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Published: September 28th 2009
We checked out of the Timberline Lodge and drove to nearby Trillium Lake, which we’d heard was a photo opportunity waiting to happen. It did not disappoint, and we shot many a postcard-like photo of the lake with Mt. Hood rising above it in the distance. We took the 2 mile trail around it, and enjoyed the relatively solo trek through forests and meadows surrounding the little lake.
Then we headed north, and as we came down in elevation, we entered the beautiful rolling hills of an agricultural area chock full of apple orchards and vineyards. Eventually we reached the Columbia River, which was impressive in size and scenery. Heading west, the first stop we made was at the historic Bonneville Fish Hatchery—which was a surprisingly interesting operation in a lovely setting. (Thanks for the tip, Laurel!) We made a quick visit to the Bonneville Dam, then detoured onto historic Highway 30, which parallels Interstate 84--a gorgeous 2 lane road through lush semi-rain forest, with carved stone guardrails sprouting mosses and ferns from their surfaces. The road leads past numerous waterfalls which run over the edge of the Columbia Gorge, and eventually reach the river. The largest of these was
620 foot high Multnomah Falls, where we stopped to have lunch at the historic lodge adjacent to it. Another highlight was Crown Point, a bluff 733 feet above the river, upon which stands the Vista House, built in 1917 to serve as a rest stop for those hearty people attempting to travel the road back then in horse and buggy.
Leaving the Gorge and river behind, we entered Washington and headed to the Mt. St. Helens area. We arrived at our destination in the middle of nowhere on the road to Mt. St. Helens—a facility which calls itself an “eco-park”, but is actually a glorified campground, with cabins, campsites and yurts for lodging. We arrived to discover the gate chained and locked, with a “closed” sign posted. After a few minutes of panic, we realized there were a couple of vehicles parked at the restaurant on the grounds, so got out of the car to walk down at the same time someone came out to greet us—the owner, it turns out. Anyway, apparently we were the only guests booked for the week, so they decided to close down until the weekend—except for us, of course.
It was a
bit disconcerting, being the only people there, and the assistant/jack of all trades fellow who showed us around was a bit “Deliverence-esque”, but in a nice way… Despite the fact that the dining room was effectively closed, the owner fixed us a steak dinner and stayed to chat with us about local politics and his efforts to get National Park status for Mt. St. Helens--it’s now a National Monument. After dinner, we retired to our very rustic cabin. Since it was powered by propane, the light was too dim to read, so we played dominoes, did a little star-gazing (incredible!) and retired early.
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