I often visit my daughter who lives near the Columbia River Gorge in Washington. In order to get there from the Portland airport I take Oregon’s I-84 highway which runs for miles along the magnificent Columbia River. It is one of the most beautiful scenic drives in the country with the wide, turbulent river rushing toward the Pacific Ocean on one side and steep, forested mountains on the other. The views are ever changing and are never the same. Sometimes the river is choppy with white tipped waves and at other times, glacier smooth. In the winter ice coats the perpendicular slabs of granite that create the Gorge and once freefalling waterfalls are stilled in their place by the freezing wind.
Several miles down the road and hidden from the highway until finally bursting into view is Multnomah Falls. Even though I know it is just around the bend in the road, the sight never fails to take my breath away. The falls drop in two major steps: the upper falls are 542 feet and the lower falls measures 69 feet, so with over 600 feet of falls you can imagine how breathtaking the view can be. I can’t take my eyes off of it as I pass on the highway. If possible, I stop for a few minutes for a cup of coffee at the stone lodge and enjoy a peaceful moment. Time seems to stop. All I can hear is the crashing of the water, the gentle voice of the breezes and sweet bird song.
On a spectacular morning one October, I took my camera and tripod and attempted to capture the ever changing atmosphere of the falls. It was early in the morning and I had the falls almost to myself. I was in bliss as I stood in the heavy mist at the base of the falls taking picture after picture. It is my Shangri-La.