After leaving Steve and Elsie’s house, I headed east along the Columbia River, still on the Washington side. I stopped at Beacon Rock, a) because it’s huge and b) because Steve said you can hike to the top and see a great view. So, hiking: Round 4-ish. No water once again (I’ll learn someday), I hiked up this 1000ft rock that seemed nearly impossible from ground level. And there’s nothing like going around in circles to really mess up your equilibrium and give you absolutely zero concept if you’re close to the top or not. But yes, the view was absolutely and 100% worth it. And I even had 4 bars and 3G service up there. Hoo-rah AT&T.

I then headed even more east, and stopped at Solstice Wood Fire Cafe for a quick bite to eat. The pizza was by far one of the best I’ve ever had. Even Food Network Magazine agrees. If you’re ever there, you’ve got to try the Solstice Country Girl Cherry Pizza. To die for.

(scroll down for 2nd part of the cruise around the river)

Left: Beacon Rock (no picture will do it justice)

Left: Stairway to Heaven/ Top of Beacon Rock  Right: Fear of bridges: faced, but definitely not conquered.

Left: View on the way to Solstice Right: Chorizo sausage, goat cheese, rosemary and thyme, and cherries from the Columbia River Gorge region

Once crossing yet another terrifying bridge (no picture for obvious reasons), I headed back west, now along the Oregon side of the river. By taking the old scenic highway route, I was able to stop every now and then to see some of the falls and trails along the mountains. Similar to hiking, I honestly don’t think I’ve seen a waterfall before. Or at least ones as cool as I saw here.

First non-self picture. One of the most awkward things in the world.

Above is a hidden trail called Oneonta Falls. At first glance, it doesn’t look like anything. But if you so dare to go further, you come across a log jam. Doesn’t look so threatening at first, especially when you see a petite girl and her little chihuahua-like dog crossing it. False. Don’t let this picture deceive you. It’s the scariest thing EVER. I actually went across one of the logs, and then proceeded to quickly turn around and walk back. But then I stopped and thought, ‘This kind of stuff is why you’re here, you have to at least try it.’ So I did. Luckily the girl was already gone, because let me tell you…it wasn’t a pretty sight. I’ll let you just try and envision me tiptoeing across these logs, occasionally bear-hugging some of them. Road Rules/Real World Challenge, might be a few more years til you see this gal. The worst part was that even after I successfully got across (quite possibly after a big fall), I didn’t have the sense to keep walking through the water and around the bend to see the waterfalls.

But honestly, this experience was a big turning point for me. I faced my fear of heights and did something I probably won’t have a chance to do again. The adrenaline and feeling of accomplishment was definitely worth the huge scrape on the back of my leg.

 Above: Multnomah Falls

Jaw dropping scenery and a few more hiking challenges to top off my trip to Portland. Can’t complain…I just can’t complain.

Next stop: Seattle, WA