(a report on me and my sister’s roadtrip…)
Day 4 – Columbia River Gorge & Mt Rainier
This was one of our more frustrating days, to say the least. We woke up early, got biscuits with Kyle, and headed out of Portland – sadly. We decided to go against our original plans for the day and decided to very flexibly explore the Columbia River Gorge, though we weren’t exactly sure what that meant. Though we didn’t know exactly where we wanted to go, we knew that our first stop was Multnomah Falls, just outside of Portland. The falls are beautiful, running 620 ft – the second tallest waterfall in the nation. I kept trying to take artistic photographs… it was a little obsessive. We didn’t stay at the falls for long – too many other places to check out! Unfortunately, Erin and I had a hard time agreeing on what to do. We really wanted to go kayaking in the Gorge and have a chill day, but finding a place to kayak was trickier than we thought! We decided instead to spend some time checking out the Fruit Loop.
I’m sure you’re wondering what that is. But let us first relish in the fact that it is named after a most delicious cereal with a parrot for a mascot.
Great. So the Fruit Loop is a series of orchards and farms all in the Gorge area. You can pick up a map and drive from place to place, basically in a loop fashion. Our first stop was a lavender field. We made the awesome/terrible decision of buying some dried lavender and putting it in our car – nearly choking us to death for the next 3 days of driving. After the lavender field, we hit up a winery to satisfy Erin’s Napkin cravings. (Luckily, her wine snobbiness wasn’t too embarrassing this time around…!) While at the winery, I had a sudden craving for huckleberry milkshakes. I didn’t know anything about huckleberries except that they were popular in that particular region. Erin asked the wine pourer if there might be some place that we could find such a delight, and believe it or not, she directed us to the perfect place! As we pulled up, we were thrilled to see a “Huckleberry Milkshakes” sign out front! What are the chances?? The milkshakes were a great accompaniment to our sandwich picnic before we headed off to Mt. Rainier.
Now, I know this will be hard to believe, but Erin gave Mt. Rainier EXTREME rave reviews! We arrived around sunset and took a short hike near the visitor center before setting up camp. Erin was so immersed in the beauty that at one point she exclaimed, “This isn’t even real life.” I tried to explain to her that in fact, it was real life. But she just wouldn’t have it. Erin, a master of hyperbole, also boldly stated that Mt. Rainier is her new favorite National Park. During the months of June-August. Although she really liked Zion National Park. And Yosemite. In any case, Erin would not say something this extreme unless she actually meant it, so when she says it was the best day ever… it was.
We really played our chances on this trip, finding campsites in the dark during a busy season… but this was one of our finest nights camping. We built a fire, cooked hotdogs, and cracked open the Simpler Times beer. Ahhh…