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Wine country and the Columbia River Gorge

It was my birthday last August. Lou, my three sons, and I were touring parts of Oregon. We had departed the Oregon coast (See my last post, "Road trip - the Oregon coast") and headed inland toward Portland, traveling through the Willamette Valley, the heart of Oregon's agricultural country and including more than 200 wineries. We chose to stop at Amity Vineyards for a picnic lunch.  

In theory this sounds idyllic, and the setting, overlooking the spectacular vineyards and valley, certainly was. 

But we forgot about the bees! Vineyards need bees. Now, why the bees were so interested in my sandwich, when they had thousands of grape plants to pollinate, I don't know. But the pesky creatures wouldn't leave us alone, and I came close to swallowing one or two of the bolder ones. A note to Amity: a screened-in porch would be nice! We quickly finished our lunch and left the picnic area for the quaint red building housing the wines. Amity is noted for its Pinot Noir, as well as other great wines, and we spent some time tasting the selections before choosing the best ones to celebrate my birthday later that evening. My boys also gave me some of Amity's wine filled chocolates, which make my mouth water to this day, thinking about them.

We stayed in Portland for several days, exploring local attractions. One of the highlights of our trip was the day we spent traveling the Mt. Hood/Columbia River Gorge loop. One of our first stops was historic Vista House, which offered incredible thirty mile views of the river and valley.

Columbia River Highway 30 took us through ancient forests and past several waterfalls, including the 620 foot Multnomah falls.

We spent the morning exploring the fern filled grottos of this enchanting area. After we ate lunch in the city of Hood River,we headed across the Columbia River into Washington. I took these photos of the Columbia River from our moving car!

After fitting our bodies into wet suits, life vests and helmets, we climbed into a rubber raft for a thrilling eight mile white water journey on the White Salmon River. The scariest part was when we had to portage around a section of white water deemed too rough for rafting. I found myself clinging to ropes hooked into the slippery side of a mountain and looking down at the boiling water below.

I gulped. I am not a young person.

Well, I had to keep going, because I surely could not go back. I was glad when I was once again in the raft bouncing over class III-IV rapids.

The end of the White Salmon river trip featured a twelve foot drop over Husum Falls. I wanted to do it! But the river guide discouraged us by graphic descriptions of bodily injuries suffered by folks our age. In the end, Lou, Josh, and I bailed out, and we watched from a bridge while Sam and Mark took the plunge. Thanks to Wet Planet Rafting for the following photos. My guys are in the front, and the river guide is in the rear.

We returned to Portland by completing the Columbia River gorge loop, featuring the Mt. Hood scenic drive.


It was a good day, a very good day. May all of you have such good days to come.  

This post is dedicated to fellow garden blogger Linda, of An Artists Garden, who is blessed to live in the Columbia River Gorge.

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Reader Comments (9)

Hello Deb,

Like your previous post, you have shown us what a beautiful place that Oregon is. I have to plan a trip....:-)

January 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNoelle (azplantlady)

This must be a wonderful trip you had.
I am amazed by the height of the waterfall! Beautiful pictures and lovely nature!

January 15, 2010 | Unregistered Commentervrtlaricaana

Was this the trip that celebrated the "big" birthday? I remember saying that white water rafting was on the menu. By the way lady, you look very young as well!!!
Great pictures as always.

January 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah at Kilbourne Grove

Deb, another great post! Isn't the Columbia River Gorge, just the best?

January 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDiana

You really captured it Deb! As you crossed the Hood River Bridge and looked up at the tallest mountain slightly east you saw my garden, sitting right on the edge. My husband went over the falls but like you, I chose to portage around!! Your shots of Multnomah are breathtaking! I don't know if pictures can convey the power one senses when there, seeing it in person. Thanks for posting your journey to my part of the world!! Next time we'll have to schedule a garden tour for you!!

January 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLinda

Wow! Those photos are especially great. The views are breathtaking. What a wonderful way to spend your birthday with your familly.

January 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterteresa

Debs - these scenic photos are just amazing - the place is sooooooo green and lushous. That waterfall must have been breathtaking to stand along side. I am sure the ground was shaking below your feet. I love the photos will all the low lying clouds too. What a wonderful place to visit - never mind live in.

January 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterleavesnbloom

Wow! That picture of the bridge over the waterfall was amazing :D

The rafting looked like great fun. I love to see someone enjoy outdoor adventures as much as I do. :)

We have many vineyards in nearby counties, I haven't had a chance to tour them yet. They use mostly local scuppernong and muscadine grapes though, and my husband detests both of them lol. Oh well, more for me! :)

January 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKyna

Enjoyed viewing your images.
The toned black & white images portray the mood you speak about-colorless.
BTW, here in my Texas area we have no chipmunks. We have to drive east a ways to find them. I kinda miss those little squirrels.

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGary

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