Sunday, August 29, 2010

Afternoon in the gorge--with the best and the worst of Oregon

Back in July a childhood friend came to visit from Arizona. Kathy's mom went to high school with my mom and was a bridesmaid in my parents' wedding. I took one day off work and Mom, Kathy, and I had lunch and went shopping in Multnomah Village. On Sunday afternoon we took her out to the gorge. You can tell what kind of summer we've had here in Oregon by seeing our sweatshirts and cloudy weather that day! But at least there was no rain!

So, the best of Oregon:

Beautiful waterfalls and scenery (Latourell Falls):

Kids tromping around in the forest and enjoying the hike

Can never get enough waterfalls--and Oregon has plenty!

The view of the Columbia River from the top of Latourell Falls--would have been even better on a clear day!

The falls from the side:

The hikers:

And now for the worst. After we hiked up to the top of the falls and back down again, we were enjoying the view from the bottom...until we noticed these insane individuals, who climbed OVER THE FENCE AT THE TOP and skidded downhill ON THEIR BOTTOMS to the very lip of the falls. Note the sheer cliff rock face in the next photo--it's a drop of 249 feet. We watched with horror as they approached the edge. I am freaked out about people falling near waterfalls, since we knew a couple who died while hiking in Silver Falls State Park. I can't imagine what could have possessed these people to deliberately climb over a fence to put themselves in such danger.

Pretty soon a ranger came up behind us and gasped when she saw them. She then raced all the way to the top to tell them to get back on the trail and away from the falls. When she came back down again, she told us that every year she has to "peel people out of the water" who either commit suicide or slip and fall from the top. Sure enough, when I got home I googled Latourell Falls and discovered that a man died just last July because he had skirted the fence and climbed to the edge of the falls. Gosh, wouldn't you think that a path on which you have to scoot down on your bottom (with a 249-foot drop) might deter you just a tiny bit?

With the crazy people safely away from the edge, we could go back to enjoying our afternoon:

We drove to the entrance of Oneonta Gorge (some sunny day I want to walk all the way in!), and the kids enjoyed doing what kids do best: throwing rocks into the water to make big splashes!

This was Kieran BEFORE he dived into the creek and got soaking wet:

Mike and me:

Splendid's the view from Crown Point, looking west:

Looking east toward Hood River:

Kathy treated the kids to ice cream:

The family:

Each time I get to the gorge, I resolve to go there more often. Living so close to such splendor and beauty, we take it for granted by not going there regularly enough. GORGE-ous!

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