The day began with a little morning drizzle, and the weather forecast was not promising for our morning of hiking adventures in Hood River, Oregon. Luckily, as we summited Rowena Crest on the Columbia Gorge Scenic Highway, the weather was quite pleasant. The overlook at Rowena Crest offers stunning views of the Columbia River, the remnants of a turbulent geologic past, and the magnificent civil engineering that Samuel Lancaster employed to craft the highway.
Those of us hiking took advantage of a lull in the rain to stretch our legs. We utilized a portion of the Columbia Gorge Scenic Highway that is now only available to pedestrian and bicycle traffic. The original 74 miles from Troutdale to The Dalles, dedicated in August of 1915, was the first scenic highway constructed in the United States. It was the brainchild of Sam Hill.
Most of the hikers were able to visit the Mosier Tunnels and take in breathtaking views of the Columbia River. We also observed the rocks and foliage typical of the gorge area. Even these short tunnels were crafted with views of the gorge’s natural beauty in mind.
After lunch, we drove along Hood River to the ‘Fruit Loop’ area, where acres of orchards produce pears, apples, cherries, peaches, and other fruits. There are places to purchase harvested fruit as well as products made from the bounty. Draper Girls’ Farm offers alcoholic and nonalcoholic ciders, and we tasted the six ciders currently on offer. Flash, an orphan pygmy goat, was also a popular part of our visit to the farm.
We were quite happy that the afternoon activities were indoors, as the rain that was promised did arrive. Our last visit of the day was to WAAAM. The Western Antique Airplane & Automobile Museum has an extensive collection of airplanes and automobiles that are all still in working order. Many people were able to find a version of the first car they drove or a plane that was part of their family’s history.