Eighth Wonder of the World

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.

Cold water!

Cold water!

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!

The creek bed leading into the log jam at the beginning of the hike

The creek bed leading into the log jam at the beginning of the hike

Getting ready to climb the massive log jam into the gorge

Getting ready to climb the massive log jam into the gorge

Here we go!

Here we go!

Hooray for the Oneonta Gorge!

Hooray for the Oneonta Gorge! (Notice the water dripping down from above)

Amazing.

Amazing.

Jeff loving the hike

Jeff loving the hike

Daniel and Lindsay guiding each other through the chasm

Daniel and Lindsay guiding each other through the chasm

Beautiful end to the trail!

Beautiful end to the trail!

The Lower Oneonta Falls (none of us chose to swim in the freezing water)

The Lower Oneonta Falls (none of us chose to swim in the freezing water)

The toughest part of the hike: deep, frigid water vs. scaling the rocky sides

The toughest part of the hike: deep, frigid water vs. scaling the rocky sides

Log jam

Log jam

Daniel, Lindsay and Jeff emerging from the Oneonta Tunnel

Daniel, Lindsay and Jeff emerging from the Oneonta Tunnel

Passing the Horsetail Falls on our walk back to our car

Passing the Horsetail Falls on our walk back to our car

Bucket of Sessions at the Full Sail Brewery patio

Bucket of Sessions at the Full Sail Brewery patio

The hoards of kite-boarders and windsurfers at Hood River Waterfront Park

The hoards of kite-boarders and windsurfers at Hood River Waterfront Park

Blue skies over the Columbia River Gorge

Blue skies over the Columbia River Gorge

Advertisements

3 comments

  1. I love the Gorge and Hood River is one of my all time favorite cities! I actually have hiked a lot of the trails in the Gorge but I have yet to do Oneota… and I NEED to! You have to hit a hot sunny day and sometimes those are rare. 😉 Glad you enjoyed yourself.

  2. Pingback: Hiking the Horsetail | Our Oregon Trail

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: