Friday, July 8, 2011

Hot and Cold running spectacles

Erick finished packing his bag and opened the back door. "Let's get going!" The Halls all piled into the little rental and waving goodbye to Seattle, fresh fish and Mt. Rainer, they headed for the highway. "Let's take this street first, before we get on the highway. We can get a cup of coffee and I want to show you one more Seattle treat." They pulled off into a charming artsy community and there, hiding in the shadows under the bridge, was The Troll. Fashioned by the hands of local artists and incorporating an actual Volkswagon Beetle, it was the Fremont community's answer to an unsightly underpass. "Well, if the java didn't get me up, that thing certainly would have!" remarked Mr. Hall. "We just couldn't leave without seeing that," laughed Mrs. Hall and they thanked Erick for the show.
Erick was on his way to Portland, so he rode part of the way with the Halls. Passing out of the city and down the coast, they drove past Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Baker. Majestic volcanoes might be just everyday stuff to the citizens of the coast, but Mrs. Hall fairly twisted herself in knots trying to snap shots as the highway wove past the snow covered peaks. The highway took them south of Portland and eastward to the Columbia gorge.
Speaking to the locals, they were informed of a beautiful tour of the waterfalls coming down from the Cascades, and the prospect of seeing so many in such a short span proved irresistible to the Halls. It was but the work of a short detour and soon they were standing at the precipice at Vista House, at the mouth of the Columbia River. It was a glorious day, and so when the little volunteer at the desk offered them a handdrawn map of the lower falls, they thought it might be a nice diversion along the way to stop and see them. "But before we go, I just have to have some of these," said Mrs. Hall, and she plucked a bag of interesting looking pretzels off the shelf of the gift house. As the day wore on, they proved to be a godsend.
Though they had initially viewed the tour as a lark, it became immediately clear it was going to be a somewhat more physical feat. "Does it say anywhere in that little map you found that the falls require increasing vigor as you go along? These walkways are becoming higher and steeper as we go," inquired Mrs. Hall. Puffing and blowing, they wound their ways up and down the stone paths, each one ending in an increasingly spectacular falls. By the time they arrived at Multnomah Falls, they were exhausted and exhilarated, all at the same time. Skipping about in the water at the bottom of one of the lesser falls, Mr. Hall reminded Mrs. Hall that while it was fun to be without cares, they did have a schedule to maintain. They trudged back to the little rental, dusty and worn, and headed back on southward. The glowing peak of Mt. Hood could just be seen in the distance as they bounced along the highway to their next hotel.

(Ed. note: For the Gentle Reader's edification: here is a graphic depicting the volcanoes of the Pacific Coast, many of which the Halls passed by.

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