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Published: September 17th 2017
Others have better shots, I'm sure
Geo: 45.67, -121.889
After a late arrival, I stayed with a friend in a hotel near the airport. We headed out from Portland fairly early on I84 East. We had no real plan, but a couple free tourism guides that we picked up at the airport. Our first impetuous stop was Multnomah Falls. It turns out it is Oregon's top tourist attraction. I didn't look that grand from the highway, but we were eager to start seeing things. Multnomah has an interpretive center in a historic building and a couple different hiking trails. We grabbed our wind breakers and a couple of coffees from a cart out front and started up the trail to see the top of the falls (620 feet up). The path was in good condition and had several views of the falls and the gorge on the way up. The most impressive wildlife we saw were a couple of slugs that were longer than dollar bills.
Continuing east, we stopped at the Bonneville Dam and Fish Hatchery (exit 40 off I-84) where we found a geocache and really enjoyed learning about how the fish ladders work. There were sturgeon, trout and small fry to visit and we pulled a
few quarters out of our bags to feed the fish. Good fun for any age. The dam and the hatchery are like hitting two tourist destinations in one. I picked up a Bigfoot coin in the gift shop for my nephew.
I wanted to get a Washington state geocache and we were hungry so we hopped across the Bridge of the Gods at Cascade Locks ($1) and had lunch at the Big River Grill on 2nd Street in Stevenson, Washington. The service and food hit the spot. Having just seen some salmon frisking about in the river, we ordered some grilled on a bed of greens. We followed that with a stop at the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center. We did not go in, but enjoyed some gorgeous views, checked out their trains and picked up a geocache on site. Trivia bit: the local geese are properly called Canada Geese, not Canadian Geese. It's a species designation, not a statement of citizenship.
We continued down the Washington side of the river headed east. We cut across back to the south to hike a trail at the Mosier Twin Tunnels. The trail is paved, wide and relatively flat. Bikers use it too. The path
Saw several very large slugs along the way
used to be the site of the old highway. The tunnel remnants are an interesting historic feature, but the main attractions are the views of the gorge and the wild flowers. It is an up-and-back hike so you can turn around whenever you want.
We drove west to Hood River for dinner. We were very disappointed that the shops there all close between 5-6pm. There were lots of fun, independent boutiques and we decided we should try to stop back the next day when things were open.
We enjoyed dinner at the 6th Street Bistro and loft which had an interesting menu- a mix of American and Asian for the most part. Lots of fresh ingredients, terrific bread and a friendly, solicitous staff. It's a little tricky to find from the street address, but look around the right side of the building and you should see it. There is seating downstairs and up. We met two very laid back black Labs on the way out.
We made our way back to Cascade Locks for sleep. We had rooms at a Best Western with a nice view of the river and were pleasantly surprised not to be bothered at all by noise from the
trains that ran just below our window. I suppose the key is that they just drive by; they don't sound horns.
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