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This is where I live

May 22, 2008

Living in a National Scenic Area has its drawbacks… .  But here are the positives!!


This is the Columbia River Gorge looking east, upriver with the Vista House at Crown Point on the right. The state of Washington is on the left.  This picture is taken from Chanticleer Point, where my Mom worked in a restaurant as a teen.  They were famous for fried chicken and all the fixin’s.  Get this, for dessert they served a square of clabbered milk with a dollop of berry jam on top.  The girls that worked there, had to pick the berries and make all the jam for the restaurant.   I still cook in a large Griswold cast iron skillet from that restaurant.  (she never told me how it ended up at our house!)  The restaurant burned during the Depression.  The other name of this viewpoint is Necker’s Rock.  I don’t think I need to explain that one.  The official name is the Portland Women’s Forum State Park.  Kind of boring, don’t you think?  Especially for a place that doesn’t look too different from when Lewis and Clark traveled through here.

This is the Vista House, built as a “comfort station” in 1917 for travelers along the Columbia River Highway.  It features a panoramic view, and a stunning interior of brass, marble, mahogany and elegant plaster work.  If it sounds like I’m a tour guide, I was.  I worked here and at the waterfalls as a naturalist for the Forest Service.  We dispensed answers to all the questions in the world, but the most asked were, “Where’s the restroom? and “What time to you shut off the water to the falls?”  Our name for the endless streams of litter strewing tourists – Swinus americanus.  There are probably hundreds of photos of me in Japan, languishing in boxes, taken with me wearing my Forest Ranger get-up!  I wish it still fit… .

Mt Hood from Larch Mountain.
This view is looking into Portland’s famous Bull Run Watershed.


Looking west, the Columbia River Gorge and Portland beneath the clouds.

I live on the dead end road that leads to this viewpoint on Larch Mountain.  This headworks of all the waterfalls start up here in the highlands.  Most days in the summer, our farm is above the clouds like this photo shows.  So while we get many cloudy days, and a high amount of rainfall – quite a few of days that Portland is socked in, we are basking in the sun.

Multnomah Falls, 620 ft.

Our farm lies just southwest of these waterfalls.  This is the tallest, but there are at least 8 major falls, with miles of inter-connected hiking trails at each stop. 


Oneonta Gorge

If you hike back into this gorge, wading through the chilling creek, sometimes up to your chin, you will be rewarded with this…

Oneonta Falls

Situated on the south side of the Columbia River, these cool, north facing slopes are home to very rare and protected plants. 
Even driving past these sights every day, I have never tired of the views, I love this place! 

All these photos were harvested from the internet.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. May 23, 2008 4:29 am


  2. Kristen permalink
    May 23, 2008 5:10 am

    No wonder you love where you live… is so beautiful!!! Makes me want to plan a road trip 🙂

  3. matronofhusbandry permalink*
    May 23, 2008 6:01 am

    Woody, on the days my duty station was at the Vista House, I would drive there in my own vehicle, instead of driving all the way to the Ranger Station. Every night as I was driving out, when I would glance in my rear view mirror – WOW is what I said. That view looking up the river is always breathtaking!

    Kristen, all the German tourists commented how similar to Germany the land appeared to them. I’m sure it was comforting to my Grandfather to be in somewhat familiar surroundings while he began the arduous task of clearing our homestead, so far from his native land.

  4. January 10, 2011 1:40 pm

    Always wondered what that mountain was called (Larch) as I drove up the Gorge. Is there a good lookout at the top? I’ve always wanted to drive up there.

    • January 10, 2011 4:59 pm

      Ben, they close the snow gate about 4 miles from the top for the winter, but it opens up around Memorial Day, too much snow and too many people have died up there, but oh what a view! You can see the Bull Run, of course, Hood, Jefferson, and Adams, St Helens and Rainer and the river to the west. The drive up is pretty boring (to me) because of the corridor, you can’t really see out until you almost reach the top.

      • January 10, 2011 5:58 pm

        I’ll have to do it… not til memorial day? Probably better that way so I’m not tempted to take on the snow with my little volkswagon rabbit!

  5. July 11, 2012 3:16 pm

    I bet a lot of tourist asked you if the place was heaven and you probably replyed ” No.. but close, this is the stairway to heaven”. I know I might have asked that question, great looking part of the world, and I know you feel blessed to live there.

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