On Thursday I crossed the Cascades, now I’m on the weather side of the mountains. No more desert but lush green meadows, fields and forests with moss on their branches, colorful maple trees in between. More water everywhere and beautiful waterfalls.
The Silver Falls
On late afternoon I arrived at Silver Falls State Park. It’s a small area at the feet of the Cascades, where many waterfalls rush down in a deep canyon. Layers of different lava here too. A round trip leads to ten waterfalls, the most spectacular are North an South Falls and the Winter Falls.
When you go out taking pictures of a waterfall, the best time is when there is no direct light. So I went on the last light of the day to South Falls. A small stream of water falls into the depth. Water and erosion did their work and carved out a deep overhang, so you can walk behind the waterfall. This is now nice, but in spring or after heavy rains you will get drenched.
The next morning I went at the North Falls, here you can also walk behind the falls. The title shows the area just on top of the falls. A wonderful scenery! More than two waterfalls I couldn’t make because taking pictures requires more time than just to walk by.
Portland, the 1st
I wanted to arrive early at Portland, which means Oregon City south of Portland where I choose to camp because of the connection with public transportation. As I didn’t know wether the campground is full or not I wanted to have enough time to drive to another one. But everything worked out fine and so I parked my RV and went right to the city to have a look and have some shopping. But – as usual – it came out in a completely other way. I sent a message to Tom that everything is ok for tomorrow and spontaneously we met one hour later.
It’s strange to meet someone in a new city who you only know from Instagram, commenting on each other pictures. But nice people are nice people and is doesn’t matter if on social media or in real life. And so the virtual friedship in an instant became a real one.
Tom showed me around, we were at Pittock Manison with the great view over the city. And Tom loves gardening too, so we had fun going to the Hoyt Arboretum and taking some pictures of fall leaves. We tried to go to the Japanese Garden, but it was so busy there and no parking so this must wait.
I even had the opportunity to see his great garden which is build right into the hillside. He planted fantastic trees which give the garden his special and secluded atmosphere. Around every corner there’s someting new. Gardenfreaks are a funny species, they can talk the whole day in latin names of plants and have fun with this…
At Columbia Gorge
The next day we wanted to go to the Columbia Gorge together with Jenny for the famous waterfalls. I too know her via Instagram, but Tom knows her a long time in person. She also is a great photographer and we had some nice communication too on Instagram. I am happy to know Jenny and Tom in person. The two days with them were the most lighthearted and happy days of my travel so far, we had lots of laughs and a wonderful time together.
Shure, we took pictures too! It’s great to go out with photographers, because they see the world like I do and don’t mind to stop if anyone had seen something that has to be caught in a picture. But it was more difficult to find a waterfall than we thought. Because of the fire many roads and trails were closed. The fire at Eagle Creek started end of August but spread very fast due to the strong winds in the Gorge. Everywhere you can see brown patches on the hills, the fire even made his way down to the highway. The beautiful old historical higway is still closed. From time to time you can see smoke.
The Gorge is dramatic! The rocks go down nearly perpendicular to the Columbia River. That’s why there are so many great waterfalls. It’s the only way to go through the Cascades without traveling a pass. The Columbia River collects all the rivers behind the Cascades and brings the waters to the sea. What a huge stream. With the strong winds blowing through the Gorge it’s a paradise for windsurfers in the middle of a mountain range.
We had to drive until a few miles to Hood River, passing the beauties like Multnomah Falls, to reach Starvation Creek Falls. It’s just a short walk to the falls, the other trails were closed.
Spectacular Washington side of the Gorge
After a late breakfast in Hood River, a pretty town, Tom and Jenny took me to a very special place. We went to Falls Creek Falls on the Washington side of the river. So we crossed the narrow bridge and went some miles into the mountains. Then we had to hike for another two miles through a mossy forest dotted with colorful maple trees.
The falls are so high that you can see the higher part only from a distance. First the cascades, then the free fall, this looks gorgeous! We took pictures until it began to rain and we returned to Tons car. What a wonderful experience!
We finished the day with a short visit to Steigerwald Lake Wildlife Refuge. This paradise for birds is not far east of Portland on the shore of Columbia River. Jenny took there many perfect pictures of birds. But Tom and me were not so lucky, but finally the rain has stopped and we got some fine evening light. And Tom could finally test the rented 500mm lens squeezing the last energy out of his camera battery.