Here I am - just back from a vacation!
Nope - not a physical vacation - although it sure has felt that way here at Derek's mom's place, but more of a mental vacation.
We've quite enjoyed being semi-couch potatoes this last week since we arrived back into Canada. Plus, we have been getting some much needed family time in with Derek's sister and kids. Cassia was over the top excited to finally be back with her Grandma, Auntie and cousins after a year away.
But of course, on the blog we are still on our trip - so let's get back to our tour of the Columbia River Gorge area in Oregon.
If you recall, we were last at Hood River. Following that, we made the move a little west over to the town of Cascade Locks and then another ten miles further to Ainsworth State Park.
Another view along the Columbia River.
On our way to Ainsworth State Park we stopped in at Cascade Locks - a small, but quaint town. We drove down to the locks area which is now an island with a park, a visitor centre (which is closed right now), a museum and a brewery. Ha! Yup - a brewery.
And - a very good playground. We spent quite a bit of time here by the time we finally left Cascade Locks - we were back and forth to this spot three times.
Because the visitor centre was closed - but still provided wifi, and there were no 'no overnight parking' signs, we decided we would spend the night.
While I worked on a few posts, Derek and Cassia went to look at the locks.
There is a bridge over to a small island - here's Cassia at the end of it looking towards the Bridge of the Gods.
The train - ever present along the River Gorge - came right by us at Cascade Locks.
A picture of the same area the next morning - the mist had moved in.
We knew it wasn't open until Thursday, and this was Tuesday, but we decided to walk over to the brewery - Thunder Island Brewing Co., to take a look.
Then on to Ainsworth State Park. Pretty quiet in the middle of the week. We parked in the upper area - nice but heavily treed - cool for this time of year. I bet the trees are much more effective with the heat of summer. But still - nice for $16 per night with water and electric. The showers are not push button but for some reason the shower head is at about eye level.
What we liked most about the park was the access to a challenging hiking trail.
A nice picture of Derek and Cas.
The white stuff.
On this trip we have seen many hearts drawn on natural features - rocks and trees. Graffiti, really. Nice to see a natural heart. Derek pointed it out to me as we walked by - good eye.
Kids and dogs - right?!
Some kind of husky heaven for Rufus. The poor guy - he's been more of a sand, desert and rock dog than a snow dog. Now FIVE year old Rufus - his birthday was March 22 - just 2 months and 6 days ahead of Cassia.
I took this picture because it was a fascinating area within the trees - an outcropping of large round rocks covered with moss.
The first hike we did was in the afternoon when we arrived. We weren't quite sure where we were headed. The sign said to Horsetail Falls Trailhead but we had no idea if it would take us to falls and if it did, how far we would have to go to get there. After about a mile we turned back home. Good that we did because just in the door it started to rain.
The next day we headed out again - in the morning. We also cut out a portion of the hike to give us more energy to go further.
We saw on our map that there were indeed falls, so we kept with it - although it was quite the hike. Here is Derek talking with a family from Wisconsin.
Cassia just wanted to get back to the snow.
Coming around a corner, our first view of Horsetail Falls.
Pretty amazing - right?! You just gotta love a falls that you can walk under.
There goes Rufus.
I'm on the other side now - for a few minutes it gets very windy and wet.
The trail continued after the falls and so did we.
This was an overlook of the Columbia River.
This is highway 30 which departs from the Interstate just east of the State Park.
This time mom went over the 'fence' to take a picture. The drop off is very steep a few feet from where I am standing. I think a guard rail may be in order.
Just before the second falls, now about one mile from Horsetail Falls, is this water wall. Not sure what else to call it.
The switch back down to the falls - a bit tricky.
But well worth it. Here's view of the river from the falls.
Continuing on down…..yup - I'm always last. Stopping for pictures of course.
Hmmmm…… not good. I'm not really a pedestrian bridge person at the best of times.
But what are ya going to do. Yes - we all crossed - one by one - not once but twice. Sheesh.
All for this and a little bit more of the trail.
We are now at Oneonta Falls.
Since we had now come at least 1.5 miles and had to return, we had our snack and turned around.
Going back under the Horsetail Falls.
One last picture of my hiking mates near the end of the trail.
We were all bushed by the time we got back to the van. But a good hike. A bit of a trip from the campground but it can also be accessed from parking lots along highway 30. Again, I was creative with my pictures, by the time we were heading back the trail was actually quite busy.
We spent two nights at Ainsworth State Park, heading back to Cascade Locks on Friday to visit the town again and the brewery. Turns out that we took a quick visit to Washington and two more breweries, in addition to a lovely little coffee shop in Stevenson.
For now, we are cozy here in British Columbia. In a few days Cassia and I will head over to Vancouver Island to visit with my family. I still have lots to show and tell you about from Cascade Locks back to Canada, which I'll try to get posted this week.
After that I still have lots to tell you all about our summer and future plans.
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