We began our trek on Thursday by stopping in Vancouver, Jan Michael's childhood stomping grounds. We drove through his old neighborhood and past his house, and even over the bridge that his family stood on to watch Mt. St. Helens spew ash into the air so many years ago. The best part was a stop at Fircrest Elementary, where we were given a quick tour - everything was exactly as he remembered it, and we even learned that his 3rd grade teacher is still there! Jan has such happy memories of growing up in Vancouver, and he tells stories of that time so vividly that I feel like I was there, so this was a really lovely way to begin our little trip.
After passing through Portland, we veered off the freeway and onto the Columbia River scenic highway. I am so, so glad we had the extra time to meander our way along the gorge. You should drive it if you haven't yet - it's well worth it! One place with spectacular views is Crown Point State Park, but the pictures here don't do the actual views justice. It's so amazing to be able to see for miles & miles and to be surrounded by such color & grandeur. God's creation is a breathtaking thing, that's for sure.
Our next stop was Latourell Falls. Apparently there's a way to hike back behind the waterfall if the day is hot and you'd like to cool off, but it's a tad too chilly in the middle of November for that sort of business.
These moss-covered walls ran all along the highway, and were so NEAT. Interesting that the camera focused on it instead of us - it knew the most important part to capture!
If you're a wimpy, emotional girl, the beauty of it all is enough to make you a little teary :)
After Latourell, there are three others waterfalls - Shepherd's Dell, Bridal Veil and Wahkeena. All are beautiful, and had the day been warmer, we probably would have stopped and prowled around. But, we were just this side of freezing, and were also anxious to get to Multnomah Falls, so instead we drove slowly by, oohing and ahhing all the while.
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