Courtney and I have been hiking our little legs off lately, not to mention while I've been at work she's been exploring downtown, gardens, waterfalls, the coast, etc, etc. I think she's seen more in five days than I have in a month, but I'm going to blame that one on the fact that I work forty hours a week.
For her birthday she wanted to go hiking, and Oregon graced us with a phenomenally beautiful, sunny day, leading Courtney to say such crazy things as: "I love Oregon; it has such pretty weather!" and "I don't understand what you mean by, 'it's overcast all the time'?"
After assuring her of Oregon's propensity to rain nine months of the year, and this was simply a freak solar anomaly, we packed up and headed to the gorge.
We made the obligatory stop at Multnomah Falls, and although I've visited it on several occasions, it looked completely different by sunlight. The sun was rising just behind the falls, dropping beams of light across the misty spray. Beautiful.
We then hurried on to the trails, exploring Wahcleela Falls (not to be confused with Wahkeena Falls), Elowah Falls, Upper McCord Creek Falls, and then drove to Mt. Hood in search of good views. After driving for an hour, however, we discovered the roads were closed "due to snow" (apparently they didn't get the memo that it was 75 and sunny today) and instead pulled off along the road to take some lovely shots of the gorge. We ended the day with a "short" commute to the city, which turned into an hour and a half of traffic, but were rewarded with views of Mt. Hood, Mt. Rainier, and Mt. St. Helens, from high above the city. Then it was home to scarf down food at 8:00 pm -- the last thing we had eaten all day was a bite of cheese and pita during our hike.
My favorite stop of the day was Wahcleela Falls -- a quick hike leads you into a secluded cove, where the impressive waterfall cascades down from a rock chute and fills the gorge below. High cliffs surround you on all sides, and while you sit and enjoy a bite of lunch, it's as though you have just discovered something wonderful and secret and all your own.