January in the photography world is considered to be the slow season. This is the time of year when we get to breathe. To spend time with family. To catch up on blogging. To update the website. To plan for the coming year. And to travel.
For the past few years I have been wanting to visit a good friend of mine who lives out in Portland, Oregon. Teresa is a photographer, a blogger, a counselor and a mother. Several years ago though, she lost her precious boys in a car accident. That moment changed her life and set her on a new path. She has gone back to school to become a counselor and has also started to share about her grief process on her blog, Clinging to Hope. She has some amazing insight on how to work through grief and how to speak to others who are in the midst of it. She also has some beautiful photographs to look at too.
January provided the perfect opportunity to fly out for a visit.
While I was out there (my first visit ever to the Pacific Northwest) she took me to do a little bit of sightseeing. Having lived all of my life on the eastern side of the country, the scenery out there was quite a bit different. I only wish I could have gotten a picture of Mt Hood with my big camera but it was pretty foggy when I was out there. I managed to see it and snap a shot with my cell phone that was good enough to share with my dad 😉 Instead of mountains, we settled for some waterfalls and the Columbia River Valley. We started our day at the Vista House. The Vista House was built in 1917 as a rest stop for travelers on the Columbia River Highway. From there, you can see amazing views up and down the river.
On the left is the Vista House. You can walk all around the house and then go inside and upstairs and can walk all around the outside balcony too. The views are breathtaking as you can see from the right.
After our stop there, we made our way to the waterfalls. Now, like most people from western PA, I’ve made the pilgrimage to see Niagra Falls. We did family vacations to see it, school field trips to see it and I even made a trip up there with a couple of photographer friends when we were on our way to Toronto. It’s definitely an impressive display but it’s so big and so loud and so far away, I think it loses something. That might seem weird but I’m not sure how to explain it.
The first waterfall on our drive was the Latourell Falls. These were tall and quiet and so beautiful. Even though much smaller than Niagra, you can get a clear picture of the power of the water falling like that. These falls are unique in that they fall straight down from a cliff instead of tumbling and what stood out to me was the large patch of bright yellow lichen that grow and almost glow on the side of the cliff. So so beautiful and like nothing I had ever seen before.
Latourell Falls with the bright yellow lichen.
After these, we decided to head straight to Multnomah Falls. These falls are over 620 ft and are the tallest falls in Oregon and is one of the tallest year-round waterfalls in the United States.
After checking it out from the bottom, we decided to tackle the 1.5-mile hike to the top. Now, I know I haven’t been keeping up with my running- snow and single-digit temps keep me huddled inside under blankets- but I felt pretty confident in being able to walk that distance. Of course, I didn’t consider how steep of a climb it would be, not to mention, I’m pretty sure that I was not used to the change in altitude. I would love to say that we marched straight to the top but it was more of a leisurely stroll with plenty of stops and the one thing that pushed us to make it to the top was the very visibly pregnant woman that seemed to have no trouble with the climb. That and the man in his late 70s maybe 80s who also made the trek up without any problems. Fortunately, we had a lot of laughs on the walk.
And the view from the top was just beautiful. It’s such a small area at the top and yet so so high. If you look closely, you can make out the footbridge in the bottom right corner of the image on the left.
So I’ll leave you there with Oregon’s waterfalls. Check back on Monday to see my images from the Oregon coast.