The morning was overcast, but warm and dry. I always feel excited as I enter the Gorge and the cliffs and bluffs come into view. The Gorge is a huge place. I decided to take the Historic Columbia River Highway until I found "a good spot". This highway is beautifully constructed and passes many major waterfalls. Here are some images of the highway:
The first few waterfalls I passed were impossibly crowded. Bridal Veil Falls was closed for a wedding. Wahkeena Falls and Multnomah Falls had absolutely no parking available. In fact, it was a bit of a traffic jam to get past them. But the next stopping point was Oneonta Gorge. I knew it would not be a great place for beading, but it is a really magical place, so I stopped.
I love this place - the tall cliffs covered with mosses, lichens, ferns and wild flowers are amazing. I was really tempted to get my beading stuff and sit on that log by the stream, but I wasn't ready to settle down yet.
I had been following the trail on the west side of the gorge. It petered out, so to keep going, I needed to cross the stream. Unfortunately, I didn't plan ahead for this, and I wasn't exactly wearing water shoes:
My next stop was Horsetail Falls. I love the shape of this waterfall. It isn't the tallest or the grandest in the Columbia River Gorge, but it sure is beautiful. I brought my beading stuff down to the edge of the pool and sat down to do the beading.
I spent a couple of hours sitting at the edge of the pool and beading. People came and went. One fellow went swimming in the pool. Most people only go wading because the water is very, very cold. In the summer streams like this are mostly melted snow and ice running down from the Cascade Mountains. This fellow was looking for crawdads. He would catch them, admire them, and then release them. His dad let me take a picture of one of the bigger crawdads they found.
Eventually my legs fell asleep, sitting on the big rocks at the pool. It was time to move on. The sun had come out while I was beading, so I decided to just enjoy the day for a while.
How about you? What would you do with a day of unexpected freedom? What places do you find inspiring?