The Volksmarches all started at Marine Park in Cascade Locks, OR. With some free time we wandered around town and found a paddleboat, a Sacagawea sculpture and a mural on the base of the bridge.
The afternoon after walking the Overlook to Bonneville Volksmarch we drove over the “Bridge of the Gods” to the small town of Stevenson, WA where we had reservations to stay. It was too early to check in, so we drove around the town exploring.
We still had lots of time to kill so we went to visit the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum on the edge of town. It was a very nice glassed in building. It had old vehicles, old photos, paintings, a salmon fishing wheel and a couple of nice movies about the area.
1921 Mack AC log truck. First to carry the name “Bulldog”. 4 cyl 40hp engine. It still runs. Maximum speed is 17 mph. Starts with a hand crank. Has a chain drive. Original hard rubber tires.
Our first Volksmarch in the Columbia River Gorge started at the Overlook of the Bonneville Dam.
Most of the walk was an out and back on a nice wide trail.
The trail leads to the Wahcllela Falls Trailhead.
From there the directions say take the trail to the right going downhill cross a short bridge then an longer one, etc etc.
We started out along the level trail looking for a trail to the right crossing a bridge. It made sense because we had a creek on the right side of the trail.
We came to this waterfall right along the left side of the trail which didn’t make sense to me. The instructions didn’t say we’d be passing a waterfall. Was this Wahcllela Waterfall? No sign, no ribbons on the trail to indicate. Where had we gone wrong?
Then we came to a set of stairs. No where in the directions did it mention climbing stairs. But we climbed to the top and the trail just continued to climb. Nothing to indicate we were on the correct trail. Here is a picture I took from the top of the stairs.
At this point we assumed we’d missed the turn somehow and returned to the trail head. Am I disappointed that we came up to do this walk and didn’t get to see the waterfall. YES I am very frustrated. However, I’ve marked trail for Volksmarches myself and know that what makes perfect sense to me doesn’t to everyone else. I do think in the future the club hosting this event should be much more specific in their directions. Just because they know where the turn to the right is (way on up the trail from the stairs by the way) those coming from out of state to do the event will not.
From the Trailhead the walk crosses under I-5 and went to the Bonneville Hatchery which was pretty cool.
I loved the Sturgeon viewing tank. Such gentle giants they are.
It was fun watching the rainbow trout also.
From the trout pond we made our way back out of the hatchery.
Crossed back under I-5 and returned to the overlook via the same trail we came out on.
This was a good walk, but for us it was probably at least 1K short of the 10K planned. With better directions it would have been a great walk. I’ve looked up Wahcllela Falls on google and it looks beautiful. Sorry I missed seeing it.
After doing the Princess Ilchee YRE in Vancouver we headed north toward Seattle on I-5. We were headed up to view Mount Saint Helens. It was a beautiful drive up. We had light misting rain most of the drive. Once we got off I-5 onto HWY 504 we saw the Visitor’s Center at Seaquest/Silver Lake and stopped, but there was an entry fee so I took a picture at the sign out front and we drove on.
Continuing on we came to the Forest Learning Center which was free.
The trees on the mountain behind are new growth planted after the eruption.
View from the Forest Learning Center balcony.
Next up the line is the Elk Rock Viewpoint at Castle Lake. We looked by didn’t seen any Elk.
I’m guess from the name that this used to be a lake?
We finally arrived at Johnson Ridge observatory. As you can see from the dirty snow behind Ed, it was cold up there and we weren’t prepared. The misty rain clouds kept us from seeing Mount St Helens, but we paid our entry fee and went in and watched the movie of the eruption which was quite good.
I noticed this viewpoint on the way up to Mount St Helen’s so I had Ed stop on the way down so I could take a picture. Yes, this bridge is new, having been rebuilt after the eruption.
It was after 2pm by the time we reached this little restaurant. The restaurant claimed to have home made cobbler and great views of the North Fork Toutle River, so we stopped for lunch.
We had chicken and dumplings which were really excellent. However, it left no room to try the cobbler.
View from the patio where we ate lunch.
There were hummingbird feeders hanging on the patio and I caught these two birds. Different type tails, so I’m assuming different species?
We were also privileged to view a bald eagle circling the river valley. We pointed it out to our waiter and he told us that they put out food scraps for the eagles.
Carved bear in the restaurant parking lot.
View through the car windshield on the drive back to Vancouver on I-5.
We arrived at Portland airport a little after noon. I had originally planned on visiting Pittock Mansion as the day’s tourist activity (since you can’t check into your hotel before 2pm anyway). However, on my last day at work before vacation, a co-worker mentioned that the Spruce Goose was in an Aviation Musuem near Portland.
Never heard of the Spruce Goose? Well it is the prototype heavy transport aircraft designed and built by Howard Hughes. As you would guess from the name it was built out of Spruce Wood. If you would like more information you should watch the movie: The Aviator made in 2004 staring Leonard DiCaprio as Hughes.
The Spruce Goose was in McMinnville, OR about 55 miles from the Portland Airport, so we headed out that way. If you live in Oregon, it would be a worthwhile day trip.
When we arrived there was lots more to see than just the Spruce Goose. There were motorcycles with side cars. There was an old car and truck, and there was an assortment of small aircraft from early flight (Wright Brothers Era) to today. But the best part was of course the Spruce Goose itself. It was too large to get a whole picture of. I loved going inside and seeing the beach balls that still contain air from 1946 that were placed inside the pontoons to keep the plane afloat in case the pontoons sprung a link. Can you imagine – beach balls made by Sears Roebuck back in the 40s that have held their air that long!
The date is fast approaching for the Columbia River Gorge hikes. According to the flyer we will start at the Overlook Campground with its beautiful views of Bonneville Dam and then walk the old deserted Columbia River Highway to Wahclella Falls. Our walk will loop below the Falls and return to the Bonneville Fish Hatchery, where there are 12-foot-long sturgeon and huge rainbow trout. We will then return to the Overlook, which is perfect for a picnic and relaxing.
If you would like to hike with us June 14-17 here is the link for more information.
As part of my volksmarching adventures I have visited different states to do a 10K event. Yes, I’m counting States as well as Counties of Texas. I have created a map of the USA with the states walked colored in. I still have 6 states to go. The one you can’t really see is Rhode Island on the east coast.
As you can see I still need the states in the Northwest and the upcoming Biennial Classic would be the perfect way to get Oregon. I can find some Washington YRE nearby and get it also on this trip.
I have been looking over the list of 13 volksmarches they will have available at this event and since I’m not familiar with the area I am having trouble deciding which would be the best. Anyone who would like to leave a comment on which I should do, I’d love to hear from you.
To see what walks they have planned go to http://www.columbiagorgewalks.com/