We hustled through our first 500km on the I-5 trying to outrun the rain, making it into Oregon for day two on the road. After many stops in desperate search of a percolator, we were in need of some fresh air (and caffeine). So, we took Highway 84 East to connect us with the parallel Route 30, the “Columbia Gorge Scenic Highway”. This old highway twisted and turned through the forest, leading us past waterfalls, view points and under the canopy of old growth trees. Needless to say, it was stunning!
We passed by the Vista House propped up on the bluff and followed the narrow road as it wrapped in front of the house, along the side of the mountain.
Ignoring the rain coming down, we barreled out of the van at Latourell Falls and followed the trail to stand at the base. Here, the mist coming from the pounding water made you question if it was actually still raining and the power of it all gave us that irreplaceable “we are so small” feeling.
Continuing along the byway past Bridal Veil, Coopey and Wahkeena Falls, we stopped to make lunch at Multnomah Falls. The most well-known of the bunch, it is a two-stepped waterfall, boasting a 620ft drop with a beautiful little pedestrian bridge part way up. Following the advice of a good friend, we followed the trail past the bridge that leads to a viewpoint at the top of the fall, few others seemed to even notice it was there. In recovery mode from a cold that caught up to me just before we left, I counted down the eleven switchbacks on the way to the top, trying to hide the struggle that was feeling very real on what should be an easy walk. It perched us directly beside the top of the fall and, looking down, all the other tourists were just little specs peering up.
Just as the sun was starting to retreat, we found a little place down an icy park road to wild camp a midst a forest of cedars. When we awoke we were well rested both in body and spirit and ready to continue the very important search for that damn percolator. Hot coffee is a must while camping in the PNW!