It was a crisp and clear and sunny day – perfect for a walk at Coulon Park.
Trees bore leaves of red and gold and the Mountain was out
but it was a cloud that caught my eye.
It loomed large as I drove home and I stopped to watch it hover
Wondering if it had come for me.
Happy Thanksgiving from the Evergreen State!
There’s always something to be thankful for and if you don’t believe it, just look around at the beauty of the natural world.
Earlier this month we visited Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, thousands of acres of salt and freshwater marshes, grasslands and forest that provide a rich stopping place for migratory birds.
The crown of Mt. Rainier can be seen in the background, its glaciers the source of the Nisqually River which flows into Puget Sound forming the estuary.
We saw hundreds of birds
including a Great Blue Heron
and two young snow geese that dropped by from Russia.
I love wildlife and when I can’t get away I’m thankful for my backyard sanctuary where nuthatches come by to drink
and hummingbirds to feed.
I’m thankful for another kind of wildlife too of the feline variety – Benji
Shared with Sunday Stills, Thankful.
So here we are – it’s fall in the Pacific Northwest and that means rain, rain, and more rain, perhaps for the next six months. Okay, not really, but it sometimes feels like that. And you can’t just stay home day after day even in the midst of a pandemic. You must get out for fresh air and a socially distanced outing and hope for promised sunbreaks to appear. We did just that last week – to someplace new – Titlow Park on Puget Sound in Tacoma – where Bob hoped to practice casting and I planned to take pictures.
We arrived under rain and threatening skies and headed to the beach where we found interesting views of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.
But the promised sunbreaks failed to appear so we moved on
to walk the trail through the woods, where the rain was mostly kept at bay by the trees overhead.
We finished the loop and as we made our way back to the car the rain turned to hail and we wondered about our miserable rainy day outing. But we had to eat so we went to Ruston Way for take-out – no eating in restaurants – we’re in that phase again.
As we finished our lunch in the car the rain finally slowed and brilliant blue skies appeared. We took the bait and headed out for our second walk of the day. Why not?
As you might imagine the place was mostly deserted so we had the wide paved trail to ourselves – save for a few hearty souls walking their dogs.
And then something wonderful happened.
Harbor seals! Lots of them! More than I’d ever seen in Puget Sound! Right off the beach below the bluff, there were families of them, swimming together, diving and feeding and as nearly as I could tell, just enjoying life.
At first I thought they might be sea lions but when I saw them close-up in my photos I knew they were harbor seals by the beautiful tapestry of their skins.
As far as I was concerned the day was redeemed and even though the rain returned it was okay for as we started our drive home, I saw the bow in the cloud.
So don’t believe a rainy day walk can’t have its own magic.
I promised I’d be back to show you Multnomah Falls, the most popular of all the waterfalls in the Columbia Gorge. It was our last stop before heading back home, and it was a perfect and rain-free fall day.
At 620 feet, Multnomah Falls is the tallest in Oregon and with over 2 million visitors a year one of Oregon’s top attractions. So unlike our visits to other waterfalls in the Gorge, we were not alone. Crowds of people gathered around the base of the falls to get the perfect photo as did I.
There were still a few ragged salmon in Multnomah Creek having reached their final destination.
They started out here, survived life in the Pacific Ocean, then fought their way back up the mighty Columbia River to reach the place of their birth and generate new life.
I first laid eyes on Multnomah Falls 38 years ago on our honeymoon. We’d done a road trip down the Washington and Oregon Coasts, then looped back through the center of Oregon, stopping for a night on nearby Mt. Hood and a visit to the famous falls.
It would be the first of many road trips in our new life together.
Still they are beautiful.
No trip to the Columbia Gorge is complete without stopping by the many waterfalls that line the Historic Scenic Highway. Last week we traveled to Oregon and did just that – safely and before new Covid travel restrictions were put into place. The weather was lousy as you can see from our first stop at Crown Point. Click the arrow right for a clear view of the Gorge from last year’s trip. (Yes I did just try out a new block editor feature!)
Fortunately the rain slowed to a drizzle after we left the Point and we had the waterfalls mostly to ourselves.
First up was Latourell Falls which you can easily see from the road.
But the best views are found at the end of the trail so we made the walk to see it close up.
I’m glad we did as the basalt columns behind the falls were marvelous!
Afterwards we headed down the road to our next stop at Bridal Veil Falls,
where we took another walk through soggy woods to get to the base of the falls.
It was worth it but by the time we made it back to the trailhead my feet were soaked.
So I was happy that no hike was needed to see our last waterfall of the day, beautiful Horsetail Falls.
Now in case you wondered, there are dozens more waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge so we didn’t see them all. But we did see the most accessible on this stretch of road and it was plenty for one rainy day.
Access to Multnomah Falls – the tallest and most famous in Oregon – was blocked from the old highway but we did stop under clear skies on our return trip home. I’ll save that for a later post.
Oh that’s right! “B” for Benji! 🙂
~ Happy Saturday from Susanne and Benji
We managed to escape to the Columbia River Gorge for a few days where we traveled the old scenic highway on the Oregon side, stopping every few minutes to take in the magnificent roadside waterfalls, which I will share with you in a coming post.
In the meantime I’ll tide you over with ice cream from East Wind Drive-In in Cascade Locks, a must stop for the foot-tall soft serve ice cream cones according to my sister.
She was right, though we opted for the smaller kid sized versions which were big enough for us. I chose vanilla with a burst of swirled orange going, and opted for apple coming home.
Aren’t they pretty? Kid sized cones are $1.50 and no tax! Quite the bargain.
And yes, they taste as good as they look. 🙂
Stay tuned for the waterfalls.
Let’s face it – last week was rough. The waiting, waiting and more waiting got our tail twitching.
And left us completely exhausted.
Time to hunker down.
~ Susanne and Benji