Yesterday, we discovered the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. How we’ve gone a year and a half in Portland without hearing about it, I have no idea. Just off the Columbia River Gorge and near the tourist-packed Multnomah Falls – which we visited in May 2011 and September 2011– is Oneonta Gorge, a mossy chasm so narrow that the Oneonta Creek fills it wall to wall. Lindsay and Daniel introduced us to the one-mile in, one-mile out hike. It’s quite the adventure, extending through a creek bed, over a large log jam, through the gorge, up to your neck in bone-chilling water (or a precarious shimmy along the rocks), with the Lower Oneonta Falls at the end. Shade-loving ferns, mosses and lichens cling to the canyon walls, making it a go-to spot for naturalists. For the 85-degree day, the hike was the absolute perfect activity. Jeff and I were in awe the whole time – and were equally impressed by all the people toting babies and dogs along the super-tricky path.
Sidenote: Oneonta Gorge can also be seen at 1:24 in the time-lapse video “Finding Portland,” which was originally shown at TEDxPortland.
We finished our sun-soaked Saturday in Hood River, Daniel’s hometown and the kite-boarding capital of the world. Flanked by the Columbia River, Hood River reminds me a bit of Traverse City, Michigan, with its quaint downtown, breweries and relaxed vibe. The four of us grabbed a few cold ones at one of my favorite breweries, Full Sail, the makers of Session and plenty of other tasty brews. We lounged on the breezy water’s edge and watched the kite-boarders and windsurfers skim across the river, and closed our Hood River visit with a cone at Mike’s Ice Cream.
Lesson learned: We need to spend more time exploring the Columbia River Gorge. Formed by volcanic eruptions, glacial ice flows and floods, the Gorge is a rare geological formation unlike any in North America. And lucky us are a mere 30 minutes away from it!