Cruising the Columbia River Gorge (July 7, 2022)

Now tell me this isn’t a crying shame: I beat Walter up, a shock because he is always first on his feet. We could have slept until noon, but by 7:00 I was up, dressed, and having coffee and breakfast: smoked salmon on a toasted bagel. Not the slippery kind but the dry yummy kind.

Today was special because we began our cruise, slowly but surely, through the 85-mile-long Columbia River Gorge, the largest Federally Protected Scenic Area in the country. Because we are going upriver, Washington is to our left and Oregon to our right. We saw the first of 14 major peaks and cinder cones that form the Cascade Range including Mount Hood that clocks in at 11,245 feet and Mount Adams, a show off at 12,276 feet. The western gorge, with 75 plus or minus inches of rain a year, is lush and green with misty mountains, old growth forests, and more than 40 waterfalls. In contrasts, the eastern gorge is a region of rocky bluffs, rolling hills, desert wildflowers, and wide open spaces thanks to its mere 15 inches of precipitation.

The day passed quickly as we glided upriver. My favorite part besides the abundance of beautiful green in every direction and one waterfall after the next was how quiet it is. The warm sun popped in and out of the clouds which was perfect after the cool temps of the last couple days. We saw our first draw bridge; it does not go up and down, but opens and shuts like a door. We were alone on the water less a couple of sail boats, an empty barge, and one lone windsurfer.

This afternoon’s lectures were on the geology of the river, very well done but a tad out of my sphere of interest, and the expedition of Lewis and Clark which reinforced what we have already learned about the of the significance of the expedition.

We stopped for the night just past Bonneville Lock and Dam, the first dam built on the Columbia. It is 145 miles from Astoria and lifted us up 60 feet. One lock down…seven to go. They are all free of charge, by the way.

Tonight’s entertainment: Dave and Bo. They played requests, shared stories of the famous folks Bo has worked with, and closed with a salute to our military.

… Did You Know …

The gorge is home to Google, Tofurky, and Insitu.

You can drive the gorge on the Columbia River Highway if cruising is not your style.
At 100 years old, it is our first Scenic Byway!

Mt Hood is the highest point in Oregon …and… the second most climbed
glaciated mountain in the world after Mount Fuji.
Surprise: Dan and I hiked Mt. Fuji in the early 1970s. You bet cha.

At 1,200 miles, the Columbia River is the second longest river in North American.


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