Road Trip: Columbia Gorge
This last weekend I took a road trip to see my grandmother and other relatives who live in the Columbia River Gorge area. It is always good to see them, but the drive through the Columbia Gorge is a bonus. I find its beauty and history quite intriguing.
The Gorge is the section of the Columbia River that cuts through the Cascade Mountains. Starting from east to west, the Gorge begins in a very arid region and becomes nearly rainforest like as you travel west. Down one side of Interstate 84, the vertical rock cliff faces are scattered with waterfalls. Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams, two sleeping giant volcanoes, tower in the background. Their presence brings perspective to the epitome of the man made dam structures that have, over time, tamed the mighty Columbia.
Long before the Lewis and Clark expedition and beyond today, the Columbia river is and will be a conduit for food, travel and commerce. Native American fishing platforms are scattered on the banks, while the barges full of grain headed to world markets travel its channels. Queen of the West, an authentic sternwheeler riverboat, provides tourists a different perspective. It is fun to speculate on the amazement that group of early explorers experienced while floating down what was then the wild Columbia.
If you ever drive through the Columbia Gorge, be sure to bring a camera and plan to spend a little extra time taking in the sites. You will not regret it. You’ll want to travel both sides to see this wonder of nature from all directions.