Just the other day, I met up with two new friends (one of them a friend of a friend I met through Travel Massive in San Francisco) who had just arrived in Portland. They were doing a cross-country trip from New York, stopping by national parks, checking out cities, and having some great adventures. Portland was their last destination, and we made plans to get together. With the mention of Multnomah Falls, I dusted off my hiking boots and had them over for a vegan brunch: Mexican tofu scramble, avocado, and (obviously) mimosas.
We drove east on the 84 with the freeway hugged by pine trees, later opening up to a clear view of the Columbia River. This was only 30 minutes away from my home! Why had it taken me so long to get over there? I couldn’t believe my ridiculousness.
After parking the car in the shade, we grabbed our water bottles and headed out into the 90 degree weather. We entered the park, and right away, I was taken aback by the beauty of this elegant, narrow 627 foot waterfall. While I have been to such places as the Iguazu Falls, the enchantment of naturally rushing river never fails to hypnotize me.
We walked a bit to the Benson Bridge, bringing us closer to the water so that we could feel its mist. My new friends and I wanted to go hiking, but I didn’t realize two things. 1. These girls had been hiking non-stop throughout their trip. 2. This hike was very steep, and it went to the top. I may be out of shape, but I am also stubborn as hell. One step at a time, my hamstrings and glutes threatening to kill me, I trudged up the trail. People in their fifties and sixties, parents carrying kids, and others who looked like they had never heard the word “exercise” in their lives passed by me on their way down. Even little Chihuahuas pranced by me gracefully on their three-inch legs, as if in mockery.
I thought I would pass out. I was sure I was going to fall down. Boulders looked like soft, inviting pillows. Sweat ran down my back in a furious stream. And finally, we reached the top. I took my boots and socks off, walked across the slippery rocks in the cold, cold water, and sat my ass down in the middle of the river. It was heaven. I felt like I had been wandering the Sahara Desert for days without water, and this water never tasted so damn good.
There is so much gorgeousness lurking everywhere in Oregon. I came away with two conclusions that day. 1. I need to (seriously) start hiking more. 2. If I’m already planning on seeing the Seven Wonders of the World, there’s no reason why I can’t see The 7 Wonders of Oregon!
And that is why, dear readers, I am now on a mission. With the Columbia River down, that means I have six left. I have been to its base, but not to the top, so that means I have to see Mt. Hood, the Oregon Coast, Painted Hills, Smith Rock, The Wallowas, and Crater Lake. A road trip is immediately in order!
Have you visited Multnomah Falls, and what did you think? Have you been to any of the wonders of Oregon in the United States? What appeals to you most?