Archives for posts with tag: Columbia River

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


On Thursday, I headed east to the Columbia River to visit the Gorge and all the falls. For those of you interested in geography, the Columbia River divides Washington and Oregon, and the mountain ranges and waterfalls that surround the river make up “the gorge.”

Let’s list the things that went well to start off the trip:

  1. Everything
  2. More specifically, I was upgraded to a sweet 2012 Ford Escape for no extra charge, and included XM Radio (wassup T-swift?!)
  3. It was yet another beautiful 80 degree, clear sky, no humidity day, and the ride along the river was absolutely gorgeous

Let’s list the things that didn’t go as well:

  1. Nothing. Except picking the wrong exit for a lunch break, that resulted in a 4 mile detour. Story of my life

I was headed to the Columbia River Gorge Guest House, aka the home of Steve and Elsie. (And this is where I give a plug about how everyone should visit and stay at Steve and Elsie’s Guest House.) Just picture a Shadowood-like house in Oregon. And if you’ve never been to Shadowood, picture an awesome cabin on 44-acres of land, surrounding woods, horses (not at Shadowood), a bonfire paired with s’mores and great conversation. Steve, a retired 69 year old maintenance manager and lifelong cowboy, and Elsie, a 55 year old Special Ed teacher, decided to open up their 5 bedroom house as a B&B, a wedding venue, and even a makeshift garage sale. Steve said at first it was there way of making use of the empty-nested house and make a little extra money. But later, he admitted he keeps doing it because he lives for meeting new people and hearing about their life stories.

When I got there, Steve showed me the ropes, and sent me off on a hiking trail that would lead me to the most beautiful views of the gorge. He was right. It was unreal. Just wait for the pictures. Then after dinner (at a restaurant on a marina I won’t recommend b/c it wasn’t that great), Steve and I made a bonfire and shared stories over s’mores and Diet Cokes. (helloooo perfect night)

It was a low-key night, but it was exactly what I needed. There’s nothing better than taking a day to chill out, recharge, and take in the surroundings. I’m not necessarily a ‘nature girl,’ either. I mean.. I hate spiders. I’m afraid of ticks (who isn’t?) I’m not the best hiker (but geez, after 4 hikes in 6 days, I’m getting there), and I’m a terrible packer and don’t think I could ever “back-pack” somewhere. But I do like what nature and a break from society can do for the ol’ soul. I enjoyed talking to Steve and listening to some of his stories. I enjoyed being able to open up to someone who is essentially a complete stranger. And I enjoyed getting the opportunity to see such amazing scenery, which literally at times, made me stop and say to myself, “I can’t believe what I’m seeing here.”

This day has been my favorite part of the trip so far, hands down. It was amazing. It was refreshing. It reinforced my reasoning for coming out to the West Coast. And it was exactly what I needed.

Columbia River Gorge Guest House. Check them out on FB, and visit them whenever you’re in the area.

The Guest House. Maggie. And some of the things Steve has found along some of his hikes. What an eye!

Green Stanley Thermoses. When Steve first started out with no money, he kept using these thermoses that kept breaking on him. So once he finally got some money, a nice green Stanley Thermos was his first purchase. You can say the green icon is more than just a sturdy liquid container to him.

So here we have myself, trying to capture how dang windy it was at this particular viewpoint. Not pictured: a very steep cliff. But I mean come on, the view was worth it, wouldn’t you say?

Views along the way of the hike. Mt Hood is in the background, but she’s a little camera shy.

So this area used to have a house on it. But the gorge bought the land, cleared it, restored it to its natural setting, and now has this cool circular seating area in its place, with an even cooler view. I see a Phase 29b at Shadowood in the future :)

Some artsy pics on the tail-end of the hike.

So yea, hungry horses are scary. I didn’t get the “make sure to feed them outside the fence” memo, and I was definitely cornered a few times by some rather large horse-friends. All a part of the experience, though……right?

Sub-par meal, but delicious beverages and a cool photo to make up for it!

Ohhh the stories that come out from just sitting around a bonfire. One of my favorite past times for sure.

Until we meet again my friends!