One of the "must dos" for someone visiting Portland is a day exploring the Columbia River Gorge. The drive begins about twenty miles outside of Portland in the quaint town of Troutdale and cuts through the Cascade Mountains
There are plenty of places to park the car and enjoy the scenery, which we did whenever we needed another helping of the Lilly's Hummus and crackers we had brought along, which was about every two miles. (Okay, maybe every mile.)
After this viewpoint, the road drops down 600 feet to river level. A series of spectacular waterfalls draw large crowds in the summer months, but we were fortunate to be there during the slow month of January. Aside from the aforementioned wind at the viewpoint, we had pretty good weather and very light crowds competing for the best camera shot.
The first waterfall on the drive is Latourell Falls, which is located right next to a picturesque moss-covered bridge:
Latourell Falls has a 250-foot drop off a basalt lip, which apparently is quite unusual as most falls "tumble," or hit protruding rocks, on the way down.
As we continued on our way, we noticed thin falls on the vertical rock strata on the other side of the Columbia River.
We made our way to the top of the lower falls:
Rachael almost didn't escape from a carnivorous tree:
It almost looks like Hawaii, doesn't it? Believe me, it didn't FEEL like Hawaii.
This is a wonderful drive, even on a chilly day in January, especially if you can be fueled by a container or two of hummus and some crackers.