike we just did at Wahkeena Falls and 2) I was tired from that hike. So, we admired the beauty from down below. Afterwards we grabbed some coffee, a few souvenirs and we were on our way.
The entire trip was a beautiful drive and wonderful experience. If you are in the Portland, Oregon area, you should definitely take a drive down the Columbia River Gorge and see Wahkeena and Mulnomah Falls. Safe Travels.